Student life during covid-19

Student life isn’t over in the UK

As was the back of the last, this academic year has been largely disrupted due to the on-going Covid-19 situation. But what is lifelike as a student with the current situation?

How is teaching being delivered during lockdown?

The vast majority of smaller universities have continued to deliver almost all teaching in a face-to-face manner with social distancing measures in place. Education, including universities, is subject to exemption from the UK’s current nationwide lockdown.

However, in some cases – specifically areas in which Covid has been rampant such as Manchester, Leeds, and Liverpool – university officials have decided to deliver all teaching online. This has then typically been delivered either through Blackboard Collaborate, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Skype. This is dependent on the lecturer’s choice of system.

Placements have generally all gone ahead, besides those abroad due to insurance reasons.

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Is online teaching good?

Online university teaching has had mixed reviews from students, though universities themselves report that engagement has been high and exam results, occasionally, even better than previous years.

With many students having already been accustomed to following lectures online through catchup videos, little has changed there. Seminars, where possible, have retained exactly the same format as they would normally – preparation work before the lesson, a discussion of answers, and then a further look at the wider theme based on relevant material.

Some students have gone as far as to say that online teaching has benefitted their learning owing to less travel and more time to study. The general mood remains, however, that most UK students are much anticipating a return to normal university learning in-person – this expected to happen at some point in the new year.

Do I have to self-isolate upon arrival?

The UK’s travel guidance, including countries from which one must isolate after arriving, is updated every Thursday evening by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Details as to which countries are subject to restrictions can be found on the department’s website, available at https://gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

As of now, arrivals from almost everywhere must legally undertake a period of self-isolation upon entering the United Kingdom. This is unlikely to change until mass vaccination has been carried out.

Is support for self-isolation available?

Though this is very much dependent on a university-to-university case, many have been reported as having provided adequate support for students undertaking a period of self-isolation. In some cases, this has been excellent.

Such aid has typically come in the forms of food and care packages, these being delivered directly to students’ doors by university staff. In terms of mental health support, universities have been delivering therapy classes and alike through ‘Zoom’ or other forms of video communication – information on these is available on student systems and via regular emails.

Is it possible to remain and study from home?

This year, given the situation, a much higher proportion of students have chosen to remain home and study remotely. Though this would need to be discussed with your university, the chances are that this would be more than possible.

Is the government looking to test all students for COVID-19?

Though unconfirmed as of yet, it is looking likely that the UK government will be carrying out mass testing of students ahead of the end of term in early December and returns back home.

All information on this will be provided by each university and should provide no cause for concern. In the event of a positive test, adequate support will be provided by the institution to ease students through the self-isolation period.

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