While London and its surrounding areas have come under a Tier 3 (Very high alert) lockdown due to the anticipated surge in cases because of the upcoming Christmas festivities, there seems to be a gleam of hope for international students.
Higher education providers have been instructed to follow a ‘phased’ return of students to campuses in January of 2021. This will establish a 5-week travel window in which students on different courses will be instructed to travel and arrive in the UK according to specified slots.
Therefore, students on practical and other STEM courses, who will require the use of expensive and specialist equipment or any face-to-face teaching, will return to campuses In Phase 1, which begins in the week commencing from the 25th of January. Students on other courses can return to campuses in the week commencing from the 1st of February.
While higher education (HE) providers have not made it mandatory to get tested, it is recommended to do so. Most HE providers have been advised to initiate mass testing campaigns on campus, to ensure the safe arrival and stay of all students.
Students have also been advised to use private transport and to avoid interacting with people outside of their support bubble. This, and fines on not wearing masks in public, are certain measures that the government is taking to combat the spread of the virus. However, there has been another blow to the government’s plans, with a new strain of the coronavirus being identified in London, and hence the city has been shifted to Tier 4 (Stay at home) status.