Oxford University has provided further guidance to students, after new government legislation provided a travel exemption for students “for the purposes of vacation”.

Previously, students who returned to Oxford for Hilary term were advised they would need to remain in University accommodation over the Easter vacation unless they had a legal exemption from travel restrictions. The new legislation allows students to travel “back and forth between their university accommodation and their home address” once.

In an email sent to students, the University said that the decision to leave their term time address is one for “students to take based on their individual circumstances”. However, the Government still advises that students remain in their term time accommodation “where possible”.

International students will be able to travel home and return for the beginning for Trinity term. However, because the UK Government is advising against travel to countries outside the UK, the University is advising international students to not to leave the country for the vacation.

Students are advised to follow the Government’s “safer travel guidance” if they do decide to travel home. They are also advised to take a lateral-flow test, which will be provided by colleges, on the day before or the day they depart. If the test comes back positive, students will need to take a confirmatory PCR test and self isolate until they receive their results. Students who test positive for COVID-19 from a PCR test will have to isolate in Oxford for ten days.

The Student Union responded to the University’s update, saying: “We are pleased to see the University has provided an update on Easter Vacation plans. We encourage you to read the update carefully and to make use of the LFD testing available. We would like to thank the collegiate University for their prompt response on this issue following the updated government guidance on Monday (8/3/21). We remain committed to working with University staff and student leaders to secure the best possible experience for students.

“We welcome the government’s exemption which has added for students during the Easter vacation following national lobbying from students and student unions across the country. However, it is disappointing that yet again students remain an afterthought for this government and we stand in solidarity with you at what continues to be a challenging time.”

The Sabbatical Officers also encouraged students to contact them for further advice, and to apply for financial assistance if needed.

Further information on the University’s COVID-19 guidance can be found here.

Image: Darya Tayfana via unsplash.com.