Slim majority back return of in-person teaching

42% of respondents to a recent YouGov poll said English university students should be allowed to resume in-person teaching before 17 May, while 35% said they should not

The court of public opinion has yet to deliver a clear verdict on whether English university students should be allowed to resume in-person teaching before the currently scheduled date of 17 May.

Forty-two per cent of the 4265 British adults surveyed in a YouGov poll on 23 April thought that ‘normal’ learning should be given the green light, while 35% declared that it should not. The remainder were undecided.

The debate on when students should return to campus-based learning has become increasingly fraught in recent weeks.

University and College Union (UCU) general secretary Jo Grady said the 17 May date was both too early and too impractical.

“Ministers now need to be honest with staff and students and confirm most courses will stay online until September, which is what UCU has been calling for,” she said.

“Restarting in-person activities in mid-May makes absolutely no sense, as many students’ exams will already have finished.”

Perhaps more in keeping with the views of students themselves, the president of Universities UK, Prof Julia Buckingham, branded the government’s decision not to reopen campuses “illogical”.

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