Students should stay where they are and make the best of it

LET me start with a question. What is the quickest way to spread coronavirus around the island? Answer: Allow hundreds of university students home for Christmas.

We all know this horrible virus is rampant throughout all the UK universities and this among an age group that will do a lot of socialising visiting lots of family and friends. The screening process may be good but can never be regarded as 100% reliable. It would only take one or two of these students to slip through the net and spreading would begin, and of course it would grow exponentially. A horrible thought for old people being imprisoned in their own homes again – and how many deaths would be acceptable?

I suggest the CCA put a total ban on students returning for Christmas.

Does this sound harsh? Yes, of course it does, but it will do them no harm to stay where they are, neither will it hurt their families. One only has to look back at Guernsey’s not too distant past to see why I make this suggestion. Think back to 1940 when Guernsey was threatened with invasion. Back then people thought the problem would go away in a few months so evacuated as many school children as possible, and that was several hundred. Most parents remained behind thinking it would be a holiday for the children. That ‘holiday’ lasted five long years. I was only eight years old at the time, but there were children even younger than me that faced an uncertain future. We were away for many Christmases but we survived, making the best we could with the families with whom we were billeted. What of the families left behind not knowing how their children were? Sometimes not even knowing where they were? But they too survived.

In any case, students are not the only ones to be away from family at Christmas. What about the armed forces and merchant navy personnel? How many of them are on leave at Christmas? A very tiny number. But what about those who are at home but have to work? Police, firemen, ambulance personnel, doctors, nurses, cleaners and other staff to run hospitals, care workers and many others too numerous to mention.

One makes the best one can wherever they are and whatever they do.

It is very hard these days to believe the only communication we had with our families was a Red Cross letter every six months. That letter was just 25 words long. Yes, 25 words every six months and if we were lucky – and it was a big if – if we were lucky, we would get a reply six months later. Unbelievable? You had better believe it, that’s how it was. Nowadays of course there is the postal service to send and receive greetings cards, the telephone for instant contacts, the internet, social media and other gadgets and gizmos to stay in touch. So, you see what I mean? There is just no need to come home. Students should stay where they are and make the best of it.

Finally, students go to university to study and learn academic subjects of their choice. A golden opportunity to learn about life. It is not always kind and can indeed be quite cruel.

A. B. JEFFERYS,

2, Les Douze Maisons,

Collings Road,

St Peter Port,

GY1 1FQ.

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