St Andrews tells students to stay away until AUTUMN

St Andrews tells students to stay away until AUTUMN as chiefs announce lectures will remain online for the rest of the academic year

  • St Andrews announced teaching will remain online for the rest of academic year
  • University become latest to rule out mass return to campus before September 
  • Spokesman said students unable to use accommodation were being reimbursed

St Andrews university has announced that teaching will remain online for the rest of the academic year.

The Scottish university where Prince William and Kate Middleton met has become the latest to rule out a mass return to campus before September.

With the exception of a small number of students such as those studying medicine, teaching will continue remotely.

It follows a similar move by Edinburgh University.

St Andrews has become the latest university to rule out a mass return to campus before September

In a message to students, vice-chancellor Sally Mapstone said St Andrews was taking ‘the difficult decision’ to provide certainty as early as possible.

She said: ‘It is prudent to anticipate that significant restrictions on travel and other aspects of public life will remain in place in Scotland through the spring.

‘Even if some of those are eased as Covid infections fall, we do not believe it will be to a degree sufficient to allow us to bring large numbers of students back to St Andrews and provide comprehensive in-person education.’

She insisted that the university would be able to continue offering ‘our hallmark high-quality learning, contact, and support online’.

A spokesman said last night that students who are unable to use their accommodation were being reimbursed.

In England, the London School of Economics is also keeping remote learning for the rest of the year while University College London has said ‘core teaching will continue to take place online’. 

This is despite the Government’s plan for universities to start welcoming students back on to campus from March 8.

With the exception of a small number of students, teaching will continue remotely. (Stock image)

Universities minister Michelle Donelan told student news site The Tab: ‘Our number one priority will be getting students back as quickly as possible. It is the same roadmap as the one that is being laid out for schools. 

On the week commencing February 15, the Government will review the situation. Then the decision will be announced on February 22.’

The effort is unlikely to abate student unhappiness over the impact of Covid, which has led to a record number of complaints and calls for reductions in tuition fees and rents.

Many universities have offered rent refunds or reductions after students refused to pay for accommodation they have not been able to use.

However, they have resisted calls to refund tuition fees which are usually around £9,000 a year. The Government has refused to intervene.

Miss Donelan told the Commons: ‘We set the maximum tuition fee level, and it is up to universities to then decide what to charge. 

‘Every single one has continued to charge the maximum and, in return, we have said we expect the quantity, quality and accessibility of provision to be there.’

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