University students studying in England will return to in-person teaching “no earlier than 17 May”
Updated: May 1
The government has faced criticism following the announcement, as many students will have already finished the academic year by the time they are allowed to return to campus.
Students studying practical subjects, who require specialist equipment have been permitted to return to in-person teaching, which has been welcomed by creative industry students.
Chloe Iturbe, who studies film production at the University of Gloucestershire said she is glad to be able to return to the blended learning approach.
She said: “I feel lucky to have had some in-person teaching since the last lockdown.
“There are so many students who haven’t been able to go on campus since term one.
“Even though parts of my course are still online, it is good that we are able to have some in-person teaching again.”
The 20-year-old explained that she finds it hard to concentrate when engaging with online learning, as there are more distractions in her home environment than when she is attending university in person.
She said: “I think I pay more attention to what the lecturers are saying when I am taught in a classroom because I am less likely to get distracted by things, like my phone.”
The second-year student added that despite this disadvantage to her learning, she has noticed some positives from the less traditional university experience.
She said: “I seem to be completing my essays a lot quicker than I did in my first year of university.
“I think this is because I spend less time travelling to and from my lectures, which means I have more time to do my work.
“When I finish class, I’m already home, ready to start working on my assignments.”
Charlotte Weaver, who studies digital marketing at the same university, will not be able to return to campus till the middle of May, despite being told she hopefully would be able to after Easter.
She said: "I haven't been able to go back on campus since November.
"We were all hoping we would be able to go back after easter but that's no longer going ahead which is really disappointing.
"I am really keen to get back to learning in person because that is definitely how I prefer to be taught."
The first-year student who describes herself as a "social person" explained how much harder it is to form friendships when learning online.
She said: “I’m so glad I got to meet the people on my course during the first term, but it has been hard to develop those relationships further online.
"It has made group work challenging as although we have met a handful of times, we haven't had much opportunity to really get to know each other in person.
“My university has tried to still do group work online, but it is so much harder when you are in breakout rooms, rather than in person.
“It is really awkward because you don’t know when someone is going to speak, so you almost don’t want to in case you get interrupted.
“I find because of that people don’t engage as much, which is a shame because when we were in person people spoke so much more.
"I think once we are back on campus, we will be able to solidify those friendships and discussions will come so much more naturally."