17 March 2020
A statement from the Minister for Education, Senator Tracey Vallois
“Following new advice from the Deputy Medical Officer of Health, I am pleased to confirm that any Jersey students studying at higher education provision off-Island, along with school pupils who are at boarding schools off-Island, will be treated as essential travellers, if they wish to return home to Jersey due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have approximately 1,500 students in higher education overseas and are committed to helping all of our 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.”
Frequently asked questions
1. 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.
2. 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 should self-isolate until they are at least 48 hours clear of symptoms and for a minimum of seven days. 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.
3. 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).
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is providing the latest travel guidance and Public Health are also regularly updating the list of locations that may require self-isolation when students return to the Island, even if you don’t have symptoms.
The helpline will be available to take calls from students or parents.
Up-to-date information for Jersey is available online.