UK Politics

Students must be allowed to return home to their families at Christmas, insists Labour


The government must promise university students they will be able to return home to their families for Christmas, Labour's shadow education secretary says.

Kate Green has written to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson calling for "urgent clarity and reassurance" on the matter.

It comes after 1,700 students at Manchester Metropolitan University were told to stay in their rooms for two weeks after 127 tested positive for the coronavirus.

Three students recorded video diaries about their first impressions of university

Across the UK, at least 32 universities have confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 510 caseshave been identified among students and staff since universities reopened, according to data collected by Sky News up to 25 September.

Government scientific adviser Sir Mark Walport has previously said that students may have to stay in halls when term ends to prevent them spreading the infection to older relatives.


But Ms Green said: "Leaving home to go to university should be a momentous and exciting step for young people and their families.

"Universities have done all they can to prepare for students' safe return, but the government has again let young people down.

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"It is unthinkable that students will be locked in their rooms and unable to return home to spend Christmas with their families. The government must promise that this will not happen, and work with universities to enable every student to access tests so that they can travel home safely.

"The government should also consider a delay to the start of term or a pause in migration for universities where term has not yet begun to allow improvements in testing capacity and remote learning provision.

"Gavin Williamson must urgently come to parliament and set out how he will resolve the critical situation in our universities that is causing such anxiety for families across the country."

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "The government is working closely with universities to ensure they are well prepareRead More – Source