So there are still real challenges for higher education as infections continue to rise and groups of students being forced to self-isolate, regional and local lockdowns make it challenging to deliver teaching. were the students to blame?
I read David Kernohan’s piece, What is it about small areas with large numbers of Covid-19 cases? On Wonkhe.
A glance at the Wonkhe dashboards would suggest this is a reasonable conclusion to draw – there are no Mid-level Super Output Areas (MSOA) in England with more than 100 Covid-19 cases in the last 7 days that have less than 2,000 students in residence. As you have probably come to expect, things are a bit more complicated than that.
David points out that blaming students for the rise in covid-19 isn’t just not helpful, but also isn’t accurate.
Universities are suffering again from negative press, saying they shouldn’t have opened. However they weren’t given much choice and on top of that in the most recent restrictions, even at the highest tier, universities are expected to remain open.
Though what does open mean anymore?
When we had the full lockdown back in March, yes students were sent home, however universities remained open, their campus may have been shut down, but research was still happening, teaching was going ahead and many students were learning.
Universities can remain open, but doesn’t mean the campus has to be open. Maybe the government should have listened to the advice from their own SAGE scientists who said three weeks ago that “all university and college teaching to be online unless face-to-face teaching is absolutely essential.” If that advice had been followed maybe, many of those covid-19 infection hotspots could have been avoided.
What we do know is that many universities are moving to online delivery curriculum models and for many students self isolation is part of the student experience.