Volunteer Label writer Ada Ughanwa describes what different universities have done to help those their students in isolation.

Students who contracted COVID-19 or who exhibited symptoms of the virus have had to self-isolate for fourteen days. Two weeks is a long period of time, especially for young people, to be restricted from the outside world except for exercise. Other than this, students had to resort to sleeping, which is the norm for them anyway, eating, as per usual, and virtual meet-ups on Microsoft Teams and Zoom in order to keep in contact with their loved ones and friends. Technology became the only means for isolating students to keep themselves occupied and sane.

Universities pre-conceived the difficulties students were going to face and implemented measures to ensure that isolating students’ physical and mental health needs were met. Loughborough University, Edge Hill University, and Portsmouth University were a part of the minority who took care of their students’ needs. These three universities provided free food supplies to take an extra burden off their shoulders as delivery slots from local supermarkets were fully booked.

Unfortunately, I had to isolate but only for a brief period of time – one day – until my flatmate’s results came back negative. During our isolation, Loughborough University provided both non-perishable and perishable goods as well as, hot meals for dinner. We were given an ample amount of fruits, cereal packets, milk, eggs, etc. This was all very generous, in fact maybe too much, as, our free food supplies continued even after isolation. We did notify the Connect and Protect team but, I suppose they had food to spare?

Edge Hill University and Portsmouth University also championed the idea of free food deliveries, with Portsmouth providing three hot meals for students living in catered halls. Manchester Metropolitan University also offered a two week rent rebate and £50 vouchers for the first two halls affected by the outbreak. These extended acts of kindness from these universities kept students’ spirits alive during their fourteen day four-walled isolation period.

Whilst some universities reached into their pockets to feed their students, others were looking to fill their pockets with more money. Lancaster University was amongst the University of East Anglia (UEA) and York University who decided to profiteer from students by charging extortionate prices for food parcels. Lancaster University charged £17.95 a day for food parcels to be delivered and these contained just three cold meals which had to be heated up. UEA charged £252 for a two- week meal plan, equivalent to £18 per day. York University decided that a £70 meal deal would suffice, meaning that after the fourteen-day isolation period £170 would be missing from your account.

It was sad to see many universities exploiting their students. Hopefully, those that took advantage of their students have learned their lessons and will implement sensible and fair measures when students return after Christmas.

Header by Christos Alamaniotis – Head of Design

Edited by Izzie Naish – News Editor


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