failing to prepare
Image: Geograph / DS Pugh

Nottingham students accuse university of failing to prepare for Covid-19

Students at a university where over 400 people have tested positive for Covid-19 have accused bosses of failing to prepare properly for their arrival.

In the latest figures published to the University of Nottingham’s website, 1,510 students are reported to have tested positive for Covid-19 and are currently in self-isolation, a steep rise from the previous 425 confirmed cases.

A first-year medical student, self-isolating after a positive Covid-19 test, criticised the communication from the university. 

She told the BBC that she was informed her accommodation was going into lockdown via a note slipped under her door: “We didn’t have an email or anything. It all just kind of happened without any kind of [official] contact.

“It felt really surreal; it didn’t feel like it was really happening.”

Another Nottingham student, Jabine Qureshi-Wales, who lives in a flat in Riverside Point operated by Unite Students, said that it was proving “really hard” to get food. 

“We’re self-isolating, so we can’t go shopping. People have been trying to get food deliveries but the reception aren’t letting them in,” she said.

We’re self-isolating, so we can’t go shopping. People have been trying to get food deliveries but the reception aren’t letting them in

– Jabine Qureshi-Wales

A spokeswoman for the University of Nottingham said that they had listened to students in isolation and “were working with public health partners to put into place additional measures which balance their comfort, physical and mental wellbeing, alongside restrictions needed to keep… safe”.

“Students can request a care package from the university and residents are in touch with all self-isolating students to offer pastoral support,” she continued.

The pressure to look after isolating students increases following the sharp rise in Nottingham’s infection rates, totalling around 800 cases per 100,000 people.

The city’s director of public health, Alison Challenger, reported that three-quarters of the 2,532 new positive cases in the city in the past seven days have been among people aged 18 to 22. Nottingham has since been put under a tier 2 lockdown by the government.

A further 20 members of staff have been affected by Covid-19 at the university, with the highest proportion of cases for students living in private accommodation.

The University of Nottingham has a total student population of 35,000 and a staff population of 10,000.

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