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Westminster guidance for reopening English university campuses has only added to the chaos and confusion

4 June 2020 | last updated: 12 June 2020

A poll this week warned that students fear their university may go bust as a result of Covid-19, are worried their education will be negatively impacted, and back a delayed start to the year if they can secure more face-to-face teaching.

A poll this week warned that students fear their university may go bust as a result of Covid-19, are worried their education will be negatively impacted, and back a delayed start to the year if they can secure more face-to-face teaching. Another recent poll said prospective students were far more likely to defer university this year, or switch institution.

UCU said the guidance felt like a tick-box exercise, rather than an effort to get to grips with the crisis threatening universities. The union wants the government to underwrite lost income from student fees and teaching grants to allow universities to focus on dealing with the pandemic, offering the best education they can and being in the best possible shape to lead the recovery.

The union has set out five tests that it says must be met before universities can reopen.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'The chaos and confusion surrounding higher education is making life extremely difficult for all concerned, including prospective students. This guidance feels like a tick-box exercise, rather than an attempt to get to grips with the crisis facing our universities.

'We need the government to step up and show clear support for higher education by underwriting the millions universities are forecast to lose as a result of the pandemic. Then universities can focus on tackling the pandemic, working with us on how best to deliver education this year, and when and how to reopen safely.'

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