Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told MPs in the House of Commons on Tuesday that university students will be allowed to return home for Christmas.
He said that some students may be forced to self-isolate at the end of term if they test positive or have been in contact with a person who has coronavirus.
Williamson 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. 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.”
Williamson does not believe students should face stricter measures than anyone else in society.
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.”
The Education Secretary praised students and universities for following the government’s guidance.
He said, “We’ve now seen the new intake of first-year students who are beginning a new chapter in their lives at university together with those who are returning to carry on their studies.
“I know this will not be the start that any of them would have wanted and expected, and I’d just like to say that I am pleased to see both universities and students have followed the guidance in a responsible way, putting themselves, their friends and the local community in a safe place and out of harm’s way.”