Words from the Bristol Freshers plunged into lockdown

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By Georgiana Scott, Deputy Editor

Concerned about missed teaching, grateful for the university’s support, but wishing they were at home. First year students share their thoughts and feelings from their lockdowned halls.

Today it was announced that 300 students in The Courtrooms, in Bristol’s city centre, would be placed under a two week self-isolation period effective immediately after 40 positive cases of COVID-19 were confirmed at the accommodation.

In the early hours of the morning, the first year residents were informed by email they were not to leave the building or return home for 14 days, causing a flurry of activity to surround the halls; mobile test and trace units were erected, food packages delivered and camera crews arrived to film students looking longingly out of their windows.

Some had even adorned their windows with ‘Help me’ post-it note messages.

On the inside, flatmates self-administered COVID tests, uncomfortably swabbing their own tonsils and noses, whilst grappling with the idea of being stuck in their rooms for 14 days.

‘I feel our basic human rights have not been taking into consideration,’ one student told Epigram anonymously.

‘My flatmate rang reception expressing concerns for her mental health after isolating for 10 days already, asking whether if she tested negative she could go home. They told her she could be fined and her university place would be reevaluated.'

Hollie, meanwhile, a Spanish and French undergraduate described the atmosphere inside her flat as ‘mixed’.

‘Many students are trying to remain positive as we realise there is nothing we can do but follow the guidelines laid down not only by the University, but by Public Health England. Others, however, are very much wishing they were at home.’

Many have praised the University’s and The Courtroom’s staff response. Particularly on the free food packages and the announcement that toilet roll, sanitary and cleaning products will be supplied, alongside laundry and rubbish collection services.

A free food package provided by Bristol University for four people for one week 

‘They are doing everything they can to accommodate us now’, one fresher said.  

In a TikTok video, Sophia shared the long shelf life foods she received in her emergency package, pulling out an array of snacks including Oreos, crisps and chocolate along with staples such as pasta, noodles and milk.  

@sofifilis

we stan bristol ##fyp ##foryoupage ##foryou ##bristol ##bristoluni ##uni ##freshers ##covid

♬ original sound - sophia
A student video showing the contents of the food parcels they received | TikTok / sofifilis

The only times the residents will be allowed to leave their halls is for an allocated 30 minute slot, where they can go onto the courtyard, which is currently occupied by a testing tent, to exercise and smoke.

However, the greatest concern of many is the effect this will have on their studies. While some courses are predominantly online, many students still have in-person hours on campus.

‘I feel our basic human rights have not been taking into consideration’

Hollie, a languages student will now be missing 9 hours of face-to-face seminars a week, which are not recorded. Although she has been assured all of the teaching materials will be online, she expressed disappointment in missing out on any discussions that will be taking place.

Any students struggling are encouraged to contact Wellbeing Access and can find other online 24/7 support here.

For any other queries, they can contact the Information Point team.

Featured Image: Siavash Minoukadeh / Epigram


What do you think of the university accommodation lockdown? Let us know!

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