Hundreds of students have been asked to isolate themselves in their living quarters after the Kovid outbreaks at several Scottish universities.
These include 600 at the University of Glasgow and another 500 at Abertae University in Dundee. So what is it like to isolate yourself in a student apartment?
7;m slowly running out of food”
A female student who isolates herself due to positive situations in her student household told the BBC that she needs to adapt quickly.
She said: “Being asked to isolate yourself in universal halls is not the best. It is not like in your own house, where you can have a garden and your own bathroom and a separate room where you can work and sleep.
“Most of the time is spent in my bedroom. It’s nice, but it can take me down a bit. I get out of bed, take two steps to my desk, and I do that for most of the day.
“We share our bathrooms – there are eight souls for eight of us, which is enough, but we have identified two for people who have tested positive, so we tried to contain the virus in our household.
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She also said that students need practical help.
“I’m slowly running out of food. I’ve only been here a week and I haven’t done a big grocery store. I used the few things I brought with me. It’s another stress I have to deal with.”
She said students from her home had socialized in other halls before the blast and were “mixing outside their household”.
She added that the threat from university dormitory bosses that any violator of the rules could be expelled was alarming.
She said: “The threats to expel people are quite harsh. We decided as a group to be more responsible because we knew we had nowhere to go if we were expelled. This could make the students think twice.”
“The fresher week was good – too good”
First-year law student Robbie Lowe is staying in the living rooms of the University of Glasgow in Murano, the epicenter of one of the main outbreaks.
The 18-year-old man from Edinburgh shares an apartment with nine other people
Two girls in his apartment are positive. Some others have had symptoms and are awaiting test results.
He said: “The freshman week was good – maybe too good, now we see the consequences.
“I arrived on the 14th (September) and this Monday was the last day for people to mix properly, then it stopped after that and there was a police presence.”
He said a mobile test unit had been set up in front of Murano’s halls, but that some students had gone home contrary to regulations.
He said: “Some people in my block have been taken from their parents and are now isolating themselves at home. But I would not do that.
“I don’t want to expose my parents to the virus. We came here knowing it was a likely scenario, and we all just made sure we didn’t see vulnerable members of our family.”
Robbie says it’s hard to stay separated in your small apartment.
“The kitchen is small – the same size as a five-person apartment, so it’s hard to move away socially in the apartment.”
“They need PPE to be discharged”
Concerned mother Amanda of Argyll is in regular contact with her 18-year-old daughter, who lives in a five-person student apartment in the halls of Murano.
She told BBC Radio Scotland Mornings with Kay Adams: “I believe that the architect of the halls in Murano was famous for the design of the prisons. And it was a difficult and lonely situation.
“My daughter was the first in her apartment to be positive and there was some social stigma about it.”
In her apartment, Amanda’s daughter shares a bathroom and kitchen with four others, making self-isolation difficult.
Amanda said, “She has to get in the PPE to go pee. Then she has to disinfect everything – the flush, the taps, the sink, the doorknob before she can go back to her little room. That’s the last thing. which you want to do when you feel garbage.
“She can’t enter the kitchen at the same time as any of the others, so she enters there alone to cook in the PPE and has to disinfect everything again – the taps, the surfaces, the stove, the knives, if she used them.
“She ran out of fresh fruit and vegetables early and is now in stock for the dry food we sent her to Glasgow with.”
Amanda added that laundry was a problem because “not much” was done at the university for the first two weeks.
Three of the five fresheners in her apartment have tested positive for the virus now, and the other two are expecting results, but they are all isolating themselves.
Where are the cases?
The Covid clusters in Glasgow are concentrated in two residence halls, Murano Street Village and Cairncross residences, with 124 students so far positive.
The university said the actual number of infected students “is likely to be higher” and blamed social activity at the start of the fresher week, September 12-14.
It says affected students have access to food and other supplies, and that medical advice is provided, including mental health and well-being.
Elsewhere in Scotland, all 500 residents of Parker House in Dundee have been asked to isolate themselves until contact tracking is completed after three confirmed cases of coronavirus.
In Aberdeen, 72 residents of the student village of Hillhead are isolating themselves after the students are positive.
The University of Aberdeen has urged anyone who has attended Friday’s parties or other gatherings to call to support contact tracking efforts – and has vowed not to be punished for violating the instructions if it does.
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