How Covid-19 is set to change life at University

As we all know, the coronavirus pandemic swept the streets silent from March 23rd, and is now finally showing positive signs of retreat. The time has come for many people to return back to work as the markets begin to reopen. While many others await the widespread changes to be announced in the coming months as the country prepares for a safe and controlled return.

Unfortunately, the government’s focus on returning to normality is clouded by the growing concern of a second wave of Covid-19. Thus plans and rules will need to be made in order to avoid the mistakes of the first wave and minimise the rate of infection so Britain can return to prosperity as quickly as possible. One significant issue for students, parents, and governing bodies is the safety of returning to education.

University campuses have been closed since the coronavirus lockdown, with teaching moving completely online for students to finish the remainder of the year. Since then, students across the nation have been calling for answers as to how they will return to or begin their studies at university in September. At last, higher education students have been let out of the dark this week with the release of the potential guidelines that may need to be followed when campuses reopen in Autumn. The main consensus of these reports is that students might have to stay in a “protective bubble” of the same small group during the first semester.  

Hang on, what does mean for social life starting university?

Arguably for some, the best part of the 3-5 years of university is Freshers Week. This is because of the huge influx of students from all continents of the world who come together to immerse themselves in one of the most inclusive night scenes the UK has to offer. ‘A little something for everybody!’ The most popular bars/clubs across Liverpool take on a whole host of events offering drinks to students at super cheap prices. There are also events during the daytime for new students to shake off their hangover and discover societies/groups to join and meet other likeminded students. Not to mention the endless freebees to get ahold of!

However, University of Nottingham vice-chancellor, ShearerWest, said it might not be “all singing, all dancing” this year. Unfortunately, this may very well be the case literally as well as metaphorically if welcome events are online or restricted to small numbers. "We're certainly planning to have people join things and get involved in societies, but we may just have to run freshers' fair in a different kind of way," said ProfWest. These could be "virtual events," said Universities UK presidentJulia Buckingham. But in a way that "we can guarantee students have social interaction with one another".

How might a “protective bubble” impact my studies/living arrangements?

First of all, when university leaders say “protective bubble”- this doesn’t mean you’re required to hire a trained security team to assist you to and from your campuses! The suggested requirement to do this effectively will be to live and study with the same group to minimise mixing where possible. The Universities UK briefing suggested students could be kept in small groups by sharing accommodation with people taking the same course, similarly to the approach being used in primary schools.

The report includes discussions between Liz Barnes, vice-chancellor of Staffordshire University and other universities regarding the idea of protective bubbles. The approach she is keen to use will involve eight people per bubble studying and living together. The hope is for housing students in groups taking the same subjects, while formulating timetables that bring them on campus at the same time can minimise the level of contact with other students. "The more that we can keep them into a small group of regular interaction the better in current circumstances," said ProfBarnes.

It's important to note that students are free to meet whoever they wish to outside, but there will have to be controls on who can go inside accommodation. We know already that Agnes Jones and Bedford Street student accommodation are prepared for a big reduction in capacity, in order for social distancing to be possible and so that facilities can be safely shared i.e.kitchens and bathrooms.

How can I safely meet these guidelines?

If you happen to be a student ready to take the big step into university life for the first time, we are here to help you understand how you will be able to safely do so. First of all, it is very common for students to network with course-mates before university has even begun through the use of group-chats on social media. This is a very effective way for students to meet and engage with course-mates and gain an insight into which accommodations are most popular/suitable for their particular degree. Thus instead of rolling the dice and hoping for the best in regard to who you will live with for a whole year, you can utilise these chats to pick between the best possible people for you.

Once you have decided the ideal flatmates for you to not only get the most out of your degree with, but to also savour the exciting night life that Liverpool has to offer; then get in touch with Elavace! We will do everything we can to cater to each and every concern you might have as you await the exciting move to Liverpool in September. We are happy to announce there is still availability in some of the most luxurious student digs that Liverpool has to offer! Take a look on our website at Agnes Jones and Bedford Street to discover the luxuries that are there for the taking.

If you are unable to find the course-mates/flatmates for you; then not to worry, we are more than happy to take away that hassle and assign students of the same course to your flat. Whether you wish for an all-girls, all-boys, or mixed flat; rest assured we will accommodate you accordingly until we know you are absolutely satisfied with the flat you will be sharing next year. We at Elavace completely understand how important it is for you to find the right flatmates when it comes to enjoying student life so leave it with us.

Get in touch with us soon while there are still limited rooms available!