The Omicron variant is spreading fast around the UK, with a record number of Coronavirus cases being counted every day. However, although no restrictions have been put in place as of yet, we’re sure that a lot of students are concerned about whether they will actually be able to return to university next year. With many experiencing deja vu regarding virtual learning, we’re here to examine whether university will be online in 2022.
On 28th December 2021, there were 128,685 new coronavirus cases reported, according to JHU CSSE COVID-19 Data, with the Omicron variant being the dominant factor. Although more people are being urged to get vaccinated, it is still possible to contract the virus if you are double vaccinated resulting in more people isolating over the new year.
As of today, Boris Johnson has not announced any new plans in England to reduce the spread of the virus, and so many venues are still open to allow the mixing of different households. Restrictions, however, have been placed in Scotland and Wales to try to reduce the transmission rate. Face masks are now compulsory in most indoor public venues, and this is expected to stay in place.
Online university 2020/2021
Virtual learning became a part of the normal ritual for many university students since early last year, and in many ways, there were some advantages to this. Our learning mostly took part in our bedrooms, with many not even having to leave the comfort of their beds to go to university. In retrospect, this might seem like the easiest way of getting a degree, however, it definitely had its drawbacks.
Materials such as books and academic support became a lot less accessible, and some lessons turned out to be just pre-recorded lectures. Of course, no one really had any idea what was going on and how long this would last. Therefore, everyone had to adapt to this new concept of virtual learning extremely quickly.
Many students’ mental health deteriorated during this time, as we were often confined to just the same four walls day in and day out. So, it is completely understandable that many will be concerned if university will be online in 2022 yet again. However, it wasn’t all bad and there are benefits that come from online learning, too.
As of 29th December, the majority of universities are offering on-campus or blended learning, with half being in person and half online. In many settings, face masks will be compulsory in on-campus teaching, unless you are exempt. However, many universities have confirmed that exams will take place online this academic year, taking on the form of timed assessments instead of the traditional sit-down exams we are all used to.
Furthermore, many universities will have their own rules and restrictions, so it is super important to keep up to date with any emails you may receive over the break to see if your university will be online in 2022.
We’re sure that many of us definitely did not expect to go into 2022 with more fears of a fourth lockdown looming above us, however, it is extremely important to follow government guidelines when possible; we definitely don’t want this to become the new norm.