By Hallum Cowell | Deputy Editor
On January 6, Cardiff University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Claire Morgan, released an update for students returning to Cardiff after the Christmas break. The new decision considers the new National Lockdowns begun by England and Scotland on January 4.
The national lockdown regulations means schools and colleges across Wales will be closed until at least January 18, as reported by the Welsh Government, although further guidance for university students is still to come.
The announcements made by Governments across the UK on January 4 did not at the time indicate the rules which would be in place for universities.
Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams took to Twitter soon after the January 4 announcements to discuss the Welsh approach to university students returning for the Spring semester.
Q. I’m a university student – what should I do?
A. Universities in Wales have already agreed a staggered start to term. Students should not return to universities for face to face learning until they are notified by their university that they can do so.
— Kirsty Williams (@wgmin_education) January 4, 2021
Pro Vice-Chancellor Morgan’s message did offer students some insight into the process of returning to university, though further information is still to come.
Vice-chancellors at the university discussed current plans for those students returning to Wales on January 5 and the statement reads that;
“Their guidance has not changed, and our plans remain the same. However, the spread of the new variant of coronavirus throughout the UK requires us to keep our plans under constant review.”
Cardiff University also states that it is continuing to work with the Welsh Government to keep their plans for students under review.
Later in the statement, the university outlines their plans for students returning in January and February,
“You should plan to return to Cardiff (or the location of your placement) just before your in-person teaching resumes. Currently returning to Cardiff to continue your studies will be considered a reasonable excuse to travel.”
The statement adds that, “While some in-person teaching is taking place in January (predominantly in health-related or practical-based programmes), most of you are not expected back in Cardiff until early February.”
This new development will be a sign of relief to many after a worrisome period of a rise in COVID-19 cases across Wales during the festive period and the anticipation of the reopening of schools across the nation.
The university wrote that the wishes, mental health, and future aspirations of students are part of their decision making.
Cardiff University also highlighted the importance of continuing to follow COVID-19 rules to keep yourself and others safe. Students can also contact Student Connect if they have any questions and can go to this page on the student intranet for “managing anxiety and other challenges”.
Cardiff University has said they are following Welsh Government advice, and will aim to keep students updated on changes to rules and regulations in regards to in-person teaching and returning to campus.