Autistic students in Leicester nervous about returning to universities after lockdown

By Kira Gibson

Several autistic university students at both De Montfort University (DMU) and University of Leicester (UoL) have raised worries about practical courses returning to campus this week (March 8). 

Latest restrictions from the Government regarding Coronavirus state that students and pupils may return to schools and colleges this week, with universities having to choose whether or not their students return to campus fully, or on a part-time basis. 

DMU gave a statement saying that students on several courses in the faculties of Arts, Design and Humanities, plus in Computing, Engineering and Media may return to campus, but they must have two negative Covid-19 lateral flow test results the week they return.

Callie, 18, (who did not want her full name used) at UoL, said: “I’d love to go back in person, but my university isn’t offering it at the moment. I feel that I work so much better when I am at university and not online as I find it easier to concentrate.

“However, I am scared that if we were to go back now then I would need to have a Covid test regularly, which is very stressful.”

This opinion isn’t just being held by those at UoL, students at DMU have also shared their thoughts on the subject, with some suggesting that they’re anxious about returning under the current circumstances, but also preferring the in-person tutorage. 

Second year, Charlie Falkner (21) at DMU, said: “It can be very hard to focus in online classes as I often get distracted by other things on my PC but last year I was too anxious to go to in-person lectures. 

“Personally, I’d be far less inclined to ask questions I might need to as I’m far more confident when messaging (e.g., Blackboard chat). However, if in-person societies were back then the lack of social isolation would do wonders for my mental health, which could definitely improve academic performance as well.”

For the full list of courses allowed back on campus at DMU, please go to: https://www.dmu.ac.uk/your-dmu-safety/campus-eligible-courses-march-8.aspx

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