Students yet to travel home exempt from English Tier 4 travel ban

Students can travel home once between 3 December and 7 February, says minister

December 21, 2020
Michelle Donelan

Students in England will still be able to travel home for Christmas, even if they are leaving or heading to a Tier 4 area, the universities minister says.

Stricter coronavirus restrictions introduced on 20 December in response to the emergence of a new, faster-spreading variant of Covid-19, largely bar people from leaving a Tier 4 area, or from entering it from an area in Tiers 1, 2 or 3.

However, this does not apply to students who are yet to travel home, Michelle Donelan says in a letter to students.

While most students will have already gone home, Ms Donelan says that she wants to “give clarity and comfort to those who are yet to travel, including students on clinical placements or with jobs in their university town”.

“This government made a commitment that students could return home for Christmas and we are keeping it,” Ms Donelan says. “To be clear, any student can travel home once during the period 3 December 2020 [to] 7 February 2021.

“As previously stated, students will form part of the household they return to and will not count as a separate household. This remains the case for those who may be preparing to travel from or to a Tier 4 area.”

Students planning to travel abroad should check whether their destination country has introduced restrictions on entry from the UK following the emergence of the new variant, Ms Donelan adds.

Most students were expected to have travelled home during a “travel window” between 3 and 9 December, with all teaching having moved online by the end of this period. Departures were staggered and many students were offered coronavirus tests before departure.

In her letter, Ms Donelan says that students yet to travel should take a Covid-19 test locally before travelling if available.

Earlier this month, the Westminster government announced plans to stagger the return of students to campuses after Christmas over five weeks, with additional testing also planned.

chris.havergal@timeshighereducation.com

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