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Government Confirms Students Will Be Allowed Home For Christmas After Lockdown

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Government Confirms Students Will Be Allowed Home For Christmas After Lockdown

The UK government has announced that English students currently stuck in lockdown at their universities will be able to return home in time for Christmas during 'student travel windows' taking place a few days after the restrictions end.

The new government guidance, published today, states that students must observe the four-week restriction periods at their term-time addresses, but will then be able to head for their family homes between 3-9 December.

The departure times will be staggered by their universities, who will be working alongside other educational institutions in the region to make sure that the pressure on transport infrastructure isn't compromised.

The decision to make students wait out the four-week period also lowers the risk of transmission to friends and family, the government claims.

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Students have been confined to their halls during the second lockdown. Credit: PA
Students have been confined to their halls during the second lockdown. Credit: PA

Last week, the Prime Minister also announced that Government is working closely with universities to establish mass testing capacity, and will be offering tests to as many students as possible before they make the journey home for the holidays.

Universities in areas of high risk will be prioritised to reduce the risk of transmission, and provide assurance that the students are virus-free when they travel.

If a student tests positive before their departure, they will be required to stay and complete the standard 10-day isolation period.

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Universities will move all learning online by 9 December to ensure that students returning a positive test can complete their isolation and return home in time for Christmas.

The Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan, said: "We know this Christmas will feel different, and following this incredibly difficult year we are delivering on our commitment to get students back to their loved ones as safely as possible for the holidays. 

"We have worked really hard to find a way to do this for students, while limiting the risk of transmission. Now 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."

The student travel windows will attempt to ease pressure on travel infrastructure. Credit: PA
The student travel windows will attempt to ease pressure on travel infrastructure. Credit: PA
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The government is also working with the other authorities around the UK to ensure that all students can return home to where their families live.

English students wishing to return home from Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland have been advised that they should follow the guidance of the local government when doing so.

Upon returning to England, they should follow the restrictions in place for their home area, and those who have not completed the four-week period of national restrictions should reduce their contact either before or after returning home in order to reduce transmission.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Christmas, UK News, travel, University, Education, Politics

Tom Wood
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