Five questions to ask in a COVID world

When looking for student digs, it’s important you make sure you have everything covered — including how to keep yourself safe, and what the accommodation provider has in place to help you. Here are five questions you should ask when researching your accommodation options in a COVID world.

1. How are unis implementing social distancing measures and keeping the entrances and communal areas clean?

Think about questions like:

  • ‘Is there a one-way system?’
  • ‘What are the rules on external visitors?’
  • ‘How many people are allowed in communal areas at once?’

This will give you a better indication of what to expect and what to do when you move in.

In a pandemic, cleanliness is everything! There is no harm in asking how frequently communal areas and things like the lifts and stairs are cleaned to put your mind at rest. Remember though, it’s still important to wash your hands when you get back to your uni halls after being in a public place.

2. What will happen if there is a second wave or a local lockdown while I’m at uni?

If you’re staying put during a second wave or a local lockdown, there are a few things to consider.

  • Check out which supermarkets deliver to your student accommodation so you’re well prepared.
  • If you’re staying on campus, it’s worth asking the uni if on-site shops and cafes will be kept open and how they can support your living arrangements. 

3. Would I still need to pay rent if I have to move back home due to a second wave or local lockdown?

Unfortunately, you will probably still need to pay rent. However, in some cases unis have agreed to waive or defer the fees, so there’s no harm in asking if this is possible if you find yourself in this situation.

4. What should I do if I or one of my housemates develops symptoms?

The latest government advice is that if you or someone you live with has symptoms or has tested positive, you must self-isolate immediately for 14 days. If this happens to you and you’re concerned about missing out on your studies, let the uni know and they can advise if there are online resources available.

5. If I have any concerns about my living situation, who can I talk to?

Your uni will be doing everything they can to ensure your safety and wellbeing remains protected. But, if you have any concerns, get in touch with the accommodation office – you can usually find their contact details on the uni website or in your enrolment pack. Equally, if you're with a private accommodation provider speak to them to see if they can help.

Make sure you keep up-to-date with all the latest COVID-19 information, advice, and guidance, on the GOV.UK website