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University students in England can return home over Easter – but are urged not to

Written by on 08/03/2021

University students in England can return to their family homes over the Easter break, government guidance says.

Updated Department for Education (DfE) guidance says international students will also be allowed to travel home during the holidays.

A travel exemption has been introduced so university students can travel home, and back to their term-time accommodation once, during the break.

But the guidance strongly advises students to remain in their term-time accommodation where possible in order “to minimise transmission”.

It recommends that students get tested for COVID-19 before they travel for Easter, and that they make use of community testing services before they return to campus.

In-person teaching has only been taking place for critical courses – including medicine, dentistry, teacher training, veterinary science and social work – since Boris Johnson announced the lockdown in January.

But from this week, university students on practical courses who require specialist equipment and facilities can attend face-to-face teaching.

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A student has an asymptomatic test using lateral flow antigen at a test centre at Edinburgh University ahead of being allowed to travel home for the Christmas holidays.
Image: Students are recommended to get tested for COVID before they travel

Regarding the upcoming holiday period, the new guidance says: “As for domestic students, international students are also allowed to return home once for their Easter break, which includes a journey involving overseas travel.

“However, in order to minimise transmission, and because travel restrictions could change whilst students are overseas, making it harder for students to get back into England, we would strongly advise students not to travel, and to remain in their term-time accommodation.”

For all remaining students, the government has said it will review options for students to return to face-to-face lessons by the end of the Easter holidays.

But an Office for National Statistics survey, published in January, found that 40% of the students who chose to leave campus for the Christmas break had already returned to their university accommodation.

Students who need additional mental health support, or who do not have access to appropriate study spaces or facilities in their vacation accommodation, are allowed to return to term-time accommodation.

The first step of the prime minister’s roadmap for England began today, with pupils returning to school.

 Sky News

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