A support group for students and parents have criticised the Government’s “lack of action and planning” for students coming home at Christmas.
The comments, from the Student Loan Support Group, come as students still await further details of travel and isolation arrangements, despite there being less than a week to go until the UK’s student 'travel window' opens.
The Government announced on Tuesday that it would be renewing its contract with Blue Islands for lifeline flights to and from Southampton, with the route running from Monday 30 November at a flat rate of £99 a flight.
The flights will run daily Monday to Friday, with two rotations on a Monday and Friday (Jersey to Southampton, returning to Jersey, morning and evening), and a mid-afternoon rotation on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Pictured: Blue Islands will be running flights from 30 November.
However, no details have been given as to how students studying in other parts of the country will be supported if they need to get to Southampton for lifeline flights.
“After the UK announced the tier restrictions today there could of course be more cancellations,” the support group explained, emphasising that “certainty is required.”
They added that whilst commercial flights are currently available for northern regions like Glasgow, Edinburgh and Liverpool, the new UK tier restrictions could potentially increase the chances of those flights being cancelled, and those students having to rely on lifeline flights.
Assistant Education Minister Deputy Jeremy Maçon had previously told Express that "we anticipate that we’ll probably put on a route to somewhere in the north, midlands and possibly the south-west as well," but noted he wanted to consult the two surveys that had been sent out to students before deciding on locations. The results of these surveys have yet to be released.
No information has been given either on how to book into the previously touted accommodation for students who cannot isolate at home. Two weeks ago, Deputy Maçon said the Government had been looking at accommodation above Liberation Station.
However, the current advice on the Government website still only says the Government is “arranging” the accommodation, with no indication of how to book or secure it.
Pictured: Assistant Education Minister Deputy Maçon said that he was awaiting survey results before deciding where other lifeline flights would be.
The group also highlighted that advice and provisions for return flights to the UK in January had not been given, stating they had been given reports that January flights had started being cancelled.
A spokesperson for the Student Loan Support Group said: “You get the feeling with our government, out of sight is out of mind.
They added it was a “great pity, as we had thought that they valued our students and the skills they can offer the island. That they wanted to encourage them back.
“The way they are treating them at this difficult time is not the message they are giving out, through their lack of action and planning.”
The Government has told Express that a statement on student travel is expected today.
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