English universities told to stagger return of students

The government has said universities in England should stagger the return of students to campuses over five weeks in the New Year to prevent a second wave of outbreaks on campuses, writes Will Hazell for iNews.

The Department for Education said universities should also offer testing for coronavirus to all their students when they return after the festive period.

Guidance published by the department says that from 4 to 18 January, medical students, as well as those on placements or practical courses with a need for in-person teaching, should return in line with their planned start dates. The remaining courses should be offered online from the beginning of term so students can continue their studies from home. From 25 January, all other students should begin to return gradually over a two-week period, with all students expected to have returned by 7 February.
Full report on the iNews site

Meanwhile, the mass voluntary COVID testing of students, so they can go home safely for the Christmas break, is starting at many universities across the UK. Universities are opening temporary testing centres where hundreds of thousands of students will be checked for COVID-19 this week before they leave. Students have been asked to take two tests, three days apart. If they test negative, many students will leave university in the “travel window” starting from 3 December, writes Sean Coughlan for BBC News.
Full report on the BBC site