In the email, the University reaffirmed government advice it featured in a previous message detailing the ‘student travel window’ for all UK students to travel home before Christmas. The guidelines allow student travel between Thursday 3 and Wednesday 9 December, with all teaching to move online for the rest of the academic term.
It was also announced that all students in University-owned accommodation who plan to leave during the ‘student travel window’ will be eligible to receive a refund of their final two weeks’ rent.
Students who pay rent in instalments will receive a credit of 14 nights which will remain in their accounts and will then be deducted from future payments. Those who have already paid for the full academic year will receive a refund to their accounts.
The Academic Registrar restated plans to set up an on-campus Rapid Testing Centre, allowing asymptomatic students to take a coronavirus test and receive the results before travelling home. Providing students test negative, they are then advised to leave Newcastle as soon as possible if they wish to go home for Christmas.
The email continues that if students remain in Newcastle after the travel period and then contract COVID-19, they will still need to isolate for up to 14 days before travelling home.
Students planning to travel internationally may require an alternative Polymerise Chain Reaction (PCR) test and are advised to check the travel requirements of the destination country.
For those who plan to stay after 9 December, the campus will remain open until the original end of term date of 18 December. Facilities on campus that will remain open include libraries, study spaces, Wellbeing and Careers Services, the Students’ Union, sports facilities and catering outlets.
The University also asks for students to try to avoid travelling on days when they have synchronous online teaching, though acknowledges that this might be “unavoidable”.
With respect to returning to campus in January, the University is still waiting for government guidance but aims to “plan for large-scale regular testing when students return”.
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