With the end of lockdown looming, the government has announced its changes to the tier system, students have a much clearer idea of what they’ll be going home to this Christmas.
Having previously announced their plans for student travel arrangements this Christmas, the government has now confirmed the restrictions and tiers each region will face. While this has cleared up a lot of uncertainty around the holiday period, it has also confirmed some students’ fears that while lockdown may be officially ending on December 2nd (one day before the seven day student travel window opens; which ends on December 9), they won’t see many sweeping changes in how they can live their lives.
With much of the north of England in tier three, students going home to that region will be unable to mix households indoors, go to bars, pubs, restaurants and indoor entertainment venues, likely dampening many people’s hopes of a more ‘normal’ run up to Christmas, after the government’s confirmation that lockdown would end at the start of December.
As well as this, many students feel left out from the travel scheme, primarily those with part time jobs. Many students take part time or volunteer roles (which are as hard to get as ever due to the coronavirus) during their studies to help them financially or to advance their careers, however, it doesn’t seem like the government have taken this into account when allocating their travel days.
When asked about his travel arrangements over Christmas, Adrian, a third year policing student, said that he felt like the government was doing the bare minimum. ”I work part time at a super market during my studies, and to me it feels like they’ve put this system out there to look like they are doing something for the masses, when really a lot of students are still stuck. I have to work up until and after Christmas so am unable to go home during the window, and feel like I haven’t been given an alternative.”
Another worry for students is how they will manage their studies at home, with some going home to less than ideal living arrangements, and others on more practical courses needing access to university facilities and equipment.
Ruby is a photography student in her final year and is particularly worried about how she will cope with her winter assessments. ”I have multiple deadlines due after the travel window and since my course is so practical, I need access to the university’s facilities to do them to the best of my ability. I think the government need to consider students as people rather than numbers and statistics they need to manage”.