Less than five per cent of UEA students return to campus lectures

Only a fraction of students have returned to the UEA with most not expected to return until April 26 at the earliest.

Only a fraction of students have returned to the UEA with most not expected to return until April 26 at the earliest. - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of students have returned to the University of East Anglia in Norwich for the first time since lockdown.

But while Norfolk schools and colleges have seen students return to classrooms this week, the majority of university students remain stuck at home.

Only around 350 students have returned to the UEA campus in Norwich this week out of a total more than 17,000.

Most students have been told there will be no face-to-face teaching until April 26 at the earliest, with the exception of some practical courses.

Prof Neil Ward.

UEA deputy vice chancellor Professor Neil Ward. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

University deputy vice chancellor Professor Neil Ward said some students had to be prioritised for an early return to access specialist facilities

“The hands-on use of the equipment is vital to be able to pass the course,” he said. “You cannot otherwise complete some of these courses because they are validated courses with a regulatory body that stipulates how they should be taught and what the curriculum is. 

“There is no getting around it, they need to be able to use the laboratories.”

Other students could return next month, subject to a Government review, with the UEA saying it hopes remaining courses will be back after Easter for the final part of the semester, which starts on April 26.

Returning UEA students have to undergo Covid tests twice a week.

Returning UEA students have to undergo Covid tests twice a week. - Credit: ITV

Prof Ward said: "I think there will still be a proportion that will want to continue to study remotely, but at the moment our default planning is that the vast majority of students will be back after Easter."

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Students arriving back are expected to get a free lateral flow test twice a week with a system set up in conjunction with Norwich University of the Arts (NUA), which returned to a blend of on-campus teaching and live streamed digital sessions this week.

City College Norwich, which currently has over 1,500 learners on apprenticeship programmes.

Students have returned to teaching at City College Norwich but some learning is still online. - Credit: City College

City College Norwich has seen 16-18-year-old students return to campuses this week. 

But most courses will continue to have a mix of face-to-face and online teaching in the three weeks leading up to Easter.

The majority of UEA students will have experienced little to no face-to-face tuition since the beginning of the academic year.

Those who have paid for on-campus accommodation that they have been unable to live in due to lockdown have been given a 12-week rent rebate and offered a free four-week accommodation period.

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