Overseas Jersey Students Deemed 'Essential Travellers'

Off-island Jersey students in higher education and at boarding schools will be treated as essential travellers, allowing them to return here if they wish amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It follows new advice from the Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Ivan Muscat. The current advice for travel is to only do so if essential.

Around 1500 people from Jersey are studying overseas.

In a statement, Education Minister Senator Tracey Vallois says the department is committed to helping all of its students, wherever they are studying.

"As we know, the situation is rapidly changing, and we have taken into account the changes in the UK and other countries, which is continuing to develop by the hour. We are facing unprecedented times, with tough decisions being made almost instantly, as we get the latest health advice.

"The decision to travel is ultimately up to the students, but we would ask them to carefully consider the current health advice and travel restrictions in the country where they are based. The current advice in Jersey should also be considered.

"Students should also obtain guidance from their individual university or place of study to establish if there might be any adverse consequences for their ongoing studies arising from leaving at this time.

"I would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding in this rapidly developing environment and thank all of the officers, across Government, who are working extremely hard behind the scenes to provide the most up-to-date advice.

"We understand that you are justifiably concerned about coronavirus. We are monitoring developments and advice relating to the outbreak closely, and we are ready to act quickly if we need to."

The Education Department has answered a host of frequently answered questions relating to travel for students:

Q - What advice will you be giving to students if this continues into the Easter holidays?

The choice of whether to stay in the or return to Jersey will, at the moment, be a personal choice and will depend upon:
* The number of cases at the university or place of study
* The number of cases in the surrounding areas to the university or place of study
* The number of cases in Jersey
* The facilities at the university or place of study for students to self-isolate if needed.

The Government of Jersey (GoJ) will keep students updated with the most current information from Health and other departments by social media. Skills Jersey can send relevant links to all students registered with Student Finance.

Q - What advice do you have for students who, due to illness and/or self- isolation, are unable to return home?

If students become ill or need to self-isolate while overseas, they need to self-isolate until there are asymptomatic. It is advisable to review the advice issued by the Government of Jersey which may be updated as circumstances change.

If this period is during term-time, rent will have already been paid for the student either by parents and/or Student Finance.

If this period of self-isolation goes into the summer holidays, when first-year students will need to vacate their halls of residence, the GoJ will need to look at paying additional rent. This will be only paid if the student cannot physically come back at that time.

For second-year students and beyond there will be an assumption that their rent will generally be based on a 12-month period and there will be no additional payments needed.

If any student chooses to stay in the UK (or elsewhere), this will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

Q - What if students choose to come back to Jersey early before the end of the year/term?

If a student chooses to come home early there will be no financial penalty in terms of repayment of the unused portion of the maintenance, as is required in legislation.

If students leave before the exams at the end of the year, they will need to clarify what the situation is, regarding sitting early or at a different time, with their individual university or place of study.

GoJ does not want students to feel trapped at their university or place of study at this worrying time or worrying about having to repay a portion of their grant.

These worries will be different depending on the individual. Therefore, students should contact Student Finance (01534 449450) or the coronavirus helpline (01534 445566).

Q - I’m coming home for Easter, and once term time resumes, I think I’m going to stay at home. What advice can you offer me?

It is your choice. However, you may have to organise to intermit, or suspend, your studies if you are away from your place of study for more than two weeks during term time.

Intermitting would mean deferring your studies, which could affect your graduation.

You should explore what this means with your university or place of study or higher education institution.

Please be warned that failing to return to university or place of study without an arranged period of intermitting could mean the termination of your studies at that institution, so it is very important that you explore, with your tutors, the option of intermitting and the consequences of ceasing studies before deciding.

Q - Will teaching, examinations and assessments be impacted?

Please follow the advice provided by your institution. Unless advised otherwise, assume all of your teaching, examinations and assessments will continue as planned. We are aware that in all higher education institutions contingency planning is taking place to consider alternative forms of teaching and assessment. You must contact your course tutor for further information.

Q - I have a question that has not been answered above. What should I do?

You can find further information on the Government of Jersey website, gov.je/coronavirus, UK Government website or the government website for the jurisdiction you are in.

Please consult with the higher education institution you are studying for matters related to your study, examination and precautionary measures they may be taking.


 Coronavirus Advice

If you think you might have the virus, you should self-isolate and call the Health Department's coronavirus helpline:

01534 445566

It's open every day between 8am and 8pm. Calls outside these times, or when the line is engaged, won't be answered straight away - but we're told to leave a message and Health officials will call you back.

Please don't visit your GP or the Emergency Department at the General Hospital if you think you have the virus.

Self-isolation

Coronavirus symptoms are similar to that of the flu - a combination of a cough, fever and aching muscles. If you've had any symptoms, even if you haven't travelled abroad, we're being told to self-isolate until they clear up (for a minimum of seven days).

Anyone who has come into contact with a person confirmed to have the coronavirus should stay in self-isolation for at least 14 days.

As of Saturday 28th March, entire households should self-isolate immediately if anyone within that home shows symptoms of coronavirus.

Lockdown restrictions

Jersey's government has announced a phased approach to easing the island's lockdown restrictions. See what's changing below:

Level 4: Lockdown

Calendar date Until Sunday 10th May

Physical Distancing: Keep a two metre distance with people outside your home.

Leaving home: You can go out for up to four hours a day - but only for essential shopping, medical care and outdoor activities.

Gatherings: Household + 2. You can spend time outside with your household and up to two other people. Larger groups and going into others' homes are still not allowed.

Education: All schools and colleges remain closed.

Travel: On-island travel allowed, passenger ferries cancelled and flights only running to Southampton for medical/compassionate reasons or essential work.

Hospitality: Restaurants, bars, pubs and hotels have to stay closed.

Leisure: 'Non-essential' venues have to stay closed.

Retail: 'Essential' shops can remain open as long as physical distancing is maintained. 'Non-essential' shops have to stay closed.

Businesses: 'Essential' work is allowed, but employees should be working from home where possible. Up to two people can work and travel together, as long as physical distancing is maintained.

Level 3: Soft Lockdown

Calendar date Monday 11th May-Thursday 11th June

Physical Distancing: Keep a two metre distance with people outside your home.

Leaving home: Allowed out for up to six hours a day, but we're advised to stay at home as much as possible.

Gatherings: Household + 5. You can spend time outside with your household and up to five other people. Larger groups and going into others' homes are still not allowed.

Education: Schools gradually re-opening from Monday 8th June, starting with years 6, 10 and 12.

Travel: On-island travel allowed, passenger ferries cancelled and flights only running to Southampton for medical/compassionate reasons or essential work.

Hospitality: Restaurants, pubs and hotels that offer outside eating areas can re-open as long as diners can physically distance themselves. Bars and other drinks-only venues have to stay closed.

Leisure: Some outdoor 'non-essential' attractions can re-open, as long as physical distancing can be maintained.

Retail: 'Essential' shops can remain open as long as physical distancing is maintained. 'Non-essential' shops can begin to re-open as long as they adhere to physical distancing rules.

Businesses: Outdoor work can resume, as long as teams have fewer than five people. Businesses can allow some staff to return to offices in a staged way, but employees should be working from home where possible. Work requiring entry to private homes is now allowed under strict guidelines.

Level 2: Soft Opening

Calendar date From Friday 12th June

Physical Distancing: Keep a two metre distance with people outside your home.

Leaving home: Limits and restrictions on going out lifted, but we're advised to stay at home as much as possible.

Gatherings: Household + 20. You can spend time outside with your household and up to 20 other people. Larger groups and going into others' homes are still not allowed.

Education: Schools gradually re-opening from Monday 8th June, starting with years 6, 10 and 12.

Travel: On-island travel allowed. Flights and passenger ferries also allowed as soon as travel routes are re-instated by the operators.

Hospitality: Restaurants, pubs and hotels that offer outside eating areas can re-open as long as diners can physically distance themselves. Bars and other drinks-only venues have to stay closed.

Leisure: Libraries, community centres, youth clubs, places of worship, museums, cinemas, theatres and other attractions can re-open as long as physical distancing can be maintained.

Retail: All shops are allowed to open, as long as physical distancing is maintained.

Businesses: Businesses can allow some staff to return to offices in a staged way, but employees should be working from home where possible. Businesses with proof they are able to physically distance can re-open fully.

Level 1: Physical Distancing

Calendar date Dates TBC

Physical Distancing: Keep a one metre distance with people outside your home.

Leaving home: No restrictions on going out, but we need to keep one metre away from others at all times.

Gatherings: Household + 25. You can spend time outside with your household and up to 25 other people. Larger groups are still not allowed, but groups of up to 10 people are now allowed in private homes.

Education: Schools gradually re-opening from Monday 8th June, starting with years 6, 10 and 12.

Travel: All on and off-island travel is allowed, as soon as travel routes are re-instated by the operators.

Hospitality: All pubs, bars and restaurants are able to re-open, as long as physical distancing is maintained. Hotels, B&Bs and other accomodation can also re-open subject to guidelines.

Leisure: Libraries, community centres, youth clubs, places of worship, museums, cinemas, theatres and other attractions can re-open as long as physical distancing can be maintained.

Retail: All shops are allowed to open, as long as physical distancing is maintained.

Businesses: All staff are now able to return to their regular place of work, as long as physical distancing can be maintained.

During the self-isolation period of 14 days, anyone who develops flu-like symptoms should call the helpline on +44 (0) 1534 445566.

All the latest information can be found on Gov.je.

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