Undoubtedly, all areas of society have been affected in some degree by the Covid-19 pandemic, but as we move back into the start of a somewhat distorted academic year, it is now students who are being hit hard by the full effects of the virus.
A number of universities in the north of England have already been hit hard including Liverpool University and Newcastle University. Sky News reported 1,700 students being asked to self-isolate at Manchester Metropolitan University in September alone, with 127 confirmed cases.
As universities in the north continue to see cases rise, it is now the turn of students in the capital to experience the full force of the virus. Confirmed Covid-19 cases in London universities have slowly but surely started to increase, with the Evening Standard reporting that the first virus outbreak in London occurred in the halls for the Royal College of Music. There were 50 confirmed cases.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases are now steadily rising throughout the capital with the likes of Goldsmiths University, London School of Economics (LSE) and the University of Westminster all being affected. The list goes on.
Although there seems to be no sight of cases starting to decrease in the near future, the disruption of a challenging new academic year has not stopped some students from trying to replicate their own freshers experience, virus or no virus. Kings College London saw a number of students test positive after attending a fresher’s events which took place in September.
When talking to a University of Westminster student who lives in private student accommodation in Wembley, it was clear that not enough provisions were being made to control the rate of infection throughout student halls. Although regulations have been put into place including “elevators can only be used by one person at a time” and “we are also not allowed to be in the communal areas with more than 6 people at a time”, she said: ‘the residents don’t care about the restrictions and they continue to have parties in other people’s rooms”. It is evident that a proportion of students are not following guidelines and “It’s like they don’t care”.
As the rate of student infections has swiftly moved down from the north of the country to the capital, it begs the question as to whether London students will learn their lesson after seeing the effects of the pandemic on universities throughout England. Will students adapt, or will they continue trying to recreate normal student life, therefore leaving themselves and others around them vulnerable to infection.
If you’re a university student and want to share your experiences of the pandemic, please get in touch.
Words: Ella Webster