To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 restrictions on the ability of students to return home for the Easter break.
10 March 2021
The welfare of students, staff and the communities around higher education (HE) providers remain our top priority. To help providers make informed decisions about their provision, the government has issued guidance on the return of students in spring term, which is based on the latest public health advice. From 8 March, we have advised HE providers to resume in-person teaching for students on practical or practice-based (including creative arts) courses, in addition to courses in priority subjects which resumed in January.
Once students have returned to their term-time accommodation they must remain living there unless an exemption to the national restrictions on leaving home and gatherings applies. They must only travel home where they have a legally permitted reason to do so. If students rely on an exemption to travel home (for example if they need to move home temporarily because of illness or mental ill-health), they should ensure that they test as soon as possible on their return to university. In addition, students will be able to return home for their Easter break, if they choose to do so. However, in order to minimise transmission, we strongly advise that students remain in their term time accommodation where possible. Where students do travel home for their Easter break, they should get tested before they travel. Students are also encouraged to test before they travel back to university, where community testing facilities are available. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-testing-explainer/community-testing-programme-areas. If they test positive, they will be legally required to self-isolate for ten days and should not travel. All HE providers should set an expectation that students should test as soon as possible upon their return to/arrival at university, and twice weekly thereafter.
We know that many providers are planning to continue teaching and provide access to facilities over the Easter break. We encourage students to use this provision where it available.