What is your opinion on the way that students are being treated presently? For example: The fence installs in Manchester.
“They are being treated unfairly and as a scape goat for the governments mess ups.” – Omar, 20, University of Brighton.
“I don’t think students are gaining enough help considering I’m in my final year and have received little guidance. We should be refunded so that we are paying the same amount as online uni students. Uni’s like Cambridge are being told that they cannot go home, and if they do then they will not be able to graduate. Uni’s need to focus on the wellbeing of their students rather than a financial return from their grades.” – Libby, 20, Sheffield Hallam
“They are being treated very poorly with respect to University accommodations, almost a breach of their freedom. The first year of university revolves more around your first experiences at becoming an adult, living by yourself in a different (new) city and meeting new people than it does study in my opinion. Forcing students to stay locked in their accommodations wouldn’t allow for such experiences and hence it shouldn’t be enforced.” – Liam, 21, University of Leeds
“I hate how we’re being treated like we don’t understand the seriousness of the pandemic, and like we’re responsible for the higher number of cases. Whilst a few may be breaking rules, the majority of us are following them and it’s unfair to be looked down on” – Gatha, 22, University of Essex
“I think it’s pretty poor. Students already have a hard enough time moving a way to halls in a new city which is now basically a prison.” – Johann Bell, 22, Liverpool John Moores
Are you worried that you may have to stay in your accommodation over Christmas? Alternatively, What is your opinion on others facing this prospect?
“I’m not personally worried, I think we will be allowed home, but it’s silly that Christmas is the only occasion that’s exempt from the lockdown. Eid and Diwali both happened during either national and local lockdown. I think if I had to stay in my student house, I’d be devastated.” – Amber, 20, Sheffield Hallam.
“I have been told by my university that if I want to leave for Christmas I must take a Covid test and return between a certain window or I can’t go home for Christmas.” – Max, 20, Northumbria University
“I’m not worried but certain students will be by themselves for the whole of the Christmas holidays which could cause mental health issues.” – Thomas, 20, Sheffield Hallam
Do you have an opinion on how this may be better managed?
“If people are able to be picked up by parents/guardians to reduce contact with others. Or as they might do – tell people a timeframe (between 3rd and 9th for example) of when they can go back.” – Elisabeth, 20, Sheffield Hallam.
“I think the decision to evacuate students with testing at Christmas is a good choice. However wider testing programmes on campus (like the one at UEA) should have been available for all UK unis as it rules out people who are asymptomatic accidentally causing outbreaks on campus. There needs to be wider spread testing available for students otherwise localised outbreaks are inevitable.” – Tahlia, 20, University of East Anglia
“I think the only way is to have a 2 week long isolation for everyone before they travel to avoid the risk. But also for people who can’t do that (for example because of flight availability) it’s a tricky one.” – Jessica, 19, University of Derby
What advice would you give to a student facing Christmas away from their family?
“I’d say as sad and difficult as it is try to stay positive, do some festive things if you can and lots of FaceTime calls home especially on Christmas Day, plan things like Christmas quizzes with the family.” – Sian, 20, City University of London.
“There are many ways to keep connected to family and friends during this time. It may not be the same but you’ll have many years to come to enjoy Christmas with your family! It’s just a different experience! It’s better to be safe than sorry” – Steph, 20, Bath Spa
“Try to stay positive, we’ll get through this altogether, try and keep in contact with your friends and family, look after your mental health” – Sophie Atkinson, 20, University of Huddersfield
What would you say to Boris if you were addressing this issue?
“It must be a priority that students can come home for Christmas as otherwise students will be lonely and angered with the situation.” – Mia, 19, University of Sheffield.
“Mental health difficulties is one of the biggest killers amongst students. You’re killing us and convincing older generations that we are fine and okay.” – Elliot, 19, Manchester Metropolitan
“If I had the opportunity to talk to Boris I’d ask him to try and summarise what his plan is in 3/4 sentences because the main problem is how the government’s communicated what they want and in my opinion it’s generated more confusion and anxiety” – Dan, 19, Sheffield Hallam
“Let’s try get it right for the January return. Don’t allow unis to send us back promising half and half learning then give us 1% in person and the rest online.” – Lauren, 22, Sheffield Hallam
Authors Note: The prospect of a Christmas away from family and friends is terrifying, but as Steph mentioned, it is only a year. Be hopeful, be grateful and be humble. 2021 will be the year for us all.