UEA has offered accommodation to NHS frontline officers during the on-going pandemic. After allowing students early release from their accommodation contracts, UEA has offered the empty rooms to NHS staff. There are currently 68 Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH) and Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCHC) staff staying in campus accommodation.
Staying in these rooms allows them to isolate from family members that may be more vulnerable to COVID-19, and to commute to work without the use of public transport. With the campus being within walking distance of both the NNUH site and NCHC Colman hospital, it serves as a great location for NHS staff.
Accommodation Manager Lead at NNUH, Sarah Smith, said “This extra accommodation facility offered during the COVID-19 pandemic has provided staff with somewhere to stay and continue to work close by to the Trust.
“This has enabled us to provide essential accommodation for extra staff brought in, and staff sheltering away from their homes where they have family members in one of the high-risk groups.”
The university made the decision to allow students to be released from their contract early in March, and since then thousands of students have vacated their rooms to stay with family at this time. However, university launderettes, the SU shop, and cleaning services continue to operate for the hundreds of students who remain on campus.
UEA’s Head of Accommodation Services, Paul Bailey, said: “We’ve tried to be as flexible as possible with students to give them some certainty during these unprecedented times. Students have been given the option to remain, leave and vacate their rooms, or leave but store their belongings. I’d like to add that we do have capacity for more NHS staff to stay with us, so we’d encourage anyone who thinks they would benefit, to contact their Trust to find out more.”
In concern of student safety, those that remain on campus, Mr Bailey also assured that the staff were not staying in buildings with any students remaining.
“All NHS staff currently staying on campus are in separate flats to our students residents. We would advise all those living on our campus to follow COVID-19 government guidance, including around social distancing, hygiene and travel.”