Once more the country re-enters a state of closure, after the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a second national lockdown, said to last for four weeks beginning on the 5th November. However, not all sites are being shut, including England's universities.

It is clear to see in the current situation, that the government doesn't seem to be making any plans towards closing any setting of education. Some scientists have warned that Covid-19 is beginning to spread quickly within secondary schools; both the Mayor of Greater Manchester and Liverpool have also expressed their view, stating that to reduce the number of cases there should be a "period of closure" for educational institutions.

However, at this point in time they remain open, and held in the centre of the chaos, are our students.

Undoubtedly, they are all experiencing the stress and pressure of missing several months of crucial time in the classroom, particularly those who were preparing for their first academic year of university. The transition is known to be hard enough without the challenges of a global pandemic. Despite this, the students have remained strong-willed and hardworking, but it is important to be aware of the circumstances they're facing.

Although universities have remained open, many have reverted to online learning as an alternative. By doing so, the upcoming students can no longer undergo the critical first year in the same way others have in the past.

We spoke to one girl enrolled in Brunel University London, who has said that she feels "like first year students have been robbed of the uni experience that everyone looks forward to."

The social impact is also a key factor to consider. Those who are forced to work virtually cannot interact with other classmates as they would usually. Only through virtual lectures can students see one another. However, this has been described as "sometimes akward", suggesting it is not the preferred mode of meeting. It is thanks to our advanced technology that we now no longer have to rely on face-to-face communication to acquaint ourselves with others. Due to the many social media platforms, people are able to find and contact those who may not live close by, which has allowed students to get to know eachother. But, once again, it is not the same.

The universities themselves have taken this in their stride, trying their best to provide an excellent education for their students, no matter the circumstances. And it seems that they are achieving  just that. We have been told that, in the case of Brunel University, work is posted online with clear instructions; "I haven't struggled to understand my lectures, or not been able to submit my work." The use of online schooling is no groundbreaking news, however, the time and effort universities put into motivating and providing resources for their students, is something to applaud.

All in all, learning and teaching during a pandemic is no easy feat. However, England's universities are pulling through, and although the experience may not be the same to what it may have been had this been a normal situation, everyone is trying their hardest to produce a positive outcome.