Coming home for Christmas


Photo By: Charl Folscher/Unsplash

The time for university students to return home begins this week. With the government allowing a six-day period between 3rd-9th December for students to return to their homes, what do you need to know?


Travel during the student travel window. The whole country has been in a four-week lockdown, meaning the chance of transmission of Covid-19 from students to their home household is lower as they haven’t been seeing people. Use this to your advantage. You won’t have to self-isolate when you get home.


While it is not mandatory to travel during the window, you are allowed to travel after the 9th, but it is strongly recommended for helping prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Not all students will be picked up by their families to return home. But train companies have confirmed students will be allowed to travel on their services to return to their homes.


Greater Anglia, has announced that students who previously purchased tickets on/before the 11th November for on/after the 10th December they can change their journey to be in the six day period. Meaning students can prevent spending twice as much on train tickets home. If you are concerned about the ability to social distance, some train companies, have provided details on when their trains will usually be busy. Greater Anglia’s information is available here.


Along with providing the availability to students to change their train tickets and showing the business of the trains, many train lines have signed up to National Rail’s safer travel pledge.


Their four main points consist of:


1. Maximising space – social distancing signs, making extra room, and designing timetables to maximise services.

2. Boosting cleaning – cleaning trains and stations more frequently and using anti-viral cleaning products.

3. Helping with hygiene – Replenish soap in stations and trains more frequently, installing hand sanitiser points at stations and putting vending machines that sell face coverings and sanitiser.

4. Improving information – employing extra staff at stations and a new service that alerts you to crowding and disruption.


Get tested! While it’s not compulsory for students to get tested before they go home, it should be something you do. No one wants to put their family at risk this Christmas. By having the four-week lockdown before the six-day period, the risk of students transferring Covid-19 to their families is lower, but there is still a risk involved. No one wants to get Covid-19 this Christmas.


If you do test positive early, you still have time to self-isolate before Christmas, you will be able to travel home after the 9th of December (the end of the travel window). If you get tested later you might not be able to get home for Christmas, which no one wants!


Check with your university to see what they offer and require of their students before you travel home and we wish you a safe journey home and stay safe!

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