THE University of Chester has described the Government's plans to allow students to travel home for Christmas as a "significant logistical operation".

The institution is now awaiting more information from Whitehall although it did confirm that work was underway to ensure all "appropriate measures" are taken to safeguard students, staff and the public.

It was announced this week that students in England would be allocated staggered departure dates during a "travel window" between December 3-9 so they can return home after the four-week Covid-19 lockdown.

They will be encouraged to take an asymptomatic test at "targeted" universities in England, while teaching will move online by December 9 so students have enough time to self-isolate if needed.

In response to the Government's plans, the University and College Union (UCU) said they were "riddled with holes" and warned that the tight timescale for a mass movement of students "left little room for error".

Debora Green, the University of Chester's Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience, said: "Universities are complex organisations, and the Government’s plans to allow students to travel home for Christmas will be a significant logistical operation.

"We are now waiting for further information promised by the Government around this matter, and it is something that is currently being discussed in depth by a number of different departments at the institution, including our Students’ Union.

"The University is working towards ensuring all appropriate measures are taken to safeguard students, staff and the public in line with the definitive guidance from the Government and Public Health England."

The Department for Education (DfE) guidance says universities should not restart any social and extra-curricular activities when national restrictions end – and they should work with hospitality settings to discourage opportunities for students to "socialise extensively".

If a student in England tests positive for Covid-19 on or before December 9, they must self-isolate at university for a period of 10 days, according to the DfE.

Meanwhile, The Standard asked the University of Chester for another update on the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases at its campuses.

Last month, the institution confirmed that cases had now entered "double figures" although an exact figure was not disclosed.

Ms Green said today: "The number of confirmed cases at the University remains relatively low and has consistently been lower than the incidence in the general population."