Birmingham universities prepare to send students home for Christmas

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Universities in Birmingham have laid out their plans ahead of the government’s mission to send students home in time for Christmas.

The universities will move all lectures online after 9th December and provide on campus testing for the students.

As national lockdown is due to end tomorrow, a “student travel window” will be opened from the 3rd December to 9th December, in the government’s bid to get students home by 9th December.

Credit: Mufin Majnun / Unsplash

For those unable to go home – the government advised “to undertake a further period of restricted contact either before or after returning home to minimise the risk of transmission.”

Latest figures show that within the last two weeks 10 students and staff have been tested positive for coronavirus at Aston University and 51 students at University of Birmingham. Birmingham City University have recorded 32 new cases among staff and students in the last seven days.

Teaching moves online

Following the guidelines, Birmingham City University and Aston University have ended all face to face teaching happening after the 9th of December. 

Credit: Aston University

In an announcement, University of Birmingham said that the teaching will continue online from the beginning of the next week commencing 7th December.

On campus testing

Both Birmingham City University and Aston University started testing on 30th November. But University of Birmingham plan to start testing students on 2nd December until 9th December.

Allan McNally, professor of Microbial Evolutionary Genomics at University of Birmingham, said on Twitter:

Students feel the travel window will cause undue ‘stress’

Speaking to Eastside, final year Birmingham City University student, Nneka Alfred, said that she is planning to return home around 20th December as she thinks that “travelling within the same time frame with other students will increase the changes of getting the virus.”

Credit: Nneka Alfred’s archive

“Moving teaching online has been more difficult than I thought it would be. I’m in my final year & this is my first experience of uni 90% online,” Nneka Alfred mentioned.

Credit: Cameron Gillies’ archive

First year student at Birmingham City University, Cameron Gillies, said that “the student travel window is ridiculous.” He believes that “it will cause panic and stress among students.” Gillies reckoned that “travelling back within a week frame would surely be an opening for the virus to spread up and down the country.”

“Daylight robbery”

When asked about his views on universities shifting to remote education, Gillies said that “it feels like daylight robbery.”

“Online teaching is not ideal, especially when paying £9,000 for tuition fees. Online lectures lead to de-motivation a lack of socialising and leaving students to spend more time locked inside their rooms.”

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