Universities’ Minister Michelle Donelan has confirmed that students who are living in university accommodation over the vacation may return home for Christmas, even if their home is under Tier 4 restrictions.

Students will be able to travel home once between December 3rd and February 7th. They will be considered a part of whichever household they will be joining. This applies across all tiers in England. Students are advised to take a COVID test before travelling.

Students who live outside the United Kingdom are advised to check restrictions in their destination country. More than 40 countries have banned travel from the UK after the discovery of a new strain of COVID-19 which might spread more easily.

Ms Donelan said she wanted to “give clarity and comfort to those who are yet to travel, including students on clinical placements or with jobs in their university town.”

Students will be exempt from the travel restrictions imposed across areas under Tier 4 restrictions from December 20th. The government says that people living under Tier 4 “must not leave [their] home unless [they] have a reasonable excuse”. “Reasonable” excuses include travelling to work where working from home isn’t possible, accessing education, essential shopping, and caring duties including caring for people in a support bubble and animals.

The government recommended that universities follow their guidance on reopening in order to prevent COVID-19 from spreading when students return. At Oxford University, colleges have published their own guidance about when students should return, taking into account when in-person teaching for their course resumes. Students will be able to take two lateral flow tests when they return.

Universities in Tier 4 areas will reopen for in-person teaching in the new year. Students in all tiers “should not move back and forward” between their home and university during term.

Image Credit: nicprinsloo/Pixabay


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