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Cambridge University students were seen returning to colleges - seven months after they closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Students wore masks as they loaded trolleys with their bags and possessions and moved back into university accommodation. The prestigious university has introduced a staggered start to the Autumn term and put a set of strict rules in place for its safe reopening programme.

These include a blended approach to learning, with mass lectures delivered online, alongside small group teaching and lab and practical work delivered in person in a safe manner. Students living in colleges will be kept in household bubbles and there will be systematic Covid testing for all students and staff. The university is also running a weekly asymptomatic testing programme for all students resident in college accommodation.

Professor Stephen J Toope, vice-chancellor of the university, said in a statement: “It is not possible for any institution to operate in a completely risk-free manner, but we have been as thorough as we can be in making the University of Cambridge as safe as possible. We have made preparations to manage positive cases of infection, and plans are in place to deal with outbreaks. We know that the best way to contain infections will be through regular testing and isolation.”

He added: “Many of our students are already in Cambridge, and we are preparing ourselves to welcome many more next week. A lot of effort has gone into ensuring that students will be safe and, within the current constraints, will enjoy the benefits of a Cambridge education and a Cambridge experience.” He continued: “I am in no doubt that the year ahead will be challenging. It will require us to be resilient, resourceful and kind to one another. I am confident that we will be.”

It comes as 40 universities across the UK have reported cases of coronavirus, meaning thousands are having to self-isolate in their halls.

Our Story Appeared In

The Daily Telegraph