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Coronavirus update: New guidance published for students who wish to return home


By David Porter

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Additional guidance has been published for those living in student households after new measures were announced last week to protect the population from the spread of coronavirus.

It indicates that students can visit their parents if there is a "reasonable excuse" such as a family emergency.

Students who wishto return home on a permanent basis can do so under existing rules which allow the formation of a new household.

The updated guidelines were issued after a raft of complaints from students who felt they were being trapped in university or college accommodation.

Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science Richard Lochhead has written to college and university principals and student accommodation provider networks to set out the new guidance.

It has been developed in consultation with the National Union of Students Scotland and Universities Scotland.

The guidance is intended to address questions from students and encourages them to remain on campus if they are able to do so.

It outlines what students can and cannot do and what they need to think about if they are considering a return home on a permanent basis.

This includes where students are isolating and require support to allow them to comply with the requirement to self-isolate.

Under the guidance, the household students are returning to are asked to also self-isolate and states that public transport should not be used.

Mr Lochhead said: “Our priority is to try and keep people safe from a virus that, even for young people, can do a lot of damage to physical health.

“We would encourage students to remain living in their current accommodation where they are able to, so they can continue to benefit from both a blend of digital and in-person learning, where that is possible and the opportunity to engage with others, within the restrictions, to build new networks and to make new friends.

“However, we know that many students may be struggling with the prospect of not being able to return home to visit family and other support networks, especially if is the first time in their life they have been away from home.

“Knowing what to consider in deciding whether to return home will help support wellbeing and enable students to make informed choices, but it is important to stress that adjusting to life away from home is always challenging.

“And, as the First Minister has made clear, we are strongly advising that students do not visit pubs and restaurants for the remainder of this weekend.

“I’d like to thank students for playing their role at this very difficult time when they are trying to benefit from further and higher education against a backdrop of a global pandemic.”

Read the Student Accommodation – guidance on visits homehere



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