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Student Accommodation and Coronavirus
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Student Accommodation and Coronavirus

Written by Sam | October 28, 2020

This is something that no one thought they would have to deal with at university or in the world more than a year ago. However, at these present times, we need to protect ourselves and others while at the same time try and live a life we only get to do once and we aren’t sure of how long it will be.

I will break it down in to two areas, Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) and Private Student Rented or Student Housing.

Purpose Built Student Accommodation & Coronavirus

Many of the operators and managers have done an incredible job here in helping students get to university safely and put in a lot of measures to make sure it is as safe as possible, some of these measures are:

  • Flexible start dates
  • Quarantine stays
  • No visa – No cancellation fee
  • Upped the cleaning regimes
  • Sanitizer stations
  • Socially distanced events
  • Isolation support
  • Reduced students in areas such as the gym & cinema rooms

If you are living in University-owned halls, that aren’t managed and are just simply student accommodation then the service will be a lot less service as they will be managing a lot more students across multiple accommodations and locations. You can still expect these sort of services:

  • Flexible start dates
  • Quarantine stays
  • Isolation support
  • No visa – no fees
  • Upped Cleaning
  • Sanitizer stations

The university will have all it’s risk assessments and health and safety aspects in place but it might not have an accommodation manager for each one of it’s blocks, however, if they are managed by a third party, which a lot are, then you can expect the above service.

How To Beat Lockdown in Student Accommodation

If you are locked down and become a tier 3 area, here are some ways to make sure that you beat the lockdown.

  • Have a routine – Include work, exercise, rest, eating, washing, and socialising.
  • Exercise is important it can come in a lot of different forms. A personal favourite of mine is doing a HIIT work out from Joe Wicks YouTube channel.
  • Eat well – By this, I mean resist the urge to snack all the time and eat junk food. A lot of accommodation managers will help you if you book a delivery they can bring it to your door and make sure you eat a healthy diet. With all the time, start cooking meals!
  • Friends – Make sure you give your friends a call leave them a voice note, and video call family and friends to let them know you are ok but also to help you. The accommodation will be running some form of virtual event, make sure that you go to this and see others.
  • Brain Training – A lot of the time in isolation, if you haven’t got any work to do or lectures to attend, then mental stimulation is a must. If you watch Netflix all day then it will go slow. Make sure you get some form of test in there, this can be a quiz, puzzle, research or anything else that will test your brain for a short period of time.
  • Fresh air – If you stay in your room for a period of time, it will get stuffy, make sure you open the window and let some fresh air in and this should raise spirits when low.
  • Get ready – In the mornings, it is easy to put the comfy clothes you wore yesterday on, skip brushing your teeth or having a shower because you aren’t seeing anyone. Still do all these things, make sure you have a shower and brush your teeth, it will help you get up and out of bed and make you feel fresh in the mornings! Washing is a tricky part because you are most likely to share a laundry room and if you have COVID then you won’t be able to mix. Speak to the accommodation manager and make sure that you see if you can get a designated time and it is then cleaned after or one of your friends can take the washing down and bring it back up again.

If you are living in a studio and you are not in an apartment with others, this might be harder, but it depends on the person you are. Still use the tips above, however, have a big emphasis on the socialising part. Two weeks without seeing anyone might seem great at first, but there will be a point where you will want to hear and speak to another human over the phone, Zoom or any other app.

Private Rented Student Housing & Coronavirus

This year, if you have chosen to stay in a house with friends, this isn’t a problem. Sharing a house with your friends is a great because it means you will all be doing it together and get through the isolation together, however, first before we get on to some tips, what should life look like if there is no isolation and be the new current standard operating procedures.

  • There won’t be sanitizing stations in houses, but they will be deep cleaned before you move in
  • Policies and procedures should be on the letting agents website
  • Flexible start dates and tenancies if they can
  • No visa – No cancellation fees
  • Isolation support

With living in student housing, there aren’t accommodation managers but they are there to help you. It means that house will be cleaned before it is handed over and then it is your job to maintain it.

A lot of the letting agents and landlords moved their tenancies in line with the local university’s first lecture and this should carry over if COVID lasts until next September.

How to Beat Lockdown in Student Housing

You can use the following points from student accommodation as they will cross over, however, personally I think you are in a much better position than those in student accommodation. Even though you won’t have an accommodation manager, virtual events and a gym with you, what you do (or should) have is your friends around you.

  • Have a routine – Include work, exercise, rest, eating, washing, and socialising. If it’s something like washing or cooking, put it on the wall and get the whole house involved and dish out the housework. For example, take turns to cook, hoover & wash up. Put this on the wall so then everyone knows who is doing what!
  • Exercise is important it can come in a lot of different forms. A personal favourite of mine is doing a HIIT work out from Joe Wicks YouTube channel. If you want, you can all do this together in the living room by creating some space.
  • Eat well – Try and order as a house, this could save you some money and the delivery person coming back 5 times. If you plan meals, you will spend less and designate someone to cook and clean, it will become something that hopefully stays with you.
  • Friends – This has two sides for me. Spend time with your housemates and speaking to friends outside your house over the phone etc, however, on the flip side know when you need to spend some time by yourself. We all reach a point where we just need a few hours in our own heads before we go back to the group.
  • Brain Training – Come up with games, quizzes, tests or anything that will get you thinking. This is easier to do with housemates because you can create groups and do virtual quizzes.
  • Fresh air – If you stay in your room for a period of time, it will get stuffy, make sure you open the window and let some fresh air in and this should raise spirits when low.
  • Get ready – In the mornings, it is easy to put the comfy clothes you wore yesterday on, skip brushing your teeth or having a shower because you aren’t seeing anyone. Still do all these things, make sure you have a shower and brush your teeth, it will help you get up and out of bed and make you feel fresh in the mornings!

There will be many more tips and tricks you can do, however, from my own personal experience of isolation these are what I used and found to be the most effective ways for me.

Finally, if you haven’t already, look at sports clubs and societies to join, they host a lot of virtual events and you will meet a lot of new people. You might not be able to go to any events or trials, however, you will be included in all their Facebook groups and there will be plenty of events where you can meet other students who might also be in isolation or have been through it!

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