Masks, social distancing and other pandemic restrictions in universities and colleges in Wales have now come to an end. All Covid restrictions for higher education have been lifted as of May 9 as the Welsh Government formally removed the infection control framework for higher and further education institutions.

The move brings universities and colleges them in line with schools and businesses . It was announced last week that restrictions for schools were ending.

Large-scale lectures and face-to-face teaching had already begun to return in higher education but the change will bring higher and further education into line with the wider public health guidance followed by businesses, employers, and event organisers, the Welsh Government said.

Read more:The definitive verdict on how the Welsh Government and UK Government compared in their handling of the pandemic

Universities and colleges have been following guidance to reduce the transmission of Covid-19, similar to the local framework followed by schools, with a scale of measures based on local risk. At the height of the pandemic that saw students learning remotely, having exams cancelled or online, no face-to-face teaching, and no large lectures while some were stuck isolating in halls of residence.

On April 18 the Welsh Government removed the legal requirement for businesses, employers, and event organisers to undertake specific risk assessments and employ reasonable measures to stop the spread of coronavirus. Announcing the latest change education minister Jeremy Miles said: “I would like to thank our college and university staff and students for their tremendous efforts throughout the pandemic in not only supporting students to keep learning but also their leading role in the fight against coronavirus.

“The continuation of education has been a Welsh Government priority throughout the pandemic. We have worked closely with the sector to ensure Covid-secure environments and in-person learning and campus facilities were available.

“We are now in a Covid-stable scenario and the public health risks for higher and further education have reduced significantly. Therefore the continuation of additional public health measures is no longer proportionate and we have asked institutions to formally remove their infection control frameworks from today.” Universities have also begun the first live graduation ceremonies in three years.

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