Students' university comeback is delayed until mid-May

Students’ university comeback is delayed until mid-May amid fears mass return to lecture halls could spark huge spike in Covid cases

  • Ministers to delay return of university students to their campuses until May 17th 
  • Students will return just weeks before universities then close for summer in June
  • Many of these students paid £9,250 in tuition fees to go to university this year

A million students will have to wait until May 17 before they can return to universities, the Government signalled yesterday.

Students had originally been expected to go back on March 8 and the delay, likely to be announced this week, is a blow to university chiefs who have pressed for a rapid resumption of normal study and social life.

Ministers are thought to have been persuaded to delay back the return because of the experience last autumn when the arrival of students at universities coincided with a rapid rise in Covid cases. 

The delay, likely to be announced this week, is a blow to university chiefs who have pressed for a rapid resumption of normal study and social life. A third year student at the University of Bolton is seen above studying model making for TV and film

Last week Professor Julia Buckingham, of the umbrella group Universities UK, wrote to the Prime Minister calling it ‘illogical’ to keep students away when shops, hairdressers, gyms, theme parks and libraries will be open.

The decision not to lift restrictions on universities until May 17 means that students who have been denied a year of full university life – many of whom have paid £9,250 in tuition fees – will receive fewer than four weeks of campus learning before universities close for the summer in June.

The stay-at-home order to around a million students has led to an unprecedented fall in the morale and mental health of young people who had hoped to be living at universities.

Surveys carried out by the Office for National Statistics have found plummeting levels of well-being among students and levels of loneliness more than four times higher than among the population as a whole.


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Ministers are thought to have been persuaded to delay back the return because of the experience last autumn when the arrival of students at universities coincided with a rapid rise in Covid cases

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