Students will be asked to stagger their return to university campuses over a five-week period after Christmas to help reduce the risks of spreading coronavirus.
The Government’s announcement today follows fears of a spike in Covid-19 infections if students are allowed to travel back en masse.
The new arrangements mean medical students and those on placements or practical courses will return first. They will have planned start dates between January 4 and 18.
Those on all other courses at Keele, Staffordshire and other universities should be offered online teaching from the beginning of term, so they can continue their studies at home. They will return to campuses during a two-week window between January 25 and February 7.
Students will also be offered mass coronavirus testing when they get back to university.
Universities minister Michelle Donelan said: “These measures will ensure students can help protect themselves and residents in Staffordshire to keep as safe as possible.”
It follows the plans to get students to stagger their departure dates before they break up for the Christmas holidays. They will leave at different points between tomorrow (Thursday, December 3) and December 9, with all classes offered online until the end of term.
Keele University has been carrying out mass testing throughout this week before students leave.
StokeonTrentLive recently revealed that a hall at Keele sports centre has been transformed into the temporary testing facility.
The Government has also announced a one-off fund of up to £20 million to help students most in need of support in these ‘exceptional circumstances’.