Stop Lancaster University profiting from self-isolating students
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Lancaster university students who are forced to self isolate are currently being asked to pay £17.95 per day for food parcels worth just £4. A quick pricing breakdown shows that, whilst the initial cost for all of the ingredients in a day comes to roughly £12 (via ASDA), this is the cost for a bulk purchase of everything needed- the real cost per portion comes down to less than £3. Factoring in the cost of distribution, this becomes £4. These parcels, which include two cold meals for breakfast and lunch, as well as a reheatable dinner, are the only practical way for many to get supplies, given a shortage of delivery slots.
By charging such extortionate prices for supplies, lancaster university is adding an additional layer of hardship to an already deeply unpleasant situation. Students are currently facing unprecedented circumstances, including the threat to their physical wellbeing posed by Covid-19, and the ever present issue of financial distress, with many unable to secure part time work to support their studies.
Charging unacceptably high rates for food delivery will exacerbate the health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, making those with symptoms less likely to isolate, and more likely to break the rules. It is also disadvantaging already vulnerable groups; many international students lack any cookware and will be forced to use this service, and many more have disabilities which prevent them from safely receiving online deliveries.
Universities have a duty to safeguard students during these uncertain times, and the provision of food is an essential part of this.
Throughout the twisted story of this pandemic, one truth has held clear- that institutions and countries which make self isolation easy, painless and without worry are the most likely to succeed in keeping cases down. Lancaster university must change this policy, or great damage will be done to students mental and potentially physical health.
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