“From the 3rd until the 9th [of December], in that window, we will create a student travel corridor in which they can go back home,” Michelle Donelan said.
“It has been a very difficult term for students. We made a commitment that they could be able to go home for Christmas in the safest way as possible for both their communities and their families,” she added.
Speaking to Sky News, the universities minister said that the current four-week national lockdown in England -- which is due to end on December 2 -- will ensure that “students pose a much reduced risk” to their families and communities.
“Universities will stagger that date to stagger the flow around the country and ease the pressure on public transport,” she added.
In an interview with LBC Radio on Wednesday, Donelan also confirmed that the government will be working with universities to “roll out rapid testing” for students, but cautioned that testing will not be guaranteed for all students.
“This plan is not relying on testing, this plan is relying on the period of national restrictions reducing the risk of infection and that window that we have created for them to go home, complemented with testing targeting the most at-risk universities and the most at-risk areas,” Donelan said.