CUSP: Priority Is To Bring Students Home
CUSP has issued a statement voicing concerns over students' wellbeing whilst studying abroad.
A statement from CUSP follows below:
CUSP has previously called on the Department of Education to allow students to be able to return to their families in Gibraltar with no penalty given the unprecedented times.
We note the recent announcement by the Chief Minister that returning students need to be tested for Covid-19 and also need to self-isolate for five days after returning.
We continue to be of the view that testing should be targeted, and that at-risk people should be tested. We understand the view that students are coming from universities that are perceived as “hotbeds of infection”. We have previously asked the for the Department of Education to contact the universities where Gibraltarians are studying to find out the extent of restrictions and how much teaching is on-line. We encourage the Department to establish which universities are the worst hit, and to tailor testing accordingly.
If this is not possible, we do consider that all people entering Gibraltar via air should be tested in the same way as students. People will be travelling from potential hotspots - we note that flights to and from Manchester, a tier 3 city, are still being advertised - and will be at least as risky as our students. Plus, our students will be in the same closed environment as other passengers as they fly home. Why test only the students?
We hope and pray that our students will make it home for Christmas and be able to spend time with their families. Obviously, the priority should be to bring our students home. After this stressful term, they will need time with their families.
In these times nothing is certain, and we urge the Department of Education to start thinking now about what they can do to support students if they are unable to return home. (This could be from a lack of flights, from requirements to quarantine, from, God forbid, the UK government removing Gibraltar from their air corridor).
If a student is unable to return home, we would like the Department to support them in finding accommodation (if they don’t already have some). This support should include financial support.
We also recommend that the Department considers how Gibraltarian students could be supported over the Christmas period by the Gibraltar diaspora in the UK.