What will student accommodation be like when university starts after summer?

10 Jun 2020
By Unite Students, Staff writer at The Common Room

There’s no doubt about it. The past few months have been some of the most challenging we’ve faced for a while.

The uncertainty that comes with a global pandemic has been felt by everyone, and there must be a lot of questions going through your mind right now. I can’t answer them all. But I can help to settle a few of your worries.

Listening is vital at a time like this, so that’s exactly what we did. To truly understand your concerns, we polled a number of students so they had the opportunity to tell us how they’re feeling. Here’s what they said.

What’s on your mind?

A massive 89% of you told us that you’re keen to get on campus when it’s safe to do so. In fact, 79% of you said that living away from home and being on campus is as important a part of the university experience as lectures and tutorials.

And although most of you have been asked to practise remote learning, only 14% of students actually prefer this way of studying.

University has always been about more than just studying. It may sound cliche, but it’s a chance to find out who you are, discover where your interests lie and create some great friendships.

While the majority of you are understandably concerned about the disruption that coronavirus may have on your studies, 79% of you fear the impact it could have on socialising. With two thirds of you also telling us that you’re concerned about feeling isolated and lonely, it’s clear just how important it is to feel connected.

We know you want the full university experience without your health and safety being at risk, and we’re determined to make this possible. That’s why we’ve made these seven pledges to you.

So what will student accommodation actually be like?

But what will student accommodation actually be like when university starts, as we expect it to, in autumn? Below, I’ll explain how we’re getting things ready for you.

Cleaning to the highest standards

As we all know, hygiene is a vital part of keeping coronavirus at bay. Washing our hands regularly is one of the most important things we can do to help make this happen. That’s why all of our properties will have hand sanitiser stations. With these in place, anyone coming in or out of the building will have an additional way to help keep their hands clean.

We’ll also be making sure all common areas and high-touch points are cleaned thoroughly and regularly, while every single student room is going through a six-stage cleaning and inspection process before you’ve even moved in.

Preparing for social distancing

Social distancing has become a big part of our lives. Although the coronavirus situation has been improving, we may still need to use it in some form in the months ahead.

You’ll still share a flat with other students, but you may notice protective screens at reception and floor markings in common areas. These are designed to help you socially distance when you can.

Using technology to help keep you safe

Where would we be without technology? It’s helped keep us all stay connected throughout this pandemic, with virtual quizzes and group video calls becoming the norm. It’s going to help keep you safe in your student accommodation too.

For a start, you’ll be able to check into your accommodation through the MyUnite app, limiting how many people you need to come into contact with. You can also use the app to log a maintenance request if something isn’t working in your flat. No reception visit necessary.

And get this - you can even check in the app to see if there are any washing machines free, saving you a needless journey to the laundry room.

Giving you support when you need it

University has its challenges at the best of times, and we understand that the recent coronavirus situation has only added to that. But, it’s important to remember that we’ll be there for you.

Our Emergency Contact Centre is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while each of our cities has a dedicated welfare lead who is there to help when you need them.

If you just want to talk openly about your wellbeing and how you’re feeling, you could also chat with student volunteers through our partnership with Nightline.

Staying connected in uncertain times

Feeling like you’re part of a family or community can have a huge impact on your comfort and happiness, which is why it’s so important for student accommodation to get it right.

All of our rooms come with high-speed broadband internet, which is perfect for online lectures, video calls with friends or streaming a whole Netflix series in one day. With spacious shared kitchens and living areas, it’s easy to feel like part of a family in your flat too.

Want to start making friends before you’ve even moved into your flat? No problem, the MyUnite app lets you connect and get to know the people you’ll be living with, giving you a head start on your social life at uni.

Want to find out more about how we’ll keep you safe? This is our pledge to you.

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Staff writer at The Common Room