To Wales or not to Wales: the dilemma faced by Welsh students at Bath

Welsh students at the University of Bath are facing a tough decision on whether or not to return home to Wales to avoid England’s lockdown. On 9th November, Wales’ 17-day ‘firebreak’ lockdown ended. This lockdown was put in place in October to ‘’turn back the tide’’ of rising cases and hospital admissions, according to First Minister Mark Drakeford

COVID-19 regulations in Wales now permit up to 15 people meeting indoors, non-essential businesses to reopen and no travel restrictions within Wales, all of which sound very appealing to Welsh students in England, given that England was put into a four-week long lockdown four days prior. While Wales’ lockdown rules do not permit travel to and from England, unless there is a ‘reasonable excuse’, some Welsh students are considering travelling home to avoid more time in quarantine, where they aren’t getting the full ‘university experience’.  

“Lectures are online, we don’t need to come into university, so student mental health could be a lot better if people choose to go home.”

Final year international student  

England’s lockdown rules state that students should remain at university over lockdown to avoid spreading the virus to their families at home, but an anonymous Bath student said that he felt this rule was unfair as his ‘mother is all alone in the house and she works from home…leaving her by herself over this lockdown would be an awful thing to do’. It appears that the Welsh students at Bath face a similar dilemma over whether or not they should end the term early and return back to their loved ones. 

A Welsh student who wanted to remain anonymous told me that she and two of her housemates were considering going back to Wales when the English lockdown was first announced, however, returning to Wales would mean that they would leave an English housemate alone over lockdown, so the students collectively decided to stay in England until the Christmas holidays begin. 

The University has echoed the government’s sentiment stating that they advise students to ‘only return home at the end of term for Christmas’. It remains to be seen how and to what extent the University will regulate this. 

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