By Epigram Reporters
University students have been told they will be allowed to return home for Christmas, though some may have to self-isolate at the end of term, the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced today.
Addressing the House of Commons, Mr Williamson said it was ‘essential’ that plans are put in place to make sure students can return to their families for the festive period.
Mr Williamson added: ‘We are going to work with universities to make sure that all students are supported to return home safely and spend Christmas with their loved ones if they choose to do so’.
‘Where there are specific circumstances that warrant it,’ he continued, ‘there may be a requirement for some students to self-isolate at the end of term and we will be working with the sector to ensure this is possible.’
Some in-person learning may be ended early to enable some students to self-isolate, he explained, ‘if that is deemed to be necessary’.
The announcement will be of relief to Bristol freshers, who have been arriving over the past two weeks to join their ‘living circles’ of 4-14 people that prohibits them from mixing with other students outside of their social bubble.
‘Stay safe, follow the rules and be respectful’ – Bristol Universities release joint message to students
One newly-arrived first year politics and philosophy student told Epigram the announcement was ‘great’, saying: ‘I was honestly scared – that was my main reaction to the whole debacle of that even being on the table’.
‘So I’m more relieved than anything. Why couldn’t we let kids go see their parents? I was getting worried I’d be stuck here in my dorm over Christmas.’
The announcement contravenes comments made by the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden on Sunday, who said university students being able to return home for Christmas would only be possible if ‘we all pull together’ and adhere to Covid-19 guidelines.
In an interview with Epigram yesterday, the Vice-Chancellor of Bristol University, Professor Hugh Brady, said the University would do ‘everything [it] can to enable students to return home’ for Christmas,
However, he added there may be some instances where international students ‘may not be able to’ return home depending on the situation around international travel, adding that for those affected the University would ‘support them and provide them with a reasonable experience here’.
Featured Image: Filiz Emily Gurer
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