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Express & Star comment: Not too early to start thinking about end of coronavirus crisis

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published: | Last Updated:

Although we are still nowhere near the worst of this unfolding crisis, it is not too early to start thinking about what things will be like when we overcome it and start the process of recovery.

The impact has been on every aspect of our lives. Public health – saving lives – is paramount. The economy, and therefore jobs, has already taken a big hit, despite the Government efforts to provide a measure of shielding. There is going to be much rebuilding work to be done but, unless we are faced with a total wasteland, over time the nation will bounce back.

Measured up against such issues, the future of education has fallen into the shadows, but how this sector pulls through will determine to some extent the shape of the new, post-virus nation. The educational challenge is both in the fields of finance and in learning.

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Geoff Layer, vice chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, which has large campuses in Wolverhampton, Telford, and Walsall, has flagged up huge uncertainties, and has called for an indication from the Government of what financial support will be given to universities to ensure stability.

One of his worries is that if fewer students enrol, universities like his will take a financial hit. The lockdown has already hit some revenue streams, and put a question mark over the opening date for a showpiece new campus.

What to do about exams? How can schools and universities continue the learning process?

If you think that the effect on universities does not matter all that much in the grand scheme of things in which the nation is literally in a life and death fight, it is worth remembering that the experts with the knowledge and skills which will help us defeat coronavirus are likely to be university-educated, and universities are among those in the forefront of the fightback.

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This is true of the University of Wolverhampton, which is making supplies for the NHS. The battle against coronavirus will be won in significant part thanks to the arsenal of expertise, creativity, and research in our unis.

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Did you go for a nice walk last weekend?

There is nothing wrong in that so long as you follow the Government’s guidelines.

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If you go for your permitted daily exercise, that’s fine, but if you jump in the car and drive to get there...well, let’s just say that you may not find it easy to park, as across the region councils are closing car parks at parks and beauty spots.

This is to stop scenes like we saw in Snowdonia the previous weekend, when huge crowds descended.

The breath of fresh air is not the problem, but the huge crowds are the problem – a social distancing problem. Getting away from it all is not getting away from it all if everybody else is getting away from it all to the same place.

With coronavirus, we have to think locally. Shop locally, and only when necessary. Get to know the neighbours better, but safely, of course.

These are ways of living to which many of us have become unaccustomed. If this pandemic has been a product of globalism, it’s rather appropriate that a good way to fight it is through localism.

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