Fencing put up around UoM halls as security increased due to national lockdown

‘We were in a Zoom call and we saw barriers going up everywhere’

Fences have been put up around University of Manchester halls this afternoon.

The University of Manchester has since confirmed the fencing is a result of “new security measures” introduced by the university, due to the national lockdown.

There are fences around multiple UoM halls blocks, including Unsworth, Owens Park, and Oak House.

Speaking to The Manchester Tab, students said they had not been informed by the university or their halls what was happening. One said: “We were in a Zoom call and we saw barriers going up everywhere. They are slowly going up around each accommodation.”

Another student said they asked “the scaffolders out the window” what was happening, saying: “They were making jokes about locking us all in thinking we couldn’t hear.”

Whilst students speaking to The Manchester Tab said felt they had been “barricaded in”, the university has clarified that the fences are “designed to help highlight main entrance areas”. They stressed students living in the halls blocks can still come and go as they please, but the fencing is to control mixing of households, in line with the new national lockdown rules.

A University of Manchester spokesperson said: “In recent weeks we have received a number of concerns from staff and students on this site about safety and security; particularly about access by people who are not residents. We are therefore introducing new security measures out of hours at key entrance points to our campus, accommodation and main pedestrian routes to help keep our students, our staff and our community safe. As now, residents can continue to enter and leave as they please.

“Regrettably the fencing began to be installed ahead of the message being seen by halls students. We apologise for any worry that this has caused and would like to reiterate that all students who live on site can continue to come and go freely.

“We understand these are challenging times, and we are extremely grateful to all of our students who are following the guidelines and making adjustments to their lives to help keep our community safe.

“If our students in halls need support at any time they can contact their ResLife team for assistance and advice, or their Duty ResLife Advisor can also be contacted for any emergencies out of hours. For self-isolation enquiries our students should email [email protected].”

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