UK universities are preparing to reopen amid updated Covid-19 guidelines to restrict gatherings
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LONDON: Universities across the UK are preparing to reopen for the start of the fall semester this month. This is done as part of the government’s updated Covid-19 guidelines, which restrict large gatherings of more than six people in different locations.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons on Thursday that he wanted students to be careful not to pass the coronavirus on to more vulnerable groups of their parents and grandparents.

“If you are a student about to return to university or are about to go to university for the first time, in the interests of your education and the health of your parents and grandparents, please follow the rules and do not gather in groups of more than six people “Said Hancock in a statement to Parliament.

“The Ministry of Education has released updated guidelines for universities on how to work in a Covid-safe manner. This includes a clear request not to send students home in the event of an outbreak to avoid spreading the virus across the country, ”he said.

The first few weeks of the start of a new academic year in September are traditionally marked by freshmen meetings and gatherings.

However, this year attempts are being made to limit the number of students as much as possible in order to control the spread of the coronavirus as the number of cases in the country began to rise again since last week.

According to Ministry of Education guidelines, students with coronavirus symptoms are advised to self-isolate in their current accommodation, e.g. B. in dormitories.

All other residents in the same household must also be isolated for 14 days and supported by their facility.

The guidelines recommend the use of disciplinary measures for non-compliance by students, as well as suggestions to combat the spread of the virus, such as: B. “Reducing the number of actors in the drama” and examining whether “certain subjects can be taught outside”.

Hancock’s plea for caution in the House of Commons was accompanied by speeches by UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and University Secretary Michelle Donelan urging university staff and students to follow guidelines to limit the spread of infection.

“Let’s face it, these months have been incredibly difficult for everyone involved,” said Donelan.

“The next few months will be very different for you, and I want to thank you for all the hard work you have done to ensure social distancing measures are in place, as well as blended learning and Covid-safe measures. We agree – it is imperative that both students and staff are safe, ”she said in a speech to members of the UK universities, which represent most UK universities.

In his address to the Vice Chancellors, Williamson highlighted the additional funding universities will receive as they struggle through the Covid-19 lockdown imposed in March.

“I acknowledge that the pressures that providers are facing due to Covid-19 are significant and some may experience serious financial difficulties as a result. Because of this, my department works closely with the sector, the Student Bureau, and the entire government to monitor and fully understand the financial risks providers face and provide them with access to assistance when needed. It also has a restructuring system to support universities as a last resort when it proves necessary, ”he said.

Commenting on the visa changes introduced on Thursday for international students, he added, “We now have a world class student visa offer that fits our world class higher education sector. This won’t improve until the student route is rolled out later this year. Student visa procedures will continue to improve. ”

The route, which will apply to all overseas students including Indians from October 5th, means that students will need a total of 70 points to obtain a visa to study at a UK university under the new points-based visa. They will achieve the required credit if they can demonstrate that they have an offer from a recognized educational establishment, speak English and can support themselves while studying in the UK. The UK Home Office says the new route will simplify the existing process for applying for a Tier 4 student visa.

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