Isolating Manc Fresher told his request for help getting food is ‘unmanageable’ by Uni

He said: ‘I just don’t think there has been enough support’

A University of Manchester fresher, isolating in halls with coronavirus, asked for help to buy food, only to be told by the uni his request was “unmanageable”.

Speaking to Manchester Evening News, he said he checked the university’s website and discovered information about a “buddy system” which the university had in place for students isolating with the virus.

The website said: “If you live in a university hall of residence, we will ensure you have a buddy in place to assist you with day-to-day activities such a food shopping and our ResLife teams will stay in touch with you over the phone.”

However, the 19-year-old told Manchester Evening News that he was met with “a surprising response” when he contacted his delegated ResLife volunteer.

Instead of receiving the support advertised by the University, he was told that: “A buddy isn’t something the university can provide as you can imagine how unmanageable that would be for just the 1,000 students in Oak, never mind the 6,000 more across the campuses”.

The student was subsequently told to find someone in his flat “who isn’t showing symptoms and hasn’t tested positive” to “go out for essential supplies as long as they wear a mask and maintain social distance”.

The student told the Manchester Evening News that he and his flat felt “shocked” and let down by the lack of support offered by the university. He said: “I just don’t think there has been enough support, we had to sort everything ourselves. Now they have started to organise some help but it’s a bit late.”

The University of Manchester’s website has now changed, and no longer offers the buddy system to isolating students.

Fortunately, the student and his flat were eventually able to find someone who hadn’t tested positive to go and get them food supplies.

A University of Manchester spokesperson said: “The safety and wellbeing of our students is the University’s primary concern and we will support them in every way we can.

“We have put in place a comprehensive support package for all students who are self-isolating, that includes a partnership with a major food retailer, delivery of parcels, support on wellbeing and practical matters such as laundry and prescription medicine.

“For further support, all our accommodation in Fallowfield has a ResLife team on site where they can go for all the latest advice and information.

“As a University we are doing all we can to keep our students, staff and the wider Manchester community safe, by working in partnership with Manchester City Council, Manchester Student Homes and all Greater Manchester universities.”

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