At Student Housing Lancaster, we are aware that this is a difficult time for everyone at the moment. Britain is now in lockdown and people are only authorised to leave their homes to shop for basic necessities, for one form of exercise a day alone or with members of your household, to look after a vulnerable person or to travel to and from work when the work is essential and cannot be done from home.
For students, many of you may have chosen to remain in Lancaster, either because you want to be close to your institution so you can be better equipped for changes to examinations or online assessments, or because you have been unable to travel home and have had no choice but to remain here.
With that in mind, here are some general tips for isolation as a student:
If You Have Symptoms
As covered on the Government website, If you have any of the symptoms of coronavirus – a new, dry cough, a high temperature or shortness of breath – you should be self-isolating in your current accommodation if possible, for seven days. If you have housemates, they should self-isolate for 14 days to minimise the risk that they may have become infected as well during your seven days of isolation. The 14 days start from the day the first person becomes ill.
Staying in your accommodation can be difficult and frustrating, especially if there is limited space or no garden. It’s important to take care of both your physical and mental well-being during this time and seek support when needed. Keep in close contact over the phone and social media with your friends and family during this time. You don’t need to isolate yourself from company provided that it is done remotely and without risk of passing on the virus.
Should You Travel Home?
For non-international students who may be able to get home to other parts of the UK, it may be possible to head home now. Universities are closed, and no on-campus activities are taking place, with most teaching moving online, so there is no disadvantage in terms of learning for students to be home rather than at university.
However, students should only return home if they can do so without public transport, and the guidelines state, on returning home, the entire household should self-isolate for the 14 days following. If you have a vulnerable or elderly relative living in your home, it might be wise to consider staying in your student accommodation for now, to lessen the risk of introducing the virus into your home if you have encountered it. Not everyone will get symptoms, so you do run the risk of being an asymptomatic carrier of the virus.
Can You Carry on Studying?
- Lancaster University
For students at Lancaster University, they are operating under a remote and reduced model. Classroom teaching is suspended, and they are extending the period of alternative provision for classroom teaching and examinations. The library has closed, but their services are available online. They are currently working to keep students up to date with what will be happening in the following months regarding summer exams. So check your university email every day for further updates.
- University of Cumbria
The University of Cumbria campus is closed until further notice, and teaching and assessments have been transferred to online delivery. Check your email for updates that provide further details and for any changes to the situation.
How to Cope in Isolation
If you find yourself alone in your student accommodation and need to isolate yourself, you may find that you struggle with loneliness or boredom. Here are some tips to help you get through:
- Stay Connected
Text, video chat and phones have made connecting easier than ever. Stay close to your friends and family during this time by arranging regular calls and chats online. You could even utilise sites like Discord to arrange group calls, share screens and play online games together. Reaching out for support during this time will have significant positive psychological benefits.
- Look After Your Health
Even if you’re not ill and are just social distancing, it’s essential to take care of your health while in isolation. Don’t fall into a trap of becoming lethargic and relying on food deliveries. Even in isolation, you can take time to cook healthy, filling meals and get out and do some exercise. Or if you are ill and self-isolating completely, there are plenty of fantastic resources online you can use to do workouts in your accommodation if you feel up to it. Regular exercise will help to regulate your sleeping patterns and boost your psychological health.
- Find an engaging activity
With all this spare time on your hands that you would typically spend out and about, now is the perfect time to take up an indoor hobby. You could write, draw, learn a new language, discover new recipes or even take up crochet. Find something you’ve always wanted to do and dedicate some time to it each day. It might not come to anything once isolation is over, but it’s certainly more productive than staring out the window wishing you were at the pub.
During this time, it’s important to follow government advice so we can stop the spread of the virus and protect those most vulnerable, even if it means putting ourselves in less than ideal situations for a few weeks or even months. Keep yourself safe, maintain social distancing if you’re not sick and self-isolate immediately if you feel you have any symptoms of coronavirus. Follow your university’s procedures and advice and keep yourself updated on how they are preparing to deal with the months ahead in regards to your studies.