We spoke to Bristol Uni students who say they are not going home in the travel window
‘I live in private rented accommodation, I can’t be forced to leave my house before I want to’
The government’s student travel window will be active between the 3rd and 9th of December, and all students have been told that they should go home between these dates, but they are not being forced.
Bristol has been plunged into a post-lockdown Tier 3 level of restriction and, even with pubs still shut, some students are still sticking around.
We spoke to some Bristol Uni students who have decided against going home during the travel window, and their reasons for staying in Bristol a bit longer.
‘We feel like we’ve missed out on so much of Bristol during the lockdown’
Classical studies student, Isaac White, told The Bristol Tab his whole house has opted to stay in Bristol past the travel window: “We as a house have decided not to go during the travel window because we feel like it’s too early to head home, and we feel like we’ve missed out on so much of Bristol during the lockdown.”
Nicola, a third year history student, has two key workers living at home, who she said are arguably “more at risk of contracting the virus than I am”.
She added: “I don’t know why there is this assumption that this window will fix everything, when some home environments aren’t as safe as they are at uni.”
‘I need access to libraries’
The travel window also falls within a heavy deadline season for most students. Daisy Macnutt, a final year geography student, said: “I have 6,000 words to write that are due in the last week of term, I need access to libraries in order to do that.”
Daisy, having already tested positive for Covid-19 in October, says she doesn’t think she will be bringing it home to her family.
She told The Bristol Tab: “I see the reasons, I can understand why they’re doing it, but it is based on the premise that students have been locking down and I think it’s only enforceable for freshers who live in university owned accommodation, but as I live in private rented accommodation, I can’t be forced to leave my house before I want to”.
‘I can’t be forced to leave my house before I want to’
Zanna Spencer, a fourth year French student, said she too needed access to the libraries in order to do her coursework. She also expressed her desire to spend some time enjoying the Christmas season in Bristol before returning home. She says her “parents feel comfortable”, and she will get a test before she leaves.
With so many students testing positive already this term, some students told us that they feel less worried about bringing the virus home to their families when they have already had it.
‘All of a sudden they want us out and we have to do everything online again’
When asked whether or not she was going home during the proposed window Olivia Morris, a second year politics and social policy undergrad, answered: “No I don’t feel guilty because I’m planning on getting tested before I leave and I’m not planning on going out once lockdown is over.
“It feels like they’ve [the university] have been so adamant about keeping everyone here and all of a sudden they want us out and we have to do everything online again.”
Dharma Carlin, a fourth year law and Spanish student, added “it feels way too early”, and “I’m paying for a flat and I shouldn’t have to leave it, plus my parents are happy so I am too”.
There are clearly multiple concerns from the student community, regarding issues such as wasted rent money, lack of a stable working environment provided by Bristol libraries and the real worry that their living situations are potentially more liable to having an incident involving the dreaded rona.
‘It just cuts so much time off of our first ever term here’
Another Bristol Uni first year English student, Indie Farnham, told The Bristol Tab: “Generally everyone was disappointed with the window because it just cuts so much time off of our first ever term here, which is such a shame.”
The answer to the question of whether or not these students knew any others observing regulations and going home in the window was also, unsurprisingly, no.
All students have access to two free Covid tests before the end of the travel window, as part of the government’s mass testing scheme.