Welsh Government releases plans for students to return safely after Christmas
Students will have to take two tests and avoid mixing with others
The Welsh Government has announced that students will be invited to return back to university from January 11th, over a 4-week period, as well as phasing in-person teaching too. Students will be prioritised according to their chosen course but all students will be asked to take a lateral-flow test, which aims to specifically help asymptomatic students.
Whilst students wait for the test results, they have been asked to not meet socially for 3 days. Students will then be asked to take a 2nd test.
Whilst crucial in keeping the R rate down and saving lives, any student that does not wish to take a test will be asked to not mix for 14 days and to lay low.
NUS Wales President, Becky Ricketts, has said that “students now have the certainty they need to plan their return to campus in the new year.” Speaking of the tests, she stated “The continued use of lateral-flow asymptomatic tests will help safeguard students and university staff, and give local communities confidence that the return of students will be managed safely.”
Kirsty Williams, Education Minister, reassured students that the government were “putting these measures in place to ensure confidence in a return to learning in-person and minimise the risk of large numbers of students needing to self-isolate during the term.”
“The lateral-flow testing programme will also play a role in the safe resumption of learning on campus. A managed, phased return will help meet demand, so that all students can access two tests” . This means that it “will help break chains of transmission, as anyone unknowingly infectious can self-isolate and reduce the risk of passing the virus to others.”
Students need to know that “ensuring learners of all ages can continue to study has been a priority for the Welsh Government, despite the continuing challenges we still face.”
Although the Welsh Government have introduced this phase to benefit students, Kirsty Williams stresses that “students [should] continue to act responsibly to keep themselves, and others, safe.”