With the festive season coming up, many of us are looking forward to the joys of heading home for the holidays – mum’s famous Christmas cooking is just what we need after a long, tough year! Of course, travelling home in 2020 will be a little different. Here’s how it will work and how you can keep yourself (and others) safe.
A large number of UK uni students choose to study away from their home towns, and the country also attracts international students from countries across the globe. A 2019 study showed more than 485,000 international students pursuing their degrees in the UK. Because of the potential for COVID-19 transmission, the UK Government has put some safety restrictions and regulations in place to help manage the risks of local and international travel these holidays.
The ‘Travel Window’ for UK Students
National lockdown restrictions lifted on 2 December, and the Department for Education (DfE) has instructed unis to stop in-person classes and switch to online teaching from the 3rd to 9 December. This window allows students to travel home immediately after completing a four-week lockdown period, reducing the risk of contracting the virus and infecting their loved ones at home.
Universities and other institutions around the country are working to stagger travel dates, to avoid putting too much strain on the transport systems.
Of course, students who have tested positive for COVID-19 or been notified by the NHS test and trace system should not be travelling during this time. If you test positive, you’ll be legally required to isolate yourself in your student accommodation for at least 10 days. If you start experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please stay at your accommodation instead of travelling, and arrange to get a test.
The Fresh Residents’ Teams are on hand to give you extra support if you become unwell or have to self-isolate. Get in touch, and we’ll help to make an uncomfortable or inconvenient time as easy as possible. We also have loads going on with our ‘Be’ wellbeing programme!
Stay Safe During Holiday Travels
If you’re lucky enough to be heading home for some family festivities, here are a few tips to help keep you safe.
- Keep a distance of 2 metres between you and other travellers wherever possible.
- Wear a cloth face mask, fully covering your nose and mouth.
- Avoid or limit touching frequently touched surfaces like elevator buttons, handrails or light switches.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Wash your hands regularly using soap and water, for at least 20 seconds at a time.
- Carry hand sanitiser with you – preferably a formula containing at least 60% alcohol. Sanitise your hands thoroughly if soap and water aren’t available.
At Fresh, we’ve taken numerous measures to make sure our buildings provide a safe, sterile environment for students around the UK. You can find out more about our ‘Covid-Promise’ and our various safety measures here.