How is the pandemic impacting disabled students living in university accommodation? — Scope | Disability forum
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How is the pandemic impacting disabled students living in university accommodation?

Cher_Inactive Posts: 4,412

Scope community team

edited September 2020 in Education

What is happening?

The autumn term has started at universities across the UK and many students have returned to their accommodation on campuses.  

The rise in cases of coronavirus has meant that there are different restrictions on what students can do at each university.  For instance, the BBC reports that at the Manchester Metropolitan University:

1,700 students in two accommodation blocks at Manchester Metropolitan University have been told to stay in isolation for 14 days, after about 100 students tested positive.

This has understandably led to some feeling of panic and confusion as students are isolated away from their families and loved ones. 

How has this impacted teaching?

Much of the face to face teaching has stopped and is now being delivered online via lectures and seminars on computers.

Where face to face teaching is still happening, there have been calls for it to stop and for students to be allowed to return home.  

Dr Jo Grady, the University and College Union Secretary, speaks about this and the need to protect students welfare on this BBC sounds programme (from 8 minutes 8 seconds onwards).  

Laptop on table with female typing and a cup of coffee

How are disabled students being affected?

Some of our own members have spoken about the difficulties faced in managing complex medical needs while being at University this term.

Other disabled students on social media have reported similar problems with having their needs met.  One student told how her request to be housed in a smaller flat with less people was refused.  While, an autistic student was unable to visit her halls early to reduce anxiety she was feeling.  

What can help?

We understand this is a difficult time for students and families and are here to support you on our online community, so please reach out and post if you are experiencing issues.

For more advice and information around support, visit Scope's Education support during coronavirus webpage.  

The BBC website has also compiled a list of tips and tricks to help university students cope in a pandemic which might give you some ideas on how to make the most of this different experience.

What do you think?

  • Are you, or is someone you know, a student impacted by coronavirus at university?  
  • Do you think the situation is being handled well?
  • Do you have any advice for disabled students studying this year?

Let us know in the comments below.
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  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,557 Disability Gamechanger
    Such an important topic @Cher_Scope! I have seen loads of uni's have gone into lockdown because of an outbreak of cases.

    I had a PA at uni so I have no idea how that would have worked...

    @forgoodnesssake, this post might be interesting for you. :)

  • forgoodnesssake
    forgoodnesssake Member Posts: 406 Pioneering
    Thanks @Chloe_Scope We'll let you know in a few weeks!!  Son desperate to get back and he is in a flat with 7 others (all freshers except son).  They all went back 25th Sept but his term starts late so maybe by then the initial avalanche of covid will have subsided.  He has full time support from a team of agency support workers.  Agency seem very positive about their ability to safely provide support; we are still waiting to hear definitive view of uni accommodation dept re the fact that if that flat has to go into isolation it can never truly isolate cos of helpers coming in!  One manager said, yes that woudl be OK but somehow we don't feel she's really got much clout so we have to keep asking for someone higher up the ladder to confirm that.  Also what about the feelings of the other students in the flat?  Also huge training requirement for new helpers; which we usually do before term starts; but not possible this year so having to make video resources of as much as possible to minimise our risk or exposure!  Pretty much on our own and I really do dread to think what would be happening if we weren't doing as much as we are; even the statutory funders that son has have not actually offered any support at all.  They just ask in passing about training of staff and we have to say that we've previously done it but now they will have to pay for professional input!  No response at all in weeks.
    Really hard to know the right thing to do
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,557 Disability Gamechanger
    The whole thing is really complicated @forgoodnesssake! Sounds like you are doing a great job though. I hope your son is able to return safely to uni soon. :)


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