students christmas

Government reveals plans to allow for ‘safe’ student return home this Christmas

Plans outlining how students can return home “as safely as possible” for Christmas have been published by the Government.

In early December, students will have a week-long window in order to return home from their university accommodation.

As previously said by Michelle Donelan, the Universities Minister, thousands of students will be mass tested once the national lockdown ends.

Universities in high-risk areas will be prioritised for testing – it is not yet known whether Nottingham falls into this category.

There are concerns over how accessible tests will be for students, with Holly Madden unsure how easily students will be able to get tested.

The second-year University of Nottingham student told BBC News: “I’d say there is definitely an aspect of ‘will we all be able to get tested?’ – there is certainly some uncertainty.

“I think because tests were only announced in the past few days, I had already started to plan a Covid Christmas.

“I was already intending to return home with 14 days to self-isolate before Christmas just so that I can see people if it is legal.

“But I also like my housemates so if it was illegal [for me to return home], I would be more than happy to have a Christmas here.”

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Emma Hardy, Shadow Minister for Further Education and Universities, added: “It is something we have been calling on for a very long time.

“But does feel as though we are leaving it quite late to issue this guidance to universities, and some will have already started their plans.

“They talk about mass testing, but they are yet to stipulate which universities and students will be prioritised and tested first.

“There is also the general question over the mass movement of students in a short timeframe and whether our public transport network will be able to cope.”

Students who test negative will be given a window of seven days to travel home, between December 3 and December 9.

All face-to-face teaching will be suspended following December 9, with any remaining teaching to be provided online.

There have been no plans announced regarding the return of students after Christmas in January.

By Matt Lee

Lead Image: Matt Lee

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