The latest guidance published by the UK government allows university students to travel home for Christmas once the national restrictions end on December 2.
According to a press release issued by the UK government, starting from December 3 to December 9, a period which will be known as the “student travel window”, students will be able to travel home on departure dates which are set by universities, in order to reduce any transmission risk, Erudera College News reports.
“The student travel window will mean students can travel having just completed the four-week period of national restrictions, reducing the risk of transmission to family and friends at home”, the press release reads.
As of December 9, universities will have to switch to online learning, so students can continue their study courses while they are at home as well.
This week, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the government would work from close with universities in order to establish testing capacity, adding that many students will be tested before they travel home for Christmas. Students who test positive before leaving the country must quarantine for ten-days.
Whereas, Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said that they are committed to offering students the chance to visit their loved ones for holidays as safe as possible.
“It is vital they follow these measures to protect their families and communities, and for universities to make sure students have all the wellbeing support they need, especially those who stay on campus over the break,” she said.
In response to the government’s plan to ensure students can travel home for Christmas, a Universities UK (UUK) spokesperson said in a press release that given the uncertainty that students have been facing during the whole year, university students and staff members would appreciate the confirmation of government’ end-term plans.
“With universities being asked to end in-person learning by December 9, some students will now miss out on timetabled placements, practical classes and other in-person teaching near the end of the term. Universities will need to work with students and the government to manage the challenges this creates.”
According to the spokesperson, the government should pay attention to working with the sector over the plans and ensure students that they will safely continue studies in person in January.
The UK government has allocated £9 million to mental health charities in a bid to help them expand and assist those people in need, as well as has worked closely with the Office for Students to offer £3 million to fund Student Space, a new mental health support platform.