England’s university students will finally be allowed to return to in-person teaching – but only from May 17 at the earliest.
The government issued advice tonight after leaving hundreds of thousands of students in limbo since December.
Ministers had promised an update during the Easter holidays on when all university students could return.
Today, however, they said that date would be kept back to Stage Three of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
That will begin on May 17 at the earliest, if key tests on the vaccine rollout, case numbers and other factors are met.
Creative and practical students had already started returning from March 8.
But around half of students are still learning remotely – many of them paying £9,250-a-year for the privilege.
Today’s announcement suggests many students will only return to in-person learning for a few weeks before their summer break.
When they do return to uni, all students and staff will be encouraged to take three supervised tests, three to five days apart.
After this they will have access to free twice-a-week rapid “lateral flow” tests, like the rest of the population, to monitor whether they have Covid-19.