Education Secretary Gavin Willamson has announced that university students will be permitted to return home for Christmas.
He made the confirmation in a speech to MPs in the House of Commons this afternoon.
In his speech, Mr Williamson confirmed that the government is going to work with universities to ensure students will be able to get home for Christmas.
He said: “I know there has been some anxiety about the impact safety measures will have on the Christmas holidays. Students are important members of the communities that they choose to study in [and] we expect them to follow the same guidance as those same local communities.
“We are going to work with universities to make sure that all students are supported to return home safely and spend Christmas with their loved ones if they choose to do so.”
Mr Williamson did however state that there “may be requirements for some students to self-isolate at the end of term”.
He added that this could include ending face-to-face learning early if needed.
He said: “It’s essential we put in place measures to ensure this can happen, while minimising the risk of transmission.
“Where there are specific circumstances that warrant it, there may be a requirement for some students to self-isolate at the end of term and we will be working with the sector to ensure this will be possible, including ending in-person learning if that is deemed to be necessary.
“My department will publish this guidance shortly so that every student will be able to spend Christmas with their family.”
He added: “Students as well as the wider community accept when we are living in a global pandemic we have to operate in a society with restrictions, but I do not believe that we should look to inflict stricter measures on students or expect higher standards of behaviour from them than we would from any other sector of society – there must be a parity.”
He also added that: “We believe universities are very well prepared to handle any outbreaks that arise.”
This is a Breaking News Story – More to follow.