University students in Newcastle want to see a return to face to face lectures rather than remote studies, according to new research from estate and letting agency Walton Robinson.
More than half of students questioned in the snap poll (55%) want to get back to their studies on campus as opposed to lectures and learning delivered by video link.
The study of a group of 40 Newcastle and Northumbria University students, who are tenants in properties managed by Walton Robinson, also revealed they are happy to return to their campuses as long as a number of measures were in place.
In addition to the implementation of strict two-metre social distancing measures, the students said they would like to see a reduction in class sizes, PPE to be available on site, as well as the use of hand sanitisers throughout all campus buildings.
One of the other most popular suggestions among the students was the introduction of testing for COVID-19 on campus.
The students questioned are also in support of the government’s encouragement to minimise the use of public transport in the coming months with 81% planning to walk or cycle to lectures.
The study indicates that students in the city will not be concerned about living in shared accommodation when they return to university with more than two thirds (68%) considering properties such as Homes in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) for the next academic year.
There is also a sense of optimism amongst the students and suggestions of the first place they would visit after lockdown restrictions were lifted included the pub or nights out with friends, the gym, and their favourite restaurant or fast food chain.
Mark Walton, Managing Director, Walton Robinson, said: “Our student tenants are keen to get back the city and carry on with their studies with face to face lectures. “Changes are needed on campus and the government needs to help universities devise the most effective ways to have students back on campus as soon as possible.
“The announcement by the Vice Chancellor of Northumbria University this week on clarifying the first semester of the next academic year is currently due to start as planned on 28th September will give our students some hope that the measures will be suitably in place and they can return to something like normality soon.”
“We are also working with our landlords and the student accommodation we manage to ensure social distancing and hygiene measures can be maintained to help students quickly adjust to the new normal of university life in Newcastle.”