A Covid outbreak in Chamberlain has left at least 13 flats self-isolating

Freshers are only finding out about the outbreak via group chats

A Covid outbreak in Chamberlain halls has left at least 13 flats isolating with either symptoms or a positive test.

While some students in isolation tell The Birmingham Tab they’re comfortable with the level of care and support they are being given, others feel confused and unsatisfied with the way the situation is being dealt with.

One student, Elizabeth, telling the Birmingham Tab “it may seem clear until you are finally faced with the situation and you are at a bit of a loss as to what to do and who to contact”.


The Birmingham Tab spoke to freshers in Chamberlain who said at least 13 flats were self-isolating after a number of positive tests.

However, the freshers had learned this not through communication from the uni, but through group chats set up by students.

Elizabeth, who lives in Chamberlain and is studying politics with sociology, says food parcels delivered to the isolating flat “weren’t really sufficient to share between six.”

Evie – Elizabeth’s housemate – says her boyfriend, who lives in Tennis Courts and is isolating alone, “got more food than we did just for him!” She also expressed her frustration that some food parcels are not even delivered properly, as “lots of deliveries are being left downstairs but as we are isolating we can’t go and get them.”

Upon testing positive, students are required to get in touch with the university and accommodation staff, but the proper ways to do this aren’t widely known and understood by everyone.

Elizabeth  explained that when her flatmate tested positive first, she “finally worked out what forms she needed to fill out for the uni and was later able to help the others who tested positive.”

Evie told us that “the forms to fill out to tell the university we were isolating were really easy to access and complete”, but that if she had been the one to test positive first instead of her flatmate, she never saw a “step by step guide” of what to do, so perhaps would have struggled more.

Once the accommodation was alerted and the flats began their isolation, many students, such as Juliet, studying criminology, and her flatmates, felt as though they were “well supported”, as a student mentor team phoned them “all individually to make sure that we were ok and let us know that they would be there for us to talk to, which was really appreciated.”

Evie confirmed this, saying “Birmingham have been so good though! Daily calls from the welfare team to check up on us and to make sure we are all okay.”

A UoB spokesperson said: “We have a wide range of measures in place to help support students who have tested positive for COVID-19 and for students who are self-isolating, either because they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive or for other reasons. Naturally, we will not provide specific details on cases in order to maintain confidentiality. However, any student who is identified as being a close contact of someone who has tested positive is being told and offered support to self-isolate.

“All students in University or Partner Accommodation who have tested positive or are self-isolating are being supported with regular wellbeing phone calls and complimentary food parcels. We are also providing support with ordering anything they need during their isolation. In addition, College wellbeing teams are working to support students with their studies and picking up any concerns that may come up. We understand there have been difficulties in some cases with external deliveries, and we are working to address those challenges directly with delivery companies.

“All COVID-19 cases are reported to a central oversight group at the University, which consists of senior members of staff, so there is a central understanding of all cases and where they might be. Every case is reported to the Birmingham City Council Public Health Team and West Midlands Public Health England, who are in support of our approach. Further information on support offered can be found here: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/study/accommodation/our-services/self-isolation-support/rules.aspx

“If isolating students have any concerns while they are isolating, we’re keen they contact their local accommodation team so we can resolve any issues.”

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