Students will face staggered returns to universities after Christmas in a bid to prevent a spike in cases, it has been revealed.
Hands-on courses, such as medicine and performing arts, will return as normal in January.
However courses which can be taught online, such as English and history, will stay online until at least January 25.
Some students will not return to campus until at least February 7, according to the BBC.
University students will be offered Covid tests following the end of lockdown in England yesterday, before having a six-day window to travel home for Christmas under the government’s evacuation-style plan.
Students will be offered two lateral-flow Covid tests when they arrive back.
The move has been welcomed by some university chiefs, including leader of the University Alliance group, Vanessa Wilson, who said the move provided ‘clarity’ over next term, the BBC reports.
Universities Minister Michelle Donelan also said the plan would ‘enable a safer return for all students’.
Students are currently undergoing tests to allow them to return home this Christmas.
They will take the swabs between November 30 and December 6. A travel window is now open to students to allow them to return home. It is hoped the plan will reduce the risk of transmission.
Universities in England have been told to switch from in-person teaching to online classes by early December and then set staggered departure dates between December 3 and 9 to allow families to be reunited.
Jo Grady, the University and College Union general secretary, earlier this month highlighted the tight timescale for a mass movement of people, adding: ‘Allowing just a week for around one million students to travel across the country leaves little room for error.’
The Government said Covid-19 tests will be offered to as many students as possible before they travel home but the establishment of testing capacity will be a ‘massive undertaking’, an executive dean at Durham University said earlier this month.
Students will have enough time to complete the self-isolation period and return home for Christmas if they test positive for the virus before the travel window.
Students who are told to self-isolate because one of their housemates has tested positive will be able to complete the isolation period away from university if they test negative for coronavirus.
Durham University earlier this month launched a pilot project for rapid Covid-19 testing – including identifying those who might