This latest outbreak of coronavirus in accommodation across Fallowfield is deeply concerning for both students and the wider community. However, the blame for this outbreak lies squarely at the Government’s door. The challenge of students returning to university was entirely predictable and predicted. The whole saga has demonstrated a shocking level of complacency and incompetence on the part of the Government, who encouraged students to travel around the country without a fully operational test and trace system in place.
For the most part, I know students in Manchester have followed the rules and guidelines set by the Government and by their university, and I ask them to continue doing so for their own health and that of the surrounding community. If they feel unwell, they should self-isolate and book a test immediately.
This has been an incredibly difficult few months for young people, as they have been let down time and again. First, they were victims of the Government’s exam results fiasco and now they are facing outbreaks of coronavirus at university, hundreds of miles away from home and their families. Leaving home to go to university should be a momentous and exciting step in a young person’s life, but sadly the Government’s mishandling of this test and trace means that is not the case this year.
Research has already shown the negative impact of coronavirus on young people’s mental health, and this will only be exacerbated as thousands of students are forced to self-isolate in university accommodation. It is both the Government’s and the universities’ responsibility to ensure students who are struggling receive the care and support they need.
I will continue to push the universities in Manchester and the Government to take students’ concerns seriously. As ever, if anyone in Manchester Gorton, student or resident, is concerned or struggling, please do not hesitate to email me.
The latest information and guidance for students at Manchester Metropolitan University or the University of Manchester is available here: