A ‘travel window’ has been announced by the government to allow students to go home for Christmas between December 3-9. Universities have been told to set staggered departure dates to stop mass travel and reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
Institutions have been told by The Department for Education (DfE) to end in-person teaching and switch to online classes so that students can return between the set dates.
But many students across the UK are nervous about returning home due to the risk of spreading the virus. Some are choosing to stay at their university housing or accommodation over the holidays in an effort to reduce the risk of either contracting the virus or passing it on.
A student at the University of South Wales, Abigail Sanders said: “I’m certainly worried about going home. My friends and I don’t know what we should do at the moment. Staying is probably the most sensible option but I can’t imagine waking up on Christmas Day and not being at home.”
There are plans for a number of universities, likely in high risk areas, to start mass testing. Students will have the choice to receive a ‘rapid test’ result before they go home.
However, there are concerns that the testing won’t be able to reach everyone, and that they will give false negatives. Senior national education officer Ruth Levin, from the National Union of Students, said: “The whole testing process must be risk-assessed and properly supervised if it’s to be effective.”
The institutions who will have access to this testing are yet to be announced.