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Petitions Committee calls for views of university students impacted by COVID-19

The House of Commons Petitions Committee is calling for the views of university students who have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The committee, which is a cross-party group of MPs independent of the government considers petitions submitted both in paper format and online at petition.parliament.uk. A number of petitions have been created on the petitions website recently in reference to impacts on students due to university strikes and now the Coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement on their website and in a message sent to people who have signed petitions on the subject, the Petitions Committee said;

"The Petitions Committee is looking into the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on university students, and would like to hear your views. This is in response to several petitions on the subject"

"You can share your experiences by completing this short survey: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/KX4LJZ/.

"The survey will stay open until Friday 15 May. The Committee will be looking at this issue next week, and your answers will help them understand the issues people are facing and will inform the questions they put to the Government. Any responses to the survey received after next week will still be considered by the Committee, and could inform further work on this issue."

The Coronavirus pandemic has seen many universities cancel their exams, while teaching and university life, in general, has also faced significant disruption. The disruption to the studies of university students comes in an academic year where members of the University and College Union (UCU) have staged strikes on two separate occasions, resulting in the loss of many hours of teaching for students.

In November 2019, members of the UCU union started an eight-day strike in 60 UK universities as part of action in two different disputes including on pensions and on pay and conditions. In February and March this year, 74 UK universities were hit by more strike action, with strikes taking place on 14 different days. The Coronavirus pandemic has seen teaching cancelled for some students, while others have been taught online remotely throughout the world. Some universities have offered full or partial refunds for Summer term accommodation for students, though tuition fees for the year are still currently being paid in full.

The disruption throughout the year has led to petitions including 'Reimburse all students of this year’s fees due to strikes and COVID-19' and 'Require universities to reimburse students' tuition fees during strike action'.

Students at UK universities, their parents and members of academic staff are invited to take part in the Committee's survey at smartsurvey.co.uk/s/KX4LJZ/

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