Students Return to Socially Distant Universities

Monday, 14 Sep 2020

Students Return to Socially Distant Universities

Students up and down the UK are preparing to return to university over the next few weeks. However, this year will be like no other with coronavirus restrictions meaning many institutions will be swapping lecture theatres for online classes this semester.

At Glasgow Caledonian University, freshers’ week will be a virtual affair and when term begins, there will be a minimal number of face-to-face classes. Many institutions are reserving in person instruction for the subjects that need it most, like medicine and veterinary science.

A student from the Glasgow university said, “There are a few people thinking: ‘This isn’t what I expected when I went to university’”.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for students will be the lack of social contact with other classmates, with student accommodation rules being particularly stringent. Those moving into student halls in Glasgow this year aren’t “even allowed to have anyone to help move stuff in” and families are unable to enter rooms.

Students who live together can form a household, but the social aspect of university will be most difficult for those students who live at home with their families. President of the National Union of Students in Scotland said some students were “at risk of experiencing increased isolation.”

We have previously discussed how international students are unlikely to travel to the UK this year if classes move online.

It seems this is now becoming apparent with senior vice-principal of St Andrews University, Brad McKay, explaining that about 1,000 students including “both new entrants and also returning students” have opted “for a period of time – some for a whole semester, some just for a period of weeks – to begin their studies remotely.”

This reduced number of international students, coupled with the fact that university campuses have had to reduce capacity, means fewer people will be around to spend money in campus cafés or local shops.

Student societies are also going to be very different this year with president of St Andrews University Student Association admitting that many society events will be happening online.

Get a Quick Quote