Today, we have published new guidance setting out how students scan travel home safely in a week-long ‘student travel window’ after national restrictions end on 2 December – delivering on our pledge to ensure students can be with their families at Christmas while limiting transmission of the virus.
We know this Christmas will feel different, and following this incredibly difficult year we are delivering on our commitment to get students back home as safely as possible for the holidays.
From 2 December to 9 December, which will be known as the ‘student travel window’, students will be allowed to travel home on staggered departure dates set by universities, with all learning for the rest of the term moved online. Tests will also be offered to as many students as possible before they travel, with universities in areas of high prevalence prioritised.
This will give students, who will have just completed the four-week period of national restriction, the confidence that they can travel safely will minimising the risk of passing the virus on to their loved ones.
As announced by the Prime Minister this week, the Government will also work closely with universities to establish mass testing capacity. Tests will be offered to as many students as possible before they travel home for Christmas, with universities in areas of high prevalence prioritised. This will provide further reassurance that where students test negative, they can return home safely and minimise the risk of passing coronavirus on to their loved ones.
If a student tests positive before their departure they will need to remain in self-isolation for the required period of ten days. Moving all learning online by 9 December gives enough time for students to complete the isolation period and return home for Christmas.
We are working with the other governments across the UK to ensure that all students, no matter where they live or study are treated fairly and can travel home as safely as possible to keep all our communities safe.
Universities have also been asked to provide additional help and practical support to students, particularly for students who remain on campus over Christmas, which can include care leavers, international students and students estranged from their families. Universities should ensure they are properly cared for and can access affordable food, medical and cleaning supplies if needed.
To view the full guidance published by the Government, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.