Education ministry says English universities should return to online teaching to allow students to return home between December 3 and 9 for the holiday season.
Universities will need to stagger student departure dates during this “travel window” and liaise with other neighboring institutions to ensure transportation is not overloaded.
This guide hopes to reduce the risk of COVID-19[feminine[feminine transmission as the students will return home after the lockdown.
The government has also pledged to help universities build mass testing capability and test as many students as possible before they return home.
Sky News spoke to university students from across the country about this new direction.
“These travel lanes are superficial and simply a publicity stunt”
Muraad Chaudhry is a third year international relations student at SOAS, University of London.
He welcomes the idea – but only in principle.
“The announcement of college travel lanes for many will provide a sense of certainty and the opportunity to see their families over Christmas time,” he told Sky News.
“However, in reality these corridors of travel are shallow and are just a publicity stunt that will make little or no difference in the spread of the virus in academia.
“This is due to the fact that students mingle in university residences, regardless of the online or in-person teaching methods used.
“In addition, the effectiveness of this program depends on a testing program.
Muraad added: “However, government ministers said that coronavirus tests will be offered to as many students as possible, not to all.
“It’s just not okay to politicize when we can go home”
James Taylor, student at the University of Gloucestershire, was not happy to be given a set period to return home.
“It is just not okay to politicize when we can go home, the government is not the one paying £ 9,250 a year,” he said.
“I live in a shared house and people think the same, we’re paying for something we can’t even control, what are we paying? ”
He also questioned the logic behind the plan, saying “everyone leaving at once is going to be chaos”.
He added that due to the “evacuation plans” he will find it difficult to return home within the time frame set by the government as it “ruined my travel plans as I live abroad.” Jersey« .
“It could have been much worse”
Jasmine Jones, a third-year natural science student, had planned to stay at the university beyond the travel window to complete her work.
She told Sky News: “It’s a little boring, but it doesn’t bother me too much. I’m going to do whatever I can to get home because I don’t want to be stuck here over Christmas.
“After Christmas, it’s something that scares me more, and not being able to come back. ”
She said her university had “overstepped the bounds” of government advice and people had been “sensible enough and managed quite well.”
She added: “I don’t think online teaching has interested me much, the social side is more difficult.
“I’m a pretty positive person so I see it as it could have been a lot worse. I could have been in quarantine, I could have caught coronavirus, but it’s okay. ”
What about other religious festivals?
Isha Purba, 20 years in international development with an economics student at the University of East Anglia, has “mixed” feelings about these new projects.
“Christmas is such a healthy time of year, so being able to come home and spend it with family will be great,” she told Sky News.
“However, my university does not finish its courses until December 18th. ”
She said, “While it doesn’t directly affect me as I have online classes, some of my friends who have to go to college, because of their classes, will miss the window to go home.
“It will mean that they will be away from their families and alone for Christmas, through no fault of their own. ”
She added: “I find it unfair that arrangements were made for Christmas, but none were made for Vaisakhi, Diwali or Eid.
“These celebrations are as much about family time as they are Christmas, but they have been overlooked.
“I appreciate the work that is being done to get the students home for the Christmas holidays, but nothing else is being done for us. ”
‘Everything has been very secret’
Katie D’Souza, international development student at the University of Sussex, believes that the needs of the students have been dismissed.
She said: “I have the impression that the government did not give us the right information at the right time.
“It has all been very secret and this announcement was made to the students without warning. ”
She said the shift to online education means “you’ll run out of content” in courses that were previously in-person.
“I don’t think they took into account the massive impact this has on the students, they dismissed it without thinking about it. ”
She said that while this is “in theory a good idea”, a “slightly longer travel window would be a little more reasonable because there are hundreds of thousands of university students who have to go home.”
She normally uses public transportation to get home, but “wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable going home on the appointed day with hundreds of other people.”
“Many ignore the guidelines completely or care little”
Fay Price is a second year geography student at Swansea University.
She supports the idea but fears that some students will return home, ignore the rules and mingle in several households.
Fay said: “I think this announcement is good news for students and their families at this point, especially those who have struggled with mental health during the pandemic.
“Sadly, my experience on campus has been that many ignore or care little about the guidelines, and this attitude is magnified on the student social scene. ”
She added: “As my family currently provides necessary care for vulnerable and elderly parents, it is worrying that a combination of this attitude and a short period of travel could put parents more at risk during the Christmas holidays. ”
‘It’s almost like we’re left in the dark’
Aiman Lokman is a 22 year old student studying Accounting and Financial Management at Loughborough University.
As an international student, he thinks he – and others like him – have been forgotten.
Aiman said: “I think there is still a major lack of support for international students like me.
“I can’t go home and my family to the UK either. I also do not have any family residing in the UK to visit. ”
He added: “It’s almost like we’re left in the dark and neglected, which is ironic that we pay almost double the fees in college but are unable to make it home. “