Self-isolating students were treated to free beer in Manchester as three more universities impose coronavirus curbs.
Some students at the accommodation at Manchester Metropolitan University have been forced into isolation and are only able to receive food and drink through delivery services.
Other grocery deliveries were allowed into the Needham Court halls of residence alongside free beer from Magic Rock Brewing.
It comes as three more universities in the UK have imposed curbs on freedoms and thousands of students across the country remain in self-isolation after spikes in Covid-19 cases were reported.
University of Exeter yesterday ordered students to stay indoors and only mix with people within their household following reports that more than half of the cases confirmed in Exeter over the last week can be traced back to the university.
Manchester Metropolitan University turned away a truck full of free beer (pictured) for self-isolating students because security thought ‘it wasn’t in the best interest during the current lockdown’
Some students at the accommodation have been forced into self-isolation and are only able to receive food and drink through delivery services
While other grocery deliveries were allowed into the Needham Court halls of residence, free beer from Magic Rock Brewing was turned away
The University of Aberystwyth put a stop to all in-person teaching after multiple students tested positive amid ‘uncertainty’ about how far the recent spike has spread.
A ‘small number’ of positive tests were reported in Queen’s University Belfast, forcing all students living in university accommodation into self isolation.
Some 40 students and staff at the University of Sunderland have tested positive for coronavirus.
It comes after Newcastle University and Northumbria University confirmed 62 students had tested positive on September 25, with all students self-isolating.
Two colleges in County Durham have confirmed cases of coronavirus as students are told to self-isolate for two weeks.
Bishop Auckland College confirmed they had two confirmed cases while New College Durham said they had a confirmed case within a learning bubble impacting a ‘small number of students’.
It comes as students were warned they could need to isolate in their university accommodation for two weeks before going home to be with their families over Christmas.
The Manchester brewery tweeted last night to say they would be arriving at Needham Court halls to deliver free beer to ‘make lockdown a little less rubbish for students stuck in’.
Magic Rock Brewing wrote: ‘STUDENTS OF MCR. We’ll be rocking up with the Magic UTE to MMU Needham Court Halls with FREE BEER tomorrow at 10am.
‘In a different hall? Let us know.’
But when the brewery’s truck turned up this morning, a witness overheard MMU security blocking its delivery because ‘it wasn’t in the best interest during the current lockdown’.
Manchester Metropolitan University was forced to apologise after it demanded students take down posters in their windows
According to a university spokesman, the delivery was eventually accepted but to the chagrin of faculty members.
The spokesman added: ‘While we are grateful for support we would ask that organisations contact us first to discuss how they may be able to help.
‘Our staff accepted this unannounced delivery, but it is disappointing that some organisations would choose to treat this situation as a PR opportunity, putting additional pressure on our staff who are working 24 hours a day to deliver care and support to our students.’
Manchester Metropolitan University was forced to apologise just two days ago after demanding that students take down posters they put up in windows in their accommodation.
The university initially sent an email to students demanding that posters ‘needed to be removed asap’.
But when students defied them, they were forced to issue an apology for disrespecting students’ rights to express themselves.
They wrote: ‘We apologise for the message sent to our students last night about posters in windows, it didn’t reflect the University’s view.
‘We respect the rights of students to express themselves, but as requested by police, the posters must not break the law or they’ll have to be removed.’
The university initially sent an email to students demanding that posters ‘needed to be removed asap’
But when students defied them, they were forced to issue an apology for disrespecting students’ rights to express themselves
They wrote: ‘We apologise for the message sent to our students last night about posters in windows, it didn’t reflect the University’s view
So far there has been no report of a poster which breaks the law.
Thousands of students across Britain are now self-isolating for a fortnight after more than 500 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed across at least 32 universities.
Muslim students have slammed the University of Edinburgh after they were given ham sandwiches in their ‘primary school packed lunch’ food while in self-isolation.
Students who are in catered accommodation but are self-isolating have been told to stay in their rooms at the halls, which cost around £7,000-a-year, with food being delivered to them on behalf of the university.
But some said they have been forced to ‘go hungry’ or miss meals because the food delivered doesn’t meet their religious or dietary requirements.
And worried parents have slammed uni bosses over the ‘appalling’ treatment – saying students are being treated like pariahs.
Leila Peacock, 19, is a Muslim student staying at Pollock Halls – catered accommodation which costs around £7,500.
They added: ‘We respect the rights of students to express themselves, but as requested by police, the posters must not break the law or they’ll have to be removed’
So far there has been no report of a poster which breaks the law
She said she was forced to go hungry when the university delivered a ham sandwich and bacon flavoured crisps to her room.
Leila slammed the ‘school child’s packed lunches’ and said she thinks she has lost weight because the food is not filling.
Leila said: ‘I’m in my fourth day of isolation, and on two out of the four days I’ve had either a ham sandwich or bacon crisps delivered to my room.
‘The first day it happened I told my floor supervisor, because he’s Muslim as well, and he had told them to make sure I get Halal food.
‘But they made the same mistake the next day.
‘Today [Monday] I’ve been given vegetarian food, but it’s mostly salad, it’s not very substantial, there’s not any carbohydrate and it’s not very nutritious.
One poster in a student’s window reads: ‘9k 4 what?’ In reference to the £9,000 fees students are paying to be stuck indoors
‘I don’t think it should be that difficult to provide food, but it’s been so disappointing so far.
‘The food in the canteen is really nice, and they’ve got lots of different options, but the food I’ve been given now is like for a primary school child’s packed lunch, it’s not really enough to keep someone going.
‘I think I’ve lost weight since I’ve been here, the food is not filling enough.
‘We’re paying so much money for the accommodation and that includes the catering, and it just doesn’t seem like the money is being spent in the right places.’
The University and College Union has urged the Prime Minister to force all university teaching online and to allow students to go back home without the threat of fines, the Financial Times reports.
Leila Peacock, 19, is a Muslim student staying at Pollock Halls at Edinburgh university – catered accommodation which costs around £7,500
The union’s general secretary Jo Grady wrote: ‘We cannot have students forced to quarantine in halls of residence with no familiar support network, or staff forced to carry out work on site that could be conducted more safely from home.
The Russell Group – an association of 24 UK public research universities – is working on a ‘pragmatic’ approach with the government which aims to allow students to experience ‘a blended programme of in-person and online teaching’.
Some 1,700 students are already under lockdown at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) campuses of Birley and Cambridge Halls.
Elsewhere, the University of Aberdeen has asked private landlords to report students caught breaching coronavirus restrictions and warned students caught breaking the rules would face ‘robust’ disciplinary action.
Glasgow and Abertay universities have put 600 and 500 students into isolation.
Darcy Culverhouse, 18, who is staying in Pollock Halls at Edinburgh University, said she was worried about the lack of food being delivered to students – despite paying for catered accommodation.
Leila slammed the ‘school child’s packed lunches’ and said she thinks she has lost weight because the food is not filling
Darcy said: ‘Meals have been very inconsistent from the university.
Which 45 universities have reported outbreaks of Covid-19?
Aston University, Birmingham
Bath Spa University
Birmingham City University
De Montford University, Leicester
Edinburgh Napier University
Glasgow Caledonian University
Leeds Beckett University
Manchester Metropolitan University
Oxford Brookes University
Queen Margaret University, East Lothian
Queen’s University Belfast
Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen
University of Aberdeen
University of Bath
University of Chester
University of Dundee
University of Edinburgh
University of Exeter
University of Glasgow
University of Gloucestershire
University of Hull
University of Kent
University of Leeds
University of Leicester
University of Liverpool
University of Nottingham
University of Portsmouth
University of Reading
University of Salford
University of South Wales
University of Stirling
University of Sunderland
University of Warwick
University of the West of England, Bristol
University of Worcester
University of St Andrews, Fife
York St John University
‘People in our house have been missing dinners and breakfasts, they haven’t been delivered the meals that they are supposed to be getting in isolation.
‘And they’re going hungry because they haven’t been fed.
‘It’s a bit difficult at the moment, and as a result of this a lot of people have been leaving, firstly because they don’t feel comfortable in this environment, or secondly because they’re scared of another local lockdown.
‘Not even being brought food is a pretty basic worry, especially when we’re paying so much – we’re paying about £7,500 for this accommodation, which is catered.
‘It’s the principle as well, we’re paying them a lot of money.
Students in self-isolation in non-catered accommodation are also being delivered food, but have complained of similar issues.
Isobelle Robinson-Gordon, 19, who is living in Salisbury Court said: ‘Food often isn’t being delivered until 1pm, 2pm, or 3pm, it is poor quality, cold and there is certainly a pattern of students with dietary requirements not being met.’
One mother said her 18-year-old daughter is not being delivered food regularly and said students are being treated ‘appallingly’.
The worried mum, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said: ‘I spoke to her at one o’clock [on Sunday] and they hadn’t delivered breakfast.
‘They’re not being fed properly.
‘They are not looking after the students, either physically or mentally.
‘They put them into isolation on Friday, and then nobody was available because they only operate during office hours.
‘My daughter wasn’t given food on Friday night.
‘So even though we paid £7,000 for catered accommodation, no food was delivered on Friday.’
‘My husband spoke to the university before we went up there to ask for assurances about what would happen if there was an outbreak, because you don’t have to be a scientist to guess it’s going to happen.
‘And we were assured that if somebody had tested positive they would be removed to self catered accommodation so that they could look after themselves.
‘I just think they’re being treated appallingly, they’re being treated like pariahs.
‘It’s very disheartening.
‘We knew it would be different but what surprised me is the way the university is treating them.
‘It’s all very negative, there’s no care at all.
‘As parents that’s how we feel.
‘We’re quite worried, she’s only eighteen.’
A spokesman for the University of Edinburgh said: ‘University staff are working hard to provide care and support for all students who are required to self-isolate by the Scottish Government and who are resident in University-provided accommodation.
‘Initial teething problems are now being addressed and catering staff will provide three meals a day for all students living in University-provided accommodation.
‘These meals are all available in vegan and gluten-free options to ensure that all dietary requirements are met.’
Coronavirus testing of students ‘should have been introduced before they returned to universities’
Government-led testing of students for Covid-19 should have been introduced to ensure their safe return to university, an expert has said.
Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said there had been ‘ample time’ to prepare for the start of term, but that in some cases students’ learning had ‘already been compromised’.
His comments come amid a surge in Covid-19 cases at some universities across the country, leading to thousands of students having to self-isolate.
Scientists and unions have argued that institutions should now switch to online learning as a ‘default’.
Prof Ball, who is involved in Covid-19 surveillance PCR testing at the University of Nottingham, said: ‘Undoubtedly more should have been done to ensure the safe return of university students, not least Government-led testing and surveillance initiatives that can effectively identify cases before significant outbreaks – outbreaks that not only affect the university but the wider community – appear.
He added: ‘There has been ample time to prepare for the new intake and return of existing students.
‘They’ve invested significantly, not simply in course fees but also on accommodation costs, so we owe them an engaging and valuable learning experience.
‘In many cases, this has already been compromised, so closing campuses and turning to remote learning would sell them short.
‘If we do go down that path as the very last resort, then students deserve and should expect some recompense.’
Jon Crowcroft, the Marconi Professor of Communications Systems in the Computer Lab at the University of Cambridge and the Turing Institute, said that with thousands of students arriving at institutions for the new term, the number of infections was ‘entirely unsurprising’.
He added: ‘The interesting thing is how well things will work in universities insisting on using their own testing on all returning students… as if it suppresses outbreaks, it will act as a perfect criticism of the Government for not providing asymptomatic testing for all returning students – in schools too.’
The London School of Economics (LSE) is one higher education provider that has launched its own on-campus testing facility for all staff and students as part of efforts to ensure it is a ‘Covid-secure school’.
Earlier this month University College London (UCL) announced plans to introduce up to 1,000 Covid-19 tests a day for staff and students who experience coronavirus symptoms.
The University of Nottingham also previously said it was developing an in-house testing service specifically designed to tackle asymptomatic transmission among students and staff.
In the House of Commons on Tuesday, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson faced questions over the provision of Covid-19 testing for students.
Labour MP Lucy Powell said recent issues at halls of residence in Manchester summed up ‘everything that the Government is getting wrong in handling this crisis’.
She said: ‘No planning over the summer and foresight, it was obvious that halls of residence would be the main area of risk. Confused messages that his own ministers can’t even keep a track of, let alone 18-year-olds all arriving in our city from different parts of the country.
‘And a woeful lack of quick testing which could have avoided this situation. So when is his Government going to get a grip, especially of the testing regime so that others don’t have to face restrictions because he’s lost control?’
Mr Williamson said the Government was ‘doing more tests a day than have ever been done before’ – some 225,000.
He said capacity would increase to half a million by the end of next month, adding that this had to be targeted into ‘areas of high need’.
He earlier told MPs: ‘While we know that testing capacity is the highest that it has ever been, we are still seeing a significant demand for tests.
‘So like any other member of society, it is vitally important that staff and students at universities only get a test if they develop coronavirus symptoms or if advised to do so by a clinician or a public health official.’