Manchester Met students get two-week rent rebate amid lockdown struggles

29 September 2020, 05:55 | Updated: 29 September 2020, 10:34

Manchester Metropolitan University Students are to get a two-week rent rebate
Manchester Metropolitan University Students are to get a two-week rent rebate. Picture: Getty

By Kate Buck

By Kate Buck

Manchester Metropolitan University students who have been locked down due to a spike in coronavirus cases will be given a two-week rent rebate, it has been announced.

Currently two halls of residence - around 1,500 students - have been told to self-isolate on campus after 137 Covid-19 cases were confirmed.

But anger has been growing at the 'vile' conditions students are reporting to be living in, and confusion has grown over whether students are permitted to return to their homes to self-isolate in.

The amount of rebate students will receive is between £112 a week and £159 a week.

Those affected will also receive a £50 supermarket gift card, and local supermarkets have freed up delivery slots so those who are isolating can still have groceries delivered.

A Manchester Metropolitan University student living at halls placed under quarantine has previously told LBC how his flat was placed in another two week lockdown with little notice after he and his flatmates had already been self-isolating for a fortnight.

Dan Johnson, a 20-year-old drama and contemporary theatre student said the lack of communication was"frustrating" and showed how food waste had been left in the flat for days on the orders of accommodation staff.

n the exclusive footage, he revealed an "absolutely vile" pile of bin bags that had been left in the flat's storage room - waiting for a member of staff to collect them.

Dan added: "We were told that we can't take the bins down - we were told we have to double bag them and leave them in a cupboard for three days and then someone will come a collect them.

Read more: Manchester police say enforcing university quarantine is 'not a policing issue'

Read more: Which universities have Covid-19 outbreaks and where are students isolating?

"The smell is absolutely vile - there's 10 of us living in this flat so the amount of bins we have to take out is quite a lot."

Manchester Met's rebate comes after after Glasgow University said it will refund all students in halls of residence one month's rent, along with a £50 payment for food, amid an outbreak of coronavirus cases there.

Over the weekend fears were raised among a number of students at Manchester Metropolitan University that they were being falsely imprisoned in their accommodation, with human rights lawyers questioning the legality of security staff enforcing a 14-day isolation period.

Students described being scared and confused as their accommodation was locked down on Friday, after 127 people tested positive for coronavirus.

They were later told the decision, made in conjunction with Public Health England and Manchester City Council, was "deemed necessary" to prevent the spread of the virus to other students, staff or the community.

But Prof Press told Sky News on Monday: "We were asked to ensure (students) would self-isolate because there had been an outbreak of Covid into halls of residence.

Read more: Government 'planning social lockdown' in coronavirus hotspots

"We're advising students on the rules, what they should do, we're supporting them, but the idea that they're not able to leave is just not true I'm afraid.

"Students are free to go should they wish to and a small number of students have gone home in a Covid-secure way."

Prof Press also said there had been some "miscommunication" within the university over students being asked to remove posters.

"We've retracted that information, students are very free to put posters up and we obviously value freedom of speech, and it's just regretful that there was a message sent out in error," he said.

Meanwhile supermarket chain Morrisons has announced a "Serve our Students" food box delivery service to support those self-isolating in halls of residence.

Launching at Manchester Metropolitan University before expanding to other institutions, the service will allow students to order from a selection of boxes on Monday for delivery by early evening on Tuesday.

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