CORONAVIRUS: NOTTINGHM STUDENTS SPEAK ABOUT THE NOTTINGHAM SPIKE
On Monday 19 October 2020, Gurjeet Nanrah, Community Reporter, writing in the Nottingham Post, reported the views of students about the sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the city, the problems they are facing, and the impact of universities reopening. ...
'We're doing the best we can' - Nottingham students on how virus spike is not all down to them
'I don't think it was properly considered what the impact of coming back to university would be'
Students in Nottingham have said that the city's dramatic rise in coronavirus cases is not entirely down to them, with many agreeing that a majority of them are following restrictions carefully.
Those studying at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and the University of Nottingham have said other residents in the city are perhaps focusing too much on the "negatives" and not enough on how students are struggling right now.
One student told Nottinghamshire Live she has been unable to see her boyfriend as they are in different households and has pointed out that many suggested there would be a spike if students returned as normal.
For many students aged 18 or 19 in their first years, their time in Nottingham since last month is the first time they have been away from home, and they are now having to isolate away from family and friends.
Jude Parkinson, 18, from Durham, is a first-year costume design student at NTU.
She said: "It's been really difficult for us. We're not able to socialise or make friends, even in lectures because everything is online pretty much.
"We're being blamed for rises when it was the government who decided to send us back.
"In my opinion, there's been good support from the university but it's still difficult for us when this has largely been our first time away from home."
In the seven days to October 11, the number of coronavirus cases in Nottingham rose to 922.2 per 100,000 when compared to 609.8 in the previous week.
20-year-old Jasmine Meredith is a graphic design student in her third year at NTU from Suffolk who added: "I don't think we can be blamed for coming back here and the virus spreading again.
"It was decided the universities should reopen and lots of people said a spike would happen.
"I don't think it was properly considered what the impact of coming back to university would be.
"Now that we can't mix households, it can be difficult. I can't see my boyfriend or other friends, and I struggle to get on with the people I live with, to be honest."
Kiran Singh, a 19-year-old sociology student in her first year at NTU, said: "I feel a lot of people are only seeing the negatives right now and don't see students struggling. We are paying £9,000 and missing out on a lot.
"I think people need to focus more on themselves and people they know breaking the rules.
"I have friends here in the city who have stuck to the rules all along but are having to isolate because of others. It's not fair to put us all together."
Ethan Duke, a third-year politics student at the University of Nottingham is 20.
He said: "The spread of the virus was always going to happen because students would have been social to some degree no matter what.
"Most students are doing as well as we can but a few who can't stick to the rules are giving us a bad name. We're doing the best we can.
"Everyone in my house does different sports or goes to the gym - all things we're allowed to do - but the virus can still spread like that when we're within the rules."
While an exact number has not been provided for NTU, active coronavirus cases at the University of Nottingham peaked at a total of 1,530 on October 9.
Josh Blake, 20, is a third-year aerospace engineering student at the University of Nottingham from Reading.
He lives in Lenton and said: "It's quite clear a lot of the locals have a negative view of us right now, no matter how much we follow the rules.
"It's obviously not just students breaking rules and regardless, we can easily pick the virus up doing things we're allowed to do like sport.
"We're not the best people to judge what we can or can't do in relation to the virus and I don't think we try to be."
A spokesperson from the University of Nottingham Students' Union said: "The University of Nottingham Students’ Union would firstly like to say a massive thank you to all our students who have been complying with the ever-changing and ridiculously confusing government Covid-19 guidance.
"We know it has been difficult but your ability to adapt in this turbulent time has been amazing. This is perfectly shown in the over 30 online events that our student groups have put on for Black History Month.
"However, it is clear that some media are not so positive about the tenacity of our students, scapegoating all students for others’ mistakes so it is imperative for us to work alongside the University to get this image changed and to improve the student experience as much as we can."
"Nottingham's two universities, along with council leaders and public health colleagues, continue to urge our students and staff to protect themselves and others by adhering to the new restrictions announced by the Government.
"Teaching, research activities, and support for our students will continue as blended provision, with some activity on campus and some online, as Government has encouraged universities to do.
"We are proud that the vast majority of our students are doing the right thing. However, under our Student Codes of Conduct there are serious consequences for those students who do not, including disciplinary action and fines in addition to any penalties imposed by the police.
In a joint statement, Professor Edward Peck, vice-chancellor at Nottingham Trent University and Professor Shearer West, vice-chancellor at the University of Nottingham, said: "We all share a personal responsibility in helping to turn the tide and reduce the spread of the virus in the city and region we are proud to be part of.