Cardiff University Covid support ‘too little too late’

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‘It feels like I’ve paid £9,000 for five new friends and a couple of Zoom classes,’ says Ellie Cooper

A student who is self-isolating at Cardiff University has said coronavirus support feels “too little too late”.

Ellie Cooper, 19, is a first year International Relations student and is self-isolating with four others after a flatmate tested positive.

She said that four out of six flats in her student accommodation block are isolating due to positive cases.

Cardiff University said it was “deeply concerned” to learn of students’ experiences.

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Emails, seen by BBC Wales, sent to students by the university on Sunday, said a mobile testing unit, run by Public Health Wales (PHW), will operate at Talybont student accommodation from Monday.

It also said a university screening service for those without symptoms would begin on Tuesday and offered students a free laundry service and £20 voucher to spend in the “student marketplace”.

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Students at the Talybont South halls are having to isolate

But Ms Cooper, from Taunton, Somerset, said she felt “left in the dark” about the spread of cases in student accommodation.

She said she was unable to use the university’s coronavirus screening service last week as she was not showing symptoms, but university staff and NHS Test and Trace have told her to self-isolate.

“They should’ve had this information in place earlier, it is too little too late. So we wouldn’t have had to panic and go and look for other support,” she said.

“They should’ve known we would get corona, even if you didn’t go out lots. People interact all the time here, just going to the laundry, or at the gym,” she said.

University ‘deeply concerned’

Ms Cooper said isolating in her accommodation has been a “curve-ball”.

“All I’m doing is sitting in my room, it feels like I’ve paid £9,000 for five new friends and a couple of zoom classes,” she said.

“Our tiny kitchen has two barely functioning fridges and a radiator that doesn’t turn off. It feels like you’re dying in a tiny space.”

A Cardiff University spokesperson said: “We recognise that this is an extremely difficult and challenging time for all our students – especially those in our residences experiencing life away from home, often for the very first time.

“Whilst we’re unable to comment on an individual case, we are deeply concerned to learn of their experience.”

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