With new lockdown measures imposed across the globe, the Department for Education in the UK is urging international students, who had earlier scheduled to travel to the UK this month, to delay their plans. While Universities and schools were prepared to welcome students to the campuses this Spring Term, the new measures have led to a halt in the in-person teaching model.
As per the current advice from the Government, students should refrain from travelling to the UK unless their course requires them to be on campus from Jan 4th onwards. Students who are unable to rearrange their travel plans can also travel to the country
In a statement from the Department, while the students are encouraged to refrain themselves from travelling at this point in time, the Higher Education providers are also requested to provide more flexibility to international students, who need to travel to the UK from other countries.
The Department also acknowledged that a few students have overstayed their term-time accommodation during the winter break, or returned to campus when they were not expected to return until February, for in-person learning.
However, the Department has guided the students to remain at their present university accommodation. These students must, however, make use of the campus facilities on when required to ensure minimal footfall on campus. The University must still offer testing facilities as is offered to the “first expected returners”.
With the new COVID strain, many countries imposed stricter border controls, with some, like India completely banning flights from the UK for a few days. This immediate travel bans and stricter border controls meant that students either remain stuck abroad or in their home countries and remain unable to continue with their daily life.
The fewer flights and fewer travel opportunities, many international students and travellers have suffered tragic consequences as well. The travel bans and further lockdown measures have resulted in poor mental health conditions for many students.
Educators across the country are now working towards taking care of the international students who are stuck and are unable to travel back to their families. Stephanie Harris from UUKi has advised the international students to reach out to the university authorities and seek help for any issues and challenges that they are facing. The University will only be able to help if the students reach out to them.