Self-Isolating Students Are Being Given ‘Out-Of-Date Food’ And Believe Universities Are ‘Profiting’ From Pandemic

Self-isolating students have been criticising the food packages that are being delivered from the universities, as they say that the food is “out-of-date” and they now believe that the university is making a profit from the pandemic. 

Students who have been forced to self-isolate in accommodation due to the coronavirus pandemic have lashed out at universities over the food packages they are receiving.

Some of the students claim that the food they are being given is out-of-date whilst others have been questioning the overall quality of the products.

Across the UK, thousands of students are isolating due to there being COVID-19 outbreaks. This means they have no choice but to stay in their halls or accommodation.

Two students from Edinburgh University have criticised the conditions of the main halls and have said they’re “prison-like” and “unacceptable”.

Tess Bailie, 18, has urged the university to start providing more support for the isolating students.

She told EdinburghLive: “Our first worry was when we realised the university hadn’t done enough to mitigate the risk of suicide. If nothing is done, suicide is going to kill more of us here than COVID.

“We got one email with some loose advice that seemed designed to cover a few legal bases, but it didn’t go far enough. We’re calling for active and genuine support.

“And not just mental health support, we need practical support as well – like edible food.

“Many students are self-isolating and if so, they’re told they mustn’t leave their rooms for two weeks. The catering service is supposed to bring them food, but many students have told us that they’re not getting anything to eat until 3 pm. Some not until around 6 pm.

“Then there are issues with dietary requirements. You fill out a form about your dietary requirements but they’re not met.

“One Muslim student’s meals contained meat for several days in a row.

“And today, everyone in Ewing house received an out of date bread roll.”

She also said that students have been buying supplies for themselves as they are being given cold sandwiches instead of cooked meals for days on end – despite the fact they’ve already prepaid for hot meals.

It has been revealed by EdinburghLive that fellow Edinburgh University fresher Mollie McKenzie was given a “Mars bars and croissant” after she informed the university she was vegan.

Mollie’s mum has hit out at the prestigious university on social media. She wrote: “My daughter is in quarantine in her halls in Edinburgh.

“They said they would deliver food- she advised she is vegan,  @EdinburghUni  sent a Mars bar and croissant  #chaotic.”

A University of Edinburgh spokesperson stated: “University staff are working hard to provide care and support – including mental health support – for all students who are required to self-isolate by the Scottish Government.

“Catering staff will provide three meals a day for all students living in University-provided accommodation. These meals are available in vegan and gluten-free options to ensure that all dietary requirements are met.”

Meanwhile, students at Lancaster University claim that they are being charged £17.95 a day for food parcels which they believe would cost just £4 to make.

For those in the halls that have tested positive for COVID-19, they have access to a package of three meals which includes a cold breakfast, cold lunch and an evening meal which needs to be reheated on arrival.

The university’s website says that these packaged meals cost £17.95 a day per person and are only available to on-campus students.

Many students have criticised the food packages and have pointed out that paying £17.95 a day is more money than they have budgeted for the week, Manchester Evening News reports.

Bhavreet Dulku is studying Politics, International Relations and Management.

Student Bhavreet Dulku tweeted: “My uni charging £17 a day for food if you have to isolate is an absolute shambles. How can they expect everyone on budgets to be able to afford that??”

A petition has been launched on by students who say that a quick price breakdown shows what the real cost of the food is per day, including the delivery price of £4.

Lancaster University has explained that this isn’t the only option available to students and that they can still order delivery food slots online if they would prefer.

However, students believe that the food packages are the only practical way for them to get food whilst isolating, especially as there is a shortage of delivery slots available.

The petition says: “By charging such extortionate prices for supplies, Lancaster University is adding an additional layer of hardship to an already deeply unpleasant situation.”

“Students are currently facing unprecedented circumstances, including the threat to their physical wellbeing posed by COVID-19, and the ever-present issue of financial distress, with many unable to secure part-time work to support their studies.

“It is also disadvantaging already vulnerable groups; many international students lack any cookware and will be forced to use this service, and many more have disabilities which prevent them from safely receiving online deliveries.

“Lancaster University must change this policy, or great damage will be done to students mental and potentially physical health.”

Lancaster Univerity’s £17.95 per day food menu.

A spokesperson for Lancaster University commented: “We recognise self-isolating can be a difficult and stressful time for our students.

“To make life a little easier we have provided an opt-in meal delivery service for any self-isolating students wishing to have fresh food prepared and cooked for them and delivered to their door.

“We are charging less than we would for our normal dining-in restaurant and café offer, despite additional costs of delivery and disposable containers.

“Students are not obliged to use this service and still have access to their own kitchens, alternative shopping and takeout food delivery services.

“The package consists of three meals per day that are prepared daily by chefs using fresh ingredients in our own kitchens.

“The meals are delivered to the student’s accommodation and social distancing procedures are carefully observed.

“The meal delivery service is an additional provision made available to support students that wish to have their meals provided to them in this way.”

Do you have a story for us? If so, email us at [email protected]. All contact will be treated in confidence.