The impact of Coronavirus on Universities and student living
The number of cases relating to the Coronavirus are rising every day in the UK – with the most recent number of cases averaging at 12,000 daily and following with an average of 19 new deaths daily in the last week. Since coming out of a full lockdown just a few months ago, the UK is now under a number of rules and regulations to follow in order to keep control over the Coronavirus Pandemic. This includes the rule of 6, 10pm curfew on bars and pubs, compulsory face masks and people to work from home where possible. These rules and regulations have now been set to be implemented through a three-tier system across the UK. Tier one being the lowest and tier three being the highest. A number of cities over the last few days have been since placed in the tier two sector.
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The Coronavirus impact on Universities
Since the return of universities in the last month and students moving back to places of study there have been over 40 universities that have reported confirmed coronavirus cases since across the UK. With the mixing of thousands of students coming in from different areas within universities, this is having a huge impact on the spread of the Coronavirus disease. This is causing some universities to implement stricter measures such as putting their students in isolation for a number of days. This has been seen to happen particularly over a number of universities in Scotland and notably in England at Manchester University.
How is Derby University dealing with the current Coronavirus Pandemic?
The university has been seen to implement strong measures across the university in their campuses and across halls of residence. Within campuses there are strong social distancing measures in place around waling areas and within classrooms to ensure the safety of university students. This including social distanced seating within classrooms, keyboard coverings, cleaning work areas and hand sanitisers/walkway stickers placed consistently around the campus buildings. Seeing the university put these measures in place provides clarity that they are doing everything they can to ensure the safety of their students whilst studying at the University of Derby. Likewise, in student’s hall of residence, measures have been implemented to ensure safety including safer walkways, no overnight visitors, the wearing of face coverings around the building and no gatherings of more than 6 in a flat. The university are taking this pandemic as serious as possible to ensure the best learning for students without the worry of catching the Coronavirus.
The impact of the Coronavirus on students
Students have been seen to struggle with the adjustment of the new University lifestyle. Over a million students arrived at different Universities all over the UK between September and October. However, a number of students now find themselves in isolation because of the rising number of Coronavirus cases within universities. This is having a huge impact on the mental health and wellbeing of students. Particularly, over speculation that some students won’t be able to return home from their halls of residence over the Christmas period. With the number of strict rules and regulations in place by universities, this is becoming quite daunting on students. As we can see, the Coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on students returning to complete the academic year 2020-21 and could possibly affect them going into 2021-22.
Current students at the moment will complete either the full academic year or the autumn semester of their studies online with minimal on-campus classes. This new digital learning environment is likely to impact how well students tackle their assignments and their effectiveness in their studies. Some students’ wellbeing may also struggle with this adjustment; particularly because they are forced to spend a large amount of time in their halls of residence.
Along with the strict rules and regulations, particularly, those students studying their first year at university have missed events such as Freshers Fortnite. However, the closure of clubs and the strict social distancing measures required by university pale in comparison to the number of students being put into isolation quickly into the start of university. But aside from the nightlife, the coronavirus has likely had a huge impact on students academically in a particularly negative way.
To conclude with this article, it is accurate to say that the Coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on universities, students and the typical university lifestyle. Going forward, it is definitely going to be challenging for universities and students over the next academic year and possibly continuing into the academic year of 2021-22. With hopes that this pandemic will end soon and that ‘normal’ can return once again, nobody knows what the future holds, as of yet it is a waiting game.
Written by News Editor: Bethany Parkes