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UK Universities All Set To Reopen With COVID Guidelines In Place

As the world still waits for a coronavirus vaccine, businesses are gradually getting back to their feet. Even if they are doing this at a snail’s pace, the good thing is that hope and resilience are still alive and kicking. The education sector, too, is all set to make a comeback, though it was never out of operation completely, with online learning continuing through the global lockdowns. The biggest concern right now comes for the students who have study abroad plans in the pipeline.

For international students aspiring to pursue higher education in the UK, the good news is that the universities here are preparing to reopen for the next semester amid the updated government guidance for COVID-19. The guidelines impose limitations on large gatherings across campuses, necessitate the use of face coverings, emphasize the need for ventilation and hygiene, and have additional advice on international travel, testing and student accommodation.

When it comes to the implementation of these guidelines, everything boils down to good collaboration between the universities and students. While universities need to do their bit with attention to sanitisation and disinfection measures, students have to practice control and judiciousness in terms of limiting gatherings, self-quarantining on arrival and reporting of symptoms. Further, both have to be prepared for a switch to the hybrid model any time there is a surge in infection through the academic term.

Despite the challenges that stand in the way of international universities opening their doors to global students, things aren’t as bleak as they appear. In fact, UK universities are all set to onboard record numbers of international students this year, defying predictions of financial disaster. According to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), the universities secured a 9% upsurge in the number of undergraduate students from aboard who will start their studies this autumn. With this, the number rises to a record total of 44,300.

The UK government, too, is extending support to the higher education sector in several ways. They may consider financial bailouts for HEIs and are also coming up with easier visa norms for international students. The student visa processes are being streamlined further with the aim to simplify the current Tier 4 Student Visa application process.

Considering these facts, it is clear that international students do not have valid reasons to give up on their study abroad aspirations, pandemic or no pandemic. To be honest, the journey may be tough, but the reward is worthy enough to make that extra effort, both for HEIs and students.

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