International students will be permitted to return home over the Easter Vacation according to updated government guidance for higher education. Students will be permitted to make only one trip home over the holiday and return once in person teaching resumes, including a return journey involving overseas travel.
All students returning from overseas will have to quarantine for 10 days on arrival and book and pay for a £210 travel test package which will include a test at the start and end of the quarantine period. Students coming from a country on the ‘red list’ will have to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel which will cost £1,750. Furthermore, students coming from red list countries will not be eligible for the Test to Release scheme.
However, the guidance recommends people do not travel overseas and remain in term time accommodation if possible because travel restrictions are liable to change which could make it difficult to return to the UK.
In a newsletter sent to students, Martin Williams, the Pro-Vice Chancellor for education has echoed this saying “international students are advised not to travel home for the vacation.”
The SU Sabbatical Officers have welcomed today’s update from the University and urged students to take the lateral flow tests available saying: “We are pleased to see the University has provided an update on Easter Vacation plans. We encourage you to read the update carefully and to make use of the LFD testing available.”
“We would like to thank the collegiate University for their prompt response on this issue following the updated government guidance on Monday (8/3/21). We remain committed to working with University staff and student leaders to secure the best possible experience for students.”
Despite the Monday’s exemption they were critical of the government: “We welcome the government’s exemption which has [been] added for students during the Easter vacation following national lobbying from students and student unions across the country.”
“However, it is disappointing that yet again students remain an afterthought for this government and we stand in solidarity with you at what continues to be a challenging time.“
Students travelling home for Easter should get tested by their colleges before they leave and are advised to take two further tests on their return before the start of in person teaching.
The government will work with universities to test students twice upon their return and subsequently conduct tests twice weekly, this asymptomatic testing is not expected to begin until the start of Hilary
Students testing positive on a lateral flow test will be required to self isolate for 10 days and will not have to take a confirmatory PCR test.
The SU’s full response can be found here.
Image credit: Iona Shen