University students will be able to return home during a 'student travel window' from 3 December to 9 December. These dates ensure that if a student tests positive and has to isolate for a further 10 days, then they will still be able to get home before Christmas.
The scheme is reported to start on 30 November nationally, with Newcastle and Northumbria Universities moving all teaching online after this date.
Many students felt relieved knowing that they will be able to safely return to their families for the festivities. Northumbria students expressed disappointment after they were first told not to travel home for Christmas.
The day after the government announced further national lockdown restrictions, the Vice Chancellor of Northumbria University issued an email to students, announcing that they "must not move back and forward".
The email stated that this was merely in accordance with government guidance from the 31 October, but many students were frustrated with the decision, as they believed it would impact certain students' mental health and financial status.
Just days later, the guidance from the Department for Education changed, creating a way for students to return home after the national lockdown period, provided they undergo testing.
In a second email sent to Northumbria students, it was announced that both Universities would be working with local NHS services to test asymptomatic students, before their return to their hometowns.
However, the advice is far less clear for those students who are also considered key workers, such as those on medical placements. The guidance states that they are “expected to remain in their placements until the end of term”.
Northumbria and Newcastle Universities have been given guidance by the government on how to get these students back to their families for Christmas safely.
Students at Newcastle University are yet to receive any detailed information about the University’s exact plans, such as where, when or how the mass testing will take place.
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