While university vice chancellors are right to welcome the possibility foreign students may be returning in force sooner than expected, this is not without risk.
The ANU and the University of Canberra are organising a charter flight to bring up to 350 students to the ACT in July.
All of the students involved in what has been described as a "pilot program" had been studying at the universities previously but were prevented from returning to Australia earlier this year as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
Participation in the plan, which is targeting older students in research or postgraduate courses as well as students completing honours programs or those who are in their final year of their undergraduate degree, is dependent on students from a range of countries being able to make their way to the "hub city" from which the charter flight will depart.
While ANU vice-chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt is technically correct when he says that bringing in a small tranche of 350 students is not about boosting budget bottom lines, it is imperative for the institutions to normalise services to their paying customers as quickly as possible.
The news of the flight, which could pave the way for thousands more students to return to universities in the ACT and elsewhere, coincided with last week's news that Australia's borders were unlikely to reopen until at least early 2021 - with some significant exceptions.
Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has recently flagged that restrictions on foreign students would likely be lifted "soon" and that it might also be possible foreigners travelling to Australia in the course of their employment could be allowed in.
All arrivals, whether students or workers, would be required to undergo the same mandatory two week in-hotel quarantine as returning Australians.
Qantas immediately cancelled all international flights, except for some to New Zealand, until late October.
It, and its subsidiary Jetstar, are expected to increase the number of domestic flights over the same period as state and territory borders progressively reopen, however.
While, given the success Australia and many countries in the region have had in controlling the virus, the decision to ease the door open just a crack seems justified, it is still a calculated risk.
Much of Beijing, for example, has now returned to lockdown following a "second wave" outbreak centred on the city's largest food market last week.
Australia has also seen a recent spike in cases of community transmission over the past seven days, centred on Victoria.
While it certainly makes sense to nuance and refine social distancing and travel restrictions as the crisis progresses, it is important to remember nothing trumps public safety at this time.
Many Canberrans will be justifiably apprehensive about the prospect of hundreds of foreign students arriving in the city come July.
While local authorities have done an excellent job of quarantining the many residents who have returned to the ACT over the past four months, they have never had to face the challenge of this many people turning up at the same time.
Canberrans need to be confident that the most stringent possible quarantine restrictions will be put in place and that all the new arrivals are tested on a very regular basis during their period of voluntary incarceration.
They have worked hard to achieve one of the best records of controlling COVID-19 anywhere in the world.
That should not be put at risk.