England to delay return to school amid rising Covid-19 infection rates. Image Source: IANS News

London, Jan 10 : Three students from the University of Liverpool have launched a petition to highlight the impact of Covid-19 in "worrying and uncertain times", urging the university to extend assessment deadlines and do more to support mental health and wellbeing.

Thousands of students, as well as the families of students, have already signed the petition started by law student Rebecca Bailey and two of her university friends, reports Xinhua news agency.

Bailey, who helped set up a Covid-19 support group for students, said the petition was started to help students gain a safety net as well as extended deadlines and more mental health support.

"Over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, we as students have constantly felt that our situation is untenable. Coping with the stresses of university work during a pandemic has not been easy and we feel that the support offered to us by the university has not been proportionate to this struggle," she said.

"The number of students suffering with mental health issues is on the rise at a staggering rate, which is exacerbated by the drastic increase in workload and the uncertainty surrounding online learning," she said, noting that mental health support to students has been insufficient.

Many students are spending at least eight hours a day staring at a computer screen with limited social interactions, Bailey added.

England is currently under a new national lockdown, the third of its kind since the pandemic began early last year, as the country is struggling to curb rising coronavirus infections.

The return of more students to universities from Christmas holidays has been pushed back to "at least mid-February" under England's new lockdown.

The UK's largest higher education union, the University and College Union, has called for teaching to stay online for the whole of this term.

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