Thursday, 22 Oct 2020

Manchester students say they weren't told of halls lockdown until security came

While hundreds of university students are experiencing lockdown in their accommodations currently, some were not even given a warning that this would be the case. 

For some students the Birely campus, this was the case, as they described their confusion when security staff arrived to enforce the measures on Friday.  

Which was before many of them had even received any official university communication about what was happening. 

Students at Manchester Metropolitan University have been told to stay in their rooms for the mandated 14-days as the university reported 127 positive results for coronavirus. Since then, 1,700 students are on lockdown at the Birely campus and Cambridge Halls. 

Dominic Waddell, a first-year filmmaking student, told PA: ‘A few people got an email to announce they were locking down my accommodation, but not everyone got that so there was a big freak-out with everyone.

‘There was a security guard that then just arrived at the gate of our accommodation and he wasn’t letting anybody leave, not really explaining what was going on,’ he said.

Mr Waddell, 21, now faces spending the next two weeks with 11 other people that he had only met two weeks ago. 

‘They’re saying ‘the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff and the local community is our top priority’ but it doesn’t really seem like that if they haven’t allowed us time to prepare for this.

‘Even if they’d just given us 12 hours notice that would have been something,’ he added. 

Megan Tingey, a 19-year-old criminology student, explained a similar experience but said police also turned up outside her Birley Vine accommodation.

‘It was quite scary and confusing,’ she told PA. 

‘A police van turned up and there were police outside the gate, quite a lot of them just walking around looking at everyone, especially because we didn’t know what was going on.

“No one’s really told us much and then the police turn up as well with security outside – it’s a really, really difficult situation.”

Despite all her friends receiving an email from the university about the new measures, she said that she still has not received anything by Saturday afternoon. 

She went on to tell PA that nearly all students in the building have finished their two week isolation period so this new building lockdown is ‘quite bad considering we’ve all just come out of it’.

She told PA she briefly had a mild cough but none of her flatmates was now showing any symptoms.

Many students were left wondering when they’d be able to buy food after they were told abruptly that they could no longer leave their student halls. 

Mr Waddell adds: ‘Lots of people are very angry. People are jokingly saying we’ll rush the gates and stuff.

‘There’s a lot of confusion, frustration, worry that you’re not going to be able to get food – I think that’s the main worry,’ he said. 

Ms Tingey believes that the university should provide the students with a refund while Mr Waddell hopes that the university will step in and help students who are suffering under the new lockdown with food care packages. 

Most parts of Greater Manchester have been subject to local lockdowns since July as part of the governments plans to control the spread of the virus.

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