UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced England’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown, with changes set to begin from 8 March.
The announcement includes a four-step plan, which lays out the expected dates for each sector to reopen, and the conditions that must be met for them to do so.
Universities are currently only operating in-person for those on selected ‘essential’ courses.
Under the new plan, campuses could slowly start to reopen from 8 March.
The first step will see those on courses requiring "practical teaching, specialist facilities or on-site assessments" allowed to be taught on campus.
Mr Johnson said that the government was reviewing the correct time for other students to return, and that a decision would be made by the end of the Easter holidays - so most likely mid-April.
However, the decisions are all subject to coronavirus rates in the country, which should continue to fall as the lockdown and vaccination drive continues.
The Department for Education said that university staff and students will be tested twice weekly as a “vital” part of the plan for recovery.
Rapid COVID-19 testing remains a vital part of our plan to suppress the virus and allow children and young people to remain in school, college or university. pic.twitter.com/wjKQuChVh8— Department for Education (@educationgovuk) February 22, 2021
Staff and students will also be advised to wear face coverings in all indoor settings, such as lecture halls and university buildings.
A document laying out the details for universities says that all students and providers will be given a week’s notice ahead of any further return.
International students who are not already staying on campus should remain where they are until further notice.