Off-island Jersey students in higher education and at boarding schools will be treated as essential travellers, allowing them to return here if they wish amid the coronavirus pandemic.
It follows new advice from the Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Ivan Muscat. The current advice for travel is to only do so if essential.
Around 1500 people from Jersey are studying overseas.
In a statement, Education Minister Senator Tracey Vallois says the department is committed to helping all of its 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."
The Education Department has answered a host of frequently answered questions relating to travel for students:
Q - 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.
Q - 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 need to self-isolate until there are asymptomatic. 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.
Q - 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).
Q - 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.
Q - 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.
Q - 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.
If you think you might have the virus, you should self-isolate and call the Health Department's coronavirus helpline:
It's open every day between 8am and 8pm. Calls outside these times, or when the line is engaged, won't be answered straight away - but we're told to leave a message and Health officials will call you back.
Please don't visit your GP or the Emergency Department at the General Hospital if you think you have the virus.
Coronavirus symptoms are similar to that of the flu - a combination of a cough, fever and aching muscles. If you've had any symptoms, even if you haven't travelled abroad, we're being told to self-isolate until they clear up (for a minimum of seven days).
Anyone who has come into contact with a person confirmed to have the coronavirus should stay in self-isolation for at least 14 days.
As of Saturday 28th March, entire households should self-isolate immediately if anyone within that home shows symptoms of coronavirus.
Jersey is in lockdown until 30 April to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
All islanders who are 'not performing essential services' are required to stay at home.
You should only leave home for up to two hours per day to shop for essentials, exercise or get medical treatment if needed. More information here.
On Thursday 26th March, Jersey's government issued stricter measures for over 65s and islanders with underlying health problems - saying they should only leave the house for up to 2 hours a day and only for very limited reasons. Those at severe risk from Covid-19 should adhere to strict self-isolation.
The Government of Jersey is now advising against all non-essential travel on or off the island and all passenger ferry sailings and most airline services have been suspended.
All travellers, including health care workers, arriving in Jersey from anywhere must now self-isolate for 14 days. This is regardless of whether they are displaying flu-like symptoms or not.
The only exceptions to this are non-healthcare, essential workers, if they are not displaying flu-like symptoms.
Guidance for travellers:
- solo travellers, who live alone, should immediately go into self-isolation
- a family or group travelling together should all immediately go into self-isolation
- where a solo traveller is returning to a shared or family home and is not showing any symptoms of infection, they should separate themselves from others in the home in accordance with self-isolation advice for 14 days. Family members should strictly follow social distancing advice
- where a solo traveller is returning to a shared or family home and is showing any symptoms of infection, they should separate themselves from others in the home in accordance with self-isolation advice (for a minimum of 14 days and until a 48 hour period of being symptom free). Household members who have had any contact with the symptomatic patient whilst symptomatic or in the 3 days before symptoms appeared should self isolate as well
During the self-isolation period of 14 days, anyone who develops flu-like symptoms should call the helpline on +44 (0) 1534 445566.
All the latest information can be found on Gov.je.