Universities UK response to UK government lockdown guidance for universities

​The UK government has published new guidance for higher education institutions concerning the lockdown in England, which confirms that face-to-face teaching can continue where possible, and clarifies that libraries and shared-study spaces will remain open for students to access.

Commenting on the guidance, Professor Julia Buckingham, President of Universities UK said:

"This guidance provides much-needed clarity for university staff and students on the new lockdown restrictions in England.

"Students and young people suffered enormously from reduced social contact and disruption during the first national lockdown, so it is even more important that they can get on with their education during the period of enhanced restrictions starting this week. We welcome both the government's confirmation that it does not want or expect a transition to full online learning, as well as their support for the blended approach being taken by the sector. Universities will continue offering some face-to-face learning and support where it is possible to do so in a safe physically distanced way, which we believe is important for the mental, emotional and educational wellbeing of students.

"We also welcome confirmation that Covid-secure libraries and study spaces can remain open, and that students can continue to socialise and exercise with members of their own household.

"We understand this is a tough time for students, but we urge them to follow the government's guidance and remain where they are for the duration of the new national restrictions. All universities will continue working hard to take care of both their physical and emotional wellbeing, by providing access to testing and health care, mental health support, food deliveries, laundry, and financial support.

"We await further guidance from the government on the possible roll-out of mass testing and plans for students to return home at Christmas."



  1. Universities UK (UUK) is the collective voice of 140 universities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Its mission is to create the conditions for UK universities to be the best in the world; maximising their positive impact locally, nationally and globally. Universities UK acts on behalf of universities, represented by their heads of institution. Visit: www.universitiesuk.ac.uk 



Our team

Steven Jefferies

Steven Jefferies

Head of Media
Universities UK

Eloise Phillips

Eloise Phillips

Media Officer
Universities UK

Clara Plackett

Clara Plackett

Senior Media Officer
Universities UK


A student carrying books

Student reviews tell the story of 2020

1 March 2021
​After studying more than 16,000 student reviews, Paul Humphreys, Founder and CEO at StudentCrowd, looks at how students have been experiencing university this year.


Pathways and flexibility are key to supporting lifelong learning

18 December 2020
Dave Phoenix, Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University, argues that if we are to facilitate lifelong learning and avoid ‘educational dead ends’, universities must play a core role in qualification design.


Students getting exam results

University admissions teams will 'pull out all the stops' this year

25 February 2021
Universities UK's response to the government's announcement on teacher assessed grades for 2021.

Female student in lab

Universities welcome UK government roadmap announcement

22 February 2021
The government's plan confirms that all students on practical and practise-based courses who require access to specialist equipment or facilities can return to universities from 8 March 2021.