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Universities "should be given priority" out of lockdown

University students at Brunel have given a mixed response after Boris Johnson announced that classes will not be returning in the foreseeable future.

The Prime Minister addressed the nation with the 'roadmap to easing lockdown' on Monday night in his televised Downing Street press conference.

Even though all schools will be opening for eighteen-year-olds and under, universities are facing different rules.

The PM said this week, as part of his announcement: "Students on practical courses can return to university but all others will need to continue learning online and we'll review the situation before the end of the Easter holidays."

Soumik Saha, 39, a Masters student at Brunel University London, expressed his concerns. The student said: “This is trouble for Masters students. I was looking forward to student life.”

But others have sided with Boris Johnson’s thinking. Matthew Dooley, 28, a Journalism student at Brunel, said: "The Government is doing the best that they can.”

He added: "I think that it is time to start opening up responsibly."

Others were conflicted. Diwanshu Tomar, 25, a Masters Journalism student at Brunel, said: "We are not really in that safe zone, so I guess what he [Boris Johnson] announced is pretty much okay."

However, he added: "Universities should also be given a priority, especially international students.”

The National Union of Students Press Office released an official statement to IKB Insider regarding the news. Its spokesperson said: "While we are pleased that students on practical based courses can return to face-to-face learning, it is critical that necessary measures are put into place to ensure that safety of students, staff and local communities, minimising further risk."

They added: "It is important that students are supported with access to digital learning, maintenance grants, rent rebates and no detriment policies to compensate the disruption they've been subjected to over the past year.

"The Government's failure to invest in digital learning has impacted the most disadvantaged students and we call on them to urgently tackle these deepening inequalities."

IKB Insider has contacted the Department of Education for a comment on the above statement and are waiting for a response.

Brunel University has also been asked for a statement.

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