Ben Hayward November 12th
2020

University students who follow the government advice to return home for Christmas in early December during the proposed ‘travel window’ should get a rent rebate, sys the National Union of Students (NUS).

Universities in England have been told by the government to set staggered departure dates between December 3rd and 9th to allow  students to leave their term time address for the Christmas holidays.

This would follow a week of mass testing of students in England starting on November 30th, which would pave the way for those who test negative for Covid-19 to travel.

The official guidance form the Department for Education reads: “In order to ensure that students can be home at the end of the winter term but also reduce any transmission risk, the government is asking that students return home once the national restrictions have been lifted, in a ‘student travel window’ lasting from 3 to 9 December.”

Government guidance published earlier this week states: “"Anyone who remains at university after 9 December will run the risk of having to undertake a period of isolation of up to 14 days at university, if they contracted coronavirus (Covid-19) or were identified as a contact of someone who had, and would therefore be at risk of not being able to travel home for the end of term break,"

“We therefore ask higher education providers to help reiterate this message so that students can make an informed choice.”

Speaking to The Independent, NUS President, Larissa Kennedy said the organisation believes that students who follow the guidance should receive money off their term-time accommodation rent. 

She said: “We call for rent rebates for students who choose to leave university accommodation and study from home. 

“Now that it is clear students will be expected to leave term-time accommodation earlier than usual, we believe students who leave in the advised timeframe should receive rebates for the weeks they will not be in their accommodation.

One student at the University of Manchester, Barnaby Fournier, told The Independent he agreed with the NUS stance ‘because students are being told to go home before they were planning to, while others expressed concern over losing money from their jobs if they go home in early December. 

One student who wished to remain anonymous said she would have to give up shifts at work to go home during the ‘window’ adding that it felt like she was being forced to choose between ‘going home for Christmas and being with my family, or staying so I can work’.

Another student, Abbie Whiting from Sheffield Hallam said: “If we are being sent away from our jobs, then how can we be expected to find money?”

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