Hundreds of students have been asked to self-isolate in their halls of residence following Covid outbreaks at several Scottish universities.

They include 600 at the University of Glasgow and another 500 at Abertay University in Dundee. So what’s it like to self-isolate in a student flat?

One student, who is self isolating because of positive cases in her student household, told the BBC she has had to adapt quickly.

She said: “Being asked to isolate in uni halls isn’t the best. It’s not like in your own house where you might have a garden and your own bathroom and a separate room to work in and sleep in.

“Most of the time is spent in my bedroom. It’s nice but it can get me down a bit. I get out of bed, take two steps to my desk and that’s what I do for most of the day.

“We share our bathrooms – there are five showers for eight of us which is plenty but we have designated two for the people who have tested positive so we have tried to contain the virus within our household.”

“I am slowly running out of food. I’ve only been here a week and haven’t done a big food shop. I have been using up the few things I brought with me. It’s another stressor to deal with.”

She said students from her accommodation had socialised in other halls before the outbreak and had been “mingling outside their household”.

She added the threat from the university accommodation bosses that anyone breaking rules may be evicted was worrying.

She said: “Threats to kick people out are quite harsh. We took a decision as a group to be more responsible because we knew we didn’t have somewhere to go if we got kicked out. It might make students think twice.”

Concerned mum Amanda from Argyll is in regular contact with her 18-year-old daughter who is living in a five-person student flat within Murano Halls in Glasgow, the epicentre of one of the main outbreaks.

She told BBC Radio Scotland’s Mornings with Kaye Adams: “I believe the architect of the Murano Halls was famed for prison designs. And it has been a tough and lonely situation.

“My daughter was the first in her flat to test positive and there was a bit of a social stigma to that.”

In her flat, Amanda’s daughter shares a bathroom and a kitchen with four others, which makes self-isolating difficult.

Amanda said: “She has to get into PPE to go for a pee. Then she has to disinfect everything – the flusher, the taps, the sink, the door handle before she can go back to her tiny room. It’s the last thing you want to do when you are feeling rubbish.

“She can’t access the kitchen at the same time as any of the others so she goes in there alone to cook in PPE and again has to disinfect everything – the taps, the surfaces, the cooker, knives if she has used them.

“She ran out of fresh fruit and veg early and is now on to the stock of dried food we sent her to Glasgow with.”

Amanda also said that laundry was an issue because “not much” was done in the first two weeks at university.

Three of the five freshers in her flat have tested positive for the virus now and the other two are awaiting results, but they are all self-isolating.

The Covid clusters in Glasgow are centred on two halls of residence, the Murano Street Village and Cairncross residences, with 124 students testing positive so far.

The university said the actual number of infected students was “likely to be higher” and blamed social activity at the start of freshers’ week, from 12 to 14 September.

It said the affected students had access to food and other supplies, and that advice on medical issues – including mental health and wellbeing – was also being made available.

Elsewhere in Scotland, all 500 residents at Parker House in Dundee have been asked to self-isolate until contact tracing is complete after three confirmed coronavirus cases.

Aberdeen University has urged anyone who has attended parties or other gatherings since Friday to come forward to aid contact tracing efforts – and promised they will not be punished for breaching guidance if they do.

The six-month scheme sees the government pay a share of wages lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.


News – What’s it like to self-isolate in a student flat?