The government have posted their guidance on how university students will return to campuses in January of 2021 with a student travel window.

It is understood that there will be phased return of students in January to prevent a rise in coronavirus cases in the new year.

Here’s what we know so far:

The student travel window you fall into will depend on your course, with travel time allocated throughout a five-week window.

Students whose course is practical and requires the face to face teaching that many have missed out on this year will be the first to return. This is understood to be due to these courses needing access to more specialist equipment to carry out their studies.

If a student doesn’t have access at home to facilities and resources they need to carry out their studies, they will also fall into the cohort who are guided to return first.

Currently, it is not essential to take a Coronavirus test before returning to university, it is simply a recommendation.

It is also recommended that if you are leaving a Tier 3 area to return to university, you should take a Coronavirus test BEFORE travelling back.

The website advises that:

  • the return of students should be staggered over 5 weeks – this is to minimise transmission risks from the mass movement of students
  • practical and placement students returning first
  • all students should be offered testing on return to university
  • students who returned home over the winter break should not be encouraged to return to their term-time accommodation until their face-to-face teaching is scheduled to resume

To minimise the risk to themselves and others on their return to university, before travelling, students should:

  • act responsibly
  • follow local restriction tier guidance on social contact
  • use local community testing programmes and take a test before travelling if they have spent the winter break in a local restriction tier 3 very high area where this fits with locally-targeted programmes led by the Director of Public Health

From the 4th to the 18th of January, it is stated that Higher Education should allow students on practical courses, to return to campus during this window.

They will be assessing the courses based on requirements of the curriculum and according to the website, taking in these factors below:

  • work, clinical or practical placements
  • courses requiring practical teaching or learning
  • courses requiring access to specialist or technical equipment

Do you think a staggered return for university students will affect the rise or fall of Coronavirus cases? Let us know @PieRadioUk

All above information taken from the website.