By Tirion Davies | Editor-in-Chief
It was confirmed on January 29 that, “with the exception of health-related and practical-based programmes” with required on-campus teaching, the majority of teaching at Cardiff University will remain online until March 26.
Cardiff University yesterday announced further communication and information from individual courses will follow from Monday 1 February.
The news comes after further developments of regulation in Wales were declared by the Welsh Government.
In a press conference on January 29, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said that the “alert level four” restrictions would persist in Wales for at least another three weeks.
The First Minister reported that Welsh primary schools could begin returning after the February half-term, given that the rate of positive COVID-19 tests continue to fall in Wales. Mr Drakeford did not address the reopening of universities across Wales, though noted younger pupils may gain priority.
Public Health Wales said on January 29 that a further 29 people had died in Wales from COVID-19, but that Wales is beginning to see a fall in positive rates once again.
What do these new rules mean for students?
Cardiff University has announced that although the majority of teaching will remain online until March 26, residences, libraries, study spaces and buildings will remain open for students wishing to return to Cardiff before March.
This new development will not, however, affect the return of postgraduate research students, and is dependent on courses and Schools.
Students without COVID-19 symptoms returning to Cardiff will need to book an appointment for a COVID-19 test through Cardiff University’s Screening Service ahead of their return.
Those who have returned and are awaiting test results will need to “lay low” and minimise contact with others until they receive their results.
What about International students?
International students are able to return to Cardiff if they would like to continue their online study here, or if their course requires in-person teaching.
Students who have travelled abroad over the Christmas period, or are returning to Cardiff from their home overseas are being urged to check the guidance they may need to follow upon their return.
New guidance has been put in place for entering the UK, and there is now a requirement to complete a passenger locator form before travelling.
For students arriving in England before travelling to Cardiff, there is a requirement to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure in order to avoid getting fined.
Guidance in place suggests students will need to self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival unless they are travelling from one of the regions exempt from Welsh border rules.
This announcement comes just weeks after the Welsh Government allocated an additional £40m to students across Wales to help with rent payments and “digital poverty” for student affected by the pandemic.
Cardiff University Halls of Residences have given many the option of rent rebates, although this news of further online teaching will affect those in private accommodation without a similar option.
It has yet to be announced whether the Welsh Government grants will extend to students staying in private accommodation.
The university recently re-instated its no-detriment ‘Safety Net policy’ to ensure students will not be affected by online teaching caused by the pandemic, which is likely to be a comfort for some after this new development.
Cardiff University will continue to review the situation and have promised students will receive regular updates on the next steps.