An online survey has been launched for the government to understand the travel plans of university students, with many expected to return to Jersey over Christmas.
The Covid border restrictions have become stricter with many regions across the UK, where most but not all Jersey higher-education students are based, seeing increasing Covid-19 rates.
That has led to stricter rules on return to the island, with most regions now requiring at least five days of isolation.
Assistant Education Minister Deputy Jeremy Macon has called on all young people studying off-island to give them as much information as possible to help understand the impact on travel links.
"The survey will enable the Gouvèrnément D’Jérri to better manage a potentially large influx of students over a relatively short period of time. It will also inform the departments of any potential issues with mandatory self-isolation for students and their families and allow better-informed consideration of any action that may be required.
"We are very aware that with the increase of Covid-19 cases overseas, students, their parents, and carers may feel anxious and wish to plan ahead regarding the travel arrangements during the festive period. We want to provide as much reassurance as we can, as soon as we can, but the ever-changing impact of Covid-19 will always make it difficult to make longer-term predictions for travel."
All university students returning to Jersey have to follow the safe travel guidance. The government announced last week that students from boarding schools and placements will be treated as if they are arriving from green regions, which requires isolation until a negative border test result arrives.
You can fill out the survey by clicking here.
Are you a student who will be returning to Jersey over the Christmas period?— Government of Jersey (@GovJersey) October 20, 2020
Complete our survey to enable Jersey to better manage a potentially large influx of students over a relatively short time period. pic.twitter.com/CEMXI3YEWq
The Assistant Minister, in a statement read to the States Assembly, also apologised to students and families for the delay in processing student finance grants.
Deputy Macon says it's been impacted by several factors, including staff shortages and the system being bespoke - meaning lockdown prevented access to the 'vital' IT system used to process them.
"Despite this, I am pleased to offer my thanks to the student finance team who have worked above and beyond throughout the pandemic and continue to do so. I am also pleased to advise members that the backlog is nearly cleared and the latest estimate to clear it is 15 working days."