Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has welcomed government acceptance of the need to test students ahead of Christmas travel but warned that rollout of the programme must take account of the needs of islanders.
Further and Higher Education Minister, Richard Lochhead today announced Scottish Government plans to support students to return home for Christmas. Steps include staggered departures from institutions and testing asymptomatic students twice before the end of term.
Ms Wishart said:
“Scottish Liberal Democrats have been calling for government to get four nations plans in place to help students travel home safely for Christmas. We must avoid the shambles when students arrived on campus in September and government wasn’t prepared. It’s therefore welcome that testing is to be made available for asymptomatic students and there will be staggered departure dates.
“It will be vital that the testing programme takes account of the needs of island students. We must urgently see detail about how testing will work in practice and on the support that will be in place for students who can’t or decide not to go home.
“Travel to the isles is expensive so students will need to know when they can leave their institutions and when they can return. Similarly they need clarity on when they will be able to get their tests. For many isles students Christmas will be the first time they are able to see their family in months so we need to do all we can to help them to do that safely.