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78% of Students Are Concerned Their Accommodation Isn't COVID-Safe

78% of Students Are Concerned Their Accommodation Isn't COVID-Safe
25 August 2021

Research has found the majority of UK students feel their accommodation could be better designed to minimise the risk of COVID on campus.

Manor Interiors, a furniture provider within the UK property market surveyed 1,034 UK students to discuss accommodation concerns.

The results have revealed concerns with ventilation, lack of sanitation and overcrowding.


Touchpoints, Ventilation and Communal Areas


We recently reported how a university's green credentials could be beneficial in attracting new students to a campus, but Manor Interiors' research shows that hygiene and COVID-safety is also top on potential students' priorities. 

For this year's intake of university students, the experience is inevitably linked to COVID safety and the resulting anxiety that can arise from that. 78 per cent of students felt their student accommodation could be improved in order to minimise the risk of catching COVID-19.

When asked which aspects of their current accommodation were the biggest cause of these concerns, space and ventilation topped the table.

A lack of ventilation and not being able to fully open windows was one of the driving factors of COVID concern while at university. A lack of open space within their student accommodation also ranked joint top as one of the biggest worries.

A lack of sanitisation in communal areas was also a worry, ranking as the third-largest concern.

The sheer volume of staff and students coming and going from student digs also ranked high on the list of concerns, along with a lack of automatic doors meaning students had to regularly touch the same door handle.

CEO of Manor Interiors, Farhan Malik, commented:

“It’s encouraging to see that despite being least at risk health-wise, the younger generation is considering the threat posed by COVID when heading to university and the vital role they play in minimising its spread.

"COVID is unlikely to disappear any time soon and it’s important that we adapt across the board to deal with it. The design of student accommodation is no different and whether it’s the delivery of new units or the redesign of older buildings, there’s plenty that can be done to minimise the risks posed by Covid.

"Space is always tight where student accommodation is concerned and health and safety requirements prevent greater levels of ventilation through fully open windows in large blocks.

However, the interiors design of these blocks can go a long way in maximising space with bespoke furniture that’s made to measure a particular area. By doing so, universities can make an immediate, cost-effective change to existing accommodation to better their offering and reduce concern among students, who already have a lot to think about having started their higher education journey.”


What Are FM Service Providers Doing to Support Students?


During 2020's initial lockdown, The Student Living by Sodexo team came up with a range of ideas to support their residents at several student accommodation sites across the UK.

Their virtual service includes live Facebook Q&A sessions with the Sodexo team, online exercise classes and a series of lessons ranging from Spanish, cookery and Salsa dancing. Students can also visit the student living website where they can read about how to manage stress, sleep hygiene and much more.

Sodexo also launched Foodiverse, an on-campus dining experience being deployed in phases to ensure a safe return for staff and students on campus. This will enable students to socialise in a safe, distanced environment.

Picture: a photograph of a student sitting on some outdoor steps, using a laptop and some over-ear headphones

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 25 August 2021


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