The Department of Education has today provided additional guidance to students studying in England in light of the new National Restrictions which come into effect in England from 5th November 2020. These new restrictions may have an impact on our students and the email today is intended to provide students with guidance on the new National Restrictions and the recent local strategies and how they impact them. Different arrangements may apply to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The New National Restrictions must be adhered to whilst students are in the relevant area. The guidance document provided by the UK government provides specific guidance for students with respect to travel which reads as follows:
If you live at university, you must not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time. You should only return home at the end of term for Christmas. We will publish further guidance on the end of term.
The Department of Education does not advise students to return to Gibraltar unless their University has advised students to return home.
If students are returning to Gibraltar they are advised to keep abreast of travel information when booking flights around key university dates which require in-person attendance. Current and up-to date information on flights to and from Gibraltar can be found on https://www.gibraltarairport.gi.
When returning to Gibraltar students are required to call (+350) 200 41818, 4 days before the day of travel, or earlier if possible, and provide details of their travel arrangements.
Students will be provided a booking for a COVID-19 test and will be required to self-isolate until they are advised that self-isolation is no longer required. More information on this, and other matters can be found here: http://covid.gi/
If students are diagnosed with COVID-19 whilst in University they will need to follow NHS guidelines. Additionally, they are advised to submit mitigating circumstances forms to their University prior to sitting any examination or handing in any assignment which may have been disrupted by their illness.
If students are diagnosed with COVID-19 whilst in Gibraltar they will need to follow GHA advice. The GHA is operating a helpline which can be accessed by dialing 111. Students should make contact with their University and keep them informed of their absence. Once again they should submit any mitigating circumstances forms to their University prior to sitting any examination or handing in any assignment which may be disrupted by their illness.
The Gibraltar House in London is providing additional support and can be contacted by UK students seeking further guidance. Students are advised not to visit Gibraltar House in person as the office is closed and the Gibraltar House London team is now working remotely in accordance with the New National Restrictions operating in England. Students should not attempt to visit the office in the Strand in person. The main telephone line for student enquiries operating between 10:00 and 16:00 UK time is 0203 286 6752 if that is engaged 0208 133 2381. Students will be asked to provide their name, telephone contact and email in order for the team to get back to them.
In addition students can contact the Department of Education on email@example.com
The Department of Education urges all students to be careful and asks every individual to keep on doing their bit to help minimise the spread of the virus.
Students with queries should contact the Department of Education on firstname.lastname@example.org if they continue to have unresolved issues after having contacted their university or local council. As always, we strongly suggest that students’ first port of call for any specific queries linked to their course or to COVID-19 restrictions pertaining to the region they are living in when abroad should be the staff at their university or to their local council. Individuals in the relevant institution and/or council will have access to accurate and very up-to-date information relevant to the individual’s situation.
The Department of Education has also reminded students that their preference is always to speak directly to students themselves, rather than to parents/guardians or other third parties. Whilst the Department of Education will of course try its best to respond to all queries and concerns, GDPR considerations permit staff to speak to students in much greater detail than they would with any third parties. Students will also be better placed to answer any specific queries that Department of Education staff might ask as they endeavour to help students resolve any issues.
Minister for Education, the Hon John Cortes said, “As always we will be here to offer advice and support whenever this is needed. Our students will of course need to keep abreast of all developments in their regions and institutions, but will be able to reach out in cases of particular concern. Gibraltar House in London will serve as a point of contact and I am grateful to Dominique Searle for making the staff there available to assist. These may be stressful times for some but we will be able to cope and deal with this with our usual Gibraltarian resilience”.