UEA bans overnight visitors for students ‘while Covid-19 persists’

UEA students will not be allowed to have overnight guests from outside their household when they ret

UEA students will not be allowed to have overnight guests from outside their household when they return to campus in September. Picture: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Archant

Students at Norfolk’s biggest university have been told they will not allowed overnight visitors from anyone outside their household when they return to halls from next month.

The new academic year begins next month and the University of East Anglia (UEA) are “still planning to welcome new students in late September” amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Students are set to start arriving from September 19 with the academic year starting on September 28, though the institution said it would offer “flexible arrival options” for some students up to October 26.

UEA has, however, decided to ban people from having overnight guests from outside their student household in the interest of safety.

A statement said: “We have taken the decision, in line with other higher education institutes, not to allow overnight guests from outside the student household while Covid-19 persists.”

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It is one of a number of changes to normal university life that students across the UK can expect to find when they return or first head away this year.

Any form of mixing with other households will be discouraged while gatherings of students will be kept to a minimum.

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The annual Freshers’ Week events will likely be held virtually or cancelled, especially with nightclubs remaining closed for the foreseeable future due to concerns over an inability to enforce social distancing.

At many universities, students will live in ‘bubbles’ of between six and 13 people, according to the Sunday Times.Students living in halls will likely be divided up into groups with others from the same course to lower the likelihood of mixing with several different groups.

Meanwhile, lectures and seminars will in many cases be different to what has previously been experienced – UEA said they have “transformed our teaching environment to bring an innovative mix of quality virtual learning alongside traditional face-to-face interactive teaching on campus”.

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute think tank, said that “universities are doing the right thing”, but warned that the lack of social interaction “will clearly make having close student friendships and intimate relationships difficult”.

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