Russell Group calls for clarity as government delays Step 4

Publishing the delayed social distancing review will help universities and students prepare for new academic year, says the group

The Russell Group has called on the government to publish its delayed social distancing review so that universities can timetable for the new academic year.

Responding to yesterday’s (14 June) government announcement that Step 4 of its roadmap out of lockdown in England would be paused for four weeks, a Russell Group spokesperson said:

“The decision to extend lockdown measures in England underlines the uncertainty facing our universities as they develop timetables for thousands of students, covering millions of teaching hours, for the coming academic year.

Publishing the social distancing review and telling us what measures may remain in place after 19 July as soon as possible will make a big difference in helping universities ensure students understand how their courses will run if public health advice changes

“Our universities are determined to resume as many in-person activities as possible but are planning for a range of scenarios given the lack of clarity over which public health measures will still be in place this Autumn.

“Russell Group universities are working incredibly hard to give students as much information as they can, in as much detail as they can, as quickly as they can.

“Publishing the social distancing review and telling us what measures may remain in place after 19 July as soon as possible will make a big difference in helping universities ensure students understand how their courses will run if public health advice changes.”

The government’s social distancing review covers such issues as face masks, the one metre-plus rule, public transport and working from home guidance and is one of four government reviews looking at how to handle Covid-19 from summer onwards. The other reviews concern Covid-status certification, international travel and large events.

Overseen by cabinet office minister Michael Gove, the social distancing review was originally planned for the end of May but has been delayed several times, most recently as ministers study data on the Delta variant of the virus.


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