“Covid still exists”: Do NTU students feel Covid-safe on campus?

After being back on campus for a week, in the wake of mainly studying remotely for over a year due to coronavirus, Yasmin Turner asked NTU students how comfortable they feel as the country is getting back to normal.

For many, returning to campus was a daunting task last week. “What classes am I in?”, “Who’s in my class?”, “What work do I already need to get done?” were all questions going through students’ minds.

However, there are now added dilemmas surrounding Covid-19 to think about, such as “Do I need to wear a mask on campus?” and “Do we still have to social distance?”.

Students returned on campus last Monday, September 27 (Credit: Rucsandra Moldoveanu)

The previous legal requirement was that everyone, unless exempt, had to wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces.

However, this was removed in England along with mostly all the other Covid-related restrictions on Freedom Day, July 19.

Nottingham Trent University, amongst other universities across the country, has followed the government’s guidelines and left the wearing of masks up to personal choice.

Additional advice says, however, to “please be mindful of those around you, and wear a face covering when in a crowded space”.  

The number of positive Covid cases is, unfortunately, on the rise across Nottingham, so how are students feeling now that they are back on campus?  

Out of the 20 students who were interviewed on campus, only two commented they did not feel safe on campus, whilst the rest said they did feel safe.  

Daisy Ward, an NTU English Literature student, said: “Yes, the campus is safe, with lots of wipes and hand sanitiser available, but everyone has just been to Freshers.

“There is also some politics around [regarding] when to wear a face mask or not.” 

Another NTU student, James Worrall, studying Biomedical Engineering, agreed the campus felt safe and added: “Yes, it feels pretty safe compared to other places.” 

NTU has adopted various additional ways to help students feel safe, including enhanced cleaning and ventilation across campus.

Students have the option to pick up home testing kits from campus.

NTU students can pick up home testing kits from campus (Credit: Rucsandra Moldoveanu)

A drop-in vaccination clinic was also available on City Campus last week, with one to follow this Wednesday on Brackenhurst Campus.

All 20 of the interviewed students have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

However, the latest government figures show Nottingham has the fifth-highest percentage of unvaccinated young people (aged 18 – 29) in the UK, with 44 per cent, just behind Liverpool’s 45.7 per cent.

One NTU student, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed they do not feel safe on campus.

They said: “There is still a chance of coming into contact with Covid.

“I think that more should be done by the uni to make students aware Covid still exists.” 

With Nottingham’s rising infection rate, the city is looking at returning to the expectation that everyone should wear a face mask on public transport and in enclosed spaces, after Public Health bosses briefed the media in Nottinghamshire on October 1. 

Lead image: Yasmin Turner

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