University of Exeter announces new COVID-19 policies as social restrictions to end on 19 July

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Lars Mucklejohn

The University of Exeter has announced new COVID-19 policies, easing some of last year’s measures.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed this week that all COVID-19 social restrictions in England will end on 19 July, including mandates on social distancing, face coverings, and capacity limits.

Exeter Vice-Chancellor Professor Lisa Roberts previously told the Anchor that next academic year will hopefully “be more back to normal” but emphasised the importance of having “a flexible and adaptable approach”.

The measures announced today will apply from 19 July to the start of next academic year in September.

Social distancing and face coverings will not be mandatory on campus. However, there will be “a strong expectation” for students and staff to wear face coverings indoors.

Hand sanitising, cleaning, and face covering stations will remain in place, and the university has urged students to wash their hands regularly, clean workspaces, and ensure appropriate ventilation.

Research spaces will still have booking and rota systems, although capacity will increase. The university will review study spaces over the summer and ensure that as many as possible return to pre-pandemic occupancy levels.

The university has committed “to deliver as much of our teaching on campus as possible” next academic year and will give further updates “in the coming weeks”. More information on teaching plans can be found online.

QR codes and track and trace will still be used, and the university has asked students to continue using the NHS app.

Students are still expected to get tested twice a week using the test centres on campus or a home kit. More information on university testing can be found online.

All over-18s are now eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccination via the NHS website, and the university has strongly recommended that students get vaccinated as soon as possible.

The university has said that it will constantly review its approach to COVID-19 and give further updates “in the weeks and months ahead”.