Isolated but not alone – help for York St John students during the pandemic
Published: 06 November 2020
The last few months haven’t been easy for anyone, and many university students have faced a challenging start to the academic year.
Ongoing COVID restrictions mean that all universities are teaching a blend of online lectures and face to face classes on campus, where possible. With social activity largely online and travel restrictions in place, York St John University has introduced new and expanded support services for students, especially those in self-isolation.
The Wellbeing Team has created a new service which enables students to book a wellbeing or welfare chat online or over the phone. Students can also contact the Wellbeing Service by email email@example.com or by filling in a simple form on the website.
A new UniWellBeing App offers students self-help tools and podcasts and a confidential service, CareFirst, provides information, advice and support on both emotional and practical issues. Counsellors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The university has launched an online ‘supporting you during isolation’ pack to help students who are following government guidance and self-isolating. This is a digital guide featuring essential information, wellbeing and practical support and advice on how to get help. The University has supported a number of students who are self-isolating because they, or someone in their household has symptoms, or they’ve been informed that they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive.
Positive cases and numbers of those self-isolating are monitored by the University’s COVID Coordination Centre. This operates seven days a week to carry out contact tracing and provide advice and support. The Centre also checks whether students need mental health support or a welfare check.
Director of Student Life, Debbi Boden-Angell said: “We know that our students want to do the right thing and follow the Government guidance on self-isolating, and we are supporting them to do that. It can be a worrying time for them and in some cases also a boring one, so we’ve tried to cater for their practical and wellbeing needs as well as providing some entertainment. Although numbers of those self-isolating are relatively low, we want to make sure that everyone has access to the help that they need to make the best of the situation. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our students who are self-isolating and doing their bit to keep York St John and the wider community safe.”
The Portering Team have extended their range of services to help students who find themselves isolating. The team is delivering medication, delivering mail, collecting household waste and providing support and assistance as needed. Staff have also been putting together activities that could be used by students whilst they are in self isolation. They are taking donations of board games and jigsaws to help students to pass the time in quarantine. ‘Game packs’ have been delivered help isolating students pass the time.
Dave Cowell, Head Porter said: “Some of these students are living away from home for the first time and we want to do all we can to make them feel supported. The team really like being able to help, they realize that parents will be anxious and enjoy playing their part in helping where they can. We’ve had all sorts of requests, helping with collecting their rubbish, delivering prescription, parcels, IT equipment and COVID test kits. The students have really appreciated the help and how fast the response is."
The University has also partnered with Morrisons supermarket to make their doorstep delivery service available to isolating York St John students.
Anna Lane, Morrisons Local Director, said: "This doorstep service will ensure that more people who can’t leave their home to go shopping will be able to get a delivery of affordable food.”
On campus, students are able to access self-study facilities and the library, which will extend opening hours to close at 10pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Study space will be available over the Christmas period.