Update: Winter break travel plans

Last week the Department for Education (DfE) issued guidance regarding students travelling home, or to an alternative address, for the holiday period in December.

If students would like to travel to another address from their term-time address for the holiday period, this travel is being encouraged during a period the UK Government has termed the ‘student travel window’, which runs from 3 to 9 December. By introducing the ‘student travel window’ directly after the national lockdown in England, it is hoped this will reduce the risk of transmission to family and friends at home. This is the Government’s intention.

Travel dates

The University is currently working on plans for a staggered departure in the period between 3 and 9 December, which will enable all those who wish to move to an alternative address for the winter break the opportunity to do so as safely as possible.

By staggering departures, we hope this will help manage demand for asymptomatic testing and reduce pressure on traffic and transport services in and out of the city.

Working closely with schools and departments we have developed a schedule of suggested departure dates.

Where possible, we ask that you aim to travel on the suggested date.

When travelling, we advise that students follow the UK’s safer travel guidance including avoiding using public transport where possible, wearing a face covering and socially distancing at all times. If you must use public transport, please make sure to check local transport services prior to travel for up to date information.

Tell us your travel plans

To help us manage this process, we are asking you to complete a short form to let us know your travel intentions. Please complete the form as soon as you can as we will be reviewing responses to plan testing capacity and support over the holiday period from Monday, 23 November. You can complete the form here.

It is important you complete the form whether you are intending to travel elsewhere in the UK, travel internationally, wish to remain on campus, or have already returned home. If you are a commuter student (i.e. you currently live at your permanent address) there is no need to complete this form.

Remaining on campus

Anybody who wishes to remain on campus or in the city for the holiday period, or part of it, is more than welcome to do so.

Our services and facilities will remain open where they are allowed to within Government restrictions, including the libraries.

If you intend to remain in Liverpool please make sure you complete the travel intentions form as this will help us to provide you with support over the winter break. If you record your intention to remain at your term-time address, you will be contacted shortly with further information about the activities and support available in Liverpool over the holiday period.

COVID-19 testing before travel

 If you wish to travel to another address for the winter break, we recommend that you take a COVID-19 test before travelling. If you intend to travel before the designated travel window, we’d encourage you to make use of the Mass Testing Pilot which is currently running in the city. These are fast-result tests and are free to access on a walk-in basis at 35 centres around the city, including the Sports & Fitness Centre on campus.

From 1 December we are planning to set up an asymptomatic testing centre on campus to assist with testing within the ‘travel window’. We recommend you should get two tests in the seven days before you travel with your second test no more than 24 hours before you travel. Please try to travel within 24 hours of a negative test result. There will also be limited testing capacity available until 18 December for those who are unable to travel in the ‘travel window’.

More information will be sent to you about this when details are finalised, so please keep checking your email.

Returning to campus

Similar to the departures process, we will be recommending students return to campus on a phased arrivals basis over a five-week period, running from 4 January to 8 February.

Students who have continued to receive face-to-face teaching this semester should also expect to have face-to-face teaching during weeks 11 and 12 of semester 1 in January 2021, and therefore should return to campus in time for their first timetabled session. Schools are currently reviewing their planned activities, so please keep checking your timetable for the date of your first session.

Students who have not been receiving face to face teaching during semester one will not be required to return until the start of semester two on 8 February 2021, although you can of course return earlier if you wish to. If you will be returning from overseas then please bear in mind that we plan to resume hybrid learning at the start of semester two, and you will be expected to have returned to campus in time to adhere to any travel quarantine requirements before teaching begins.

Postgraduate taught students who are starting their programmes in January 2021 should aim to arrive as originally planned.

You can view the full list of arrival dates here.