By Aiyana Lowry
Boris Johnson announced a new four-step roadmap which could see the lifting of all lockdown rules and restrictions by the 21st June 2021.
Children and students will be able to return back to School from the 8th of March. This also includes higher education students at English universities who are on practical courses.
Rosie Mace, a first year model design student at the University of Hertfordshire said: “The roadmap out of Lockdown has been confusing enough, but we haven’t had enough guidance or attention from the Government as was needed…Dates have just been wafted around as though our futures aren’t on the line - and thus the actual future of the world, essentially.”
The Prime Minister said they will focus on “data not dates”.
The four-step roadmap is available on the GOV.UK website and outlines the rules within each step.
Before the next stage of the roadmap can be entered for easing restrictions there will be an assessment based on four tests. These include the success of vaccine deployment; evidence that vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisation and death in those vaccinated; there is not a surge in infection rates that would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS and new variant concerns.
Rosie furtherly added: “My course is entirely studio-based, so my course has practically been useless without face-to-face teaching…I hope that I’ll feel like I made the right choice in choosing to come to Uni this year, and that I haven’t put myself into a lifetime debt for no reason - because that’s quite a mental pressure and guilt, that nobody seems to realise students are facing this year.”
Brian J, a student at the University of Hertfordshire said: “8th March isn't an especially significant date as I'm a research student and the LRC has been open during this lockdown. That said, I do hope that the LRC will open up its 1st and 2nd floors by then. I don't want it to be so busy that I can't get in.”
Michelle Donelan, Minister of State for Universities, has also written an open letter to all students following the announcement.
Ms Donelan addressed that: “The mass movement of students across the country poses a risk for the transmission of the virus – particularly because of the higher prevalence and rates of transmission of new variants. This is why we have made the difficult decision to restrict the number of you returning to campus in this period.”
She furtherly explained that the students who return to campus need to be tested on arrival then again three days later. It is also advised that student get tested twice a week.
On the 23rd February the University of Hertfordshire sent a student update email to all students addressing the Government’s new roadmap update and that students on practical courses such as creative arts can return to in person classes from the 8th of March.
The email said: “We are currently looking at which programmes will return in March and your Programme Leader will contact you by Monday 1st March with information on what this means for you.”
Furtherly adding: “Please remember that while we now have a roadmap out of lockdown, the current stay at home restrictions remain in place. We must all continue to act responsibly and remember the ‘hands, face, space’ guidance to protect ourselves and each other.”
At the Downing Street news conference Boris Johnson said the coming spring and summer would be "seasons of hope, looking and feeling incomparably better for us all”.