Words by Ewan Vellinga
Sussex students who need to self-isolate are now eligible for a support package that includes a £40 allowance for students off-campus, and a £25 allowance for students on-campus to go towards food and other essential items.
The support package has been available since 12 October, with Sussex stating that it “differs for those who are living on-campus or off-campus, but is tailored to offer the support you may need.”
The allowance is lower for students on campus as they will receive additional services, including a free laundry service, a package of cleaning products with disinfectant spray, bin bags and toilet rolls, and an optional meal service costing £15 per day.
The optional meal service includes breakfast, lunch and a hot meal for dinner, and will be provided by SussexFood. Students that choose the option can take either 1-, 7- or 14-day meal plans costing £15, £105 or £210 respectively.
Sussex has also promised a retrospective payment of £40 per week for students who were in self-isolation prior to 12 October.
Anyone that has been told by the University or the NHS Covid App to self-isolate is eligible for the package. For students on campus who have tested positive to Covid-19, Sussex will also provide a free hot meal every day, while those off-campus will be given £5 a day for a takeaway hot meal.
Students will have the allowance paid into their bank accounts or as credit into their student accounts if the university does not have their bank details. Sussex notes that it could take several days for payments to come through, possibly even after the period of self-isolation has finished.
The announcement has received criticism, with some students noting the high price of the optional meal plan. This follows earlier criticism of a food kit that Sussex offered students who were self-isolating at the beginning of term costing £25, with The Tab calculating that the contents of one kit were actually only worth £8.46.
The Metro has been similarly critical, arguing that “Sussex’s option couldn’t be further to that of Bath University, who is offering international students that need to quarantine free meals for the duration of their time stuck indoors.”
In response to The Metro, Sussex stated that “the plan is priced to cover its costs, which include preparation, packing and delivery twice a day. Each day students receive three meals, a selection of drinks and snacks – to ensure they are completely catered for.”
The university also said that they are “signposting to local supermarkets with online delivery, local food delivery services, takeaways, and the Student’s Union food options, which can also be delivered.”
The Residential Life Team will be in contact with students from 12 October onwards with information on how to access the support package, including the necessary form students need to complete if they have tested positive for Covid-19.
Additional information on how and when to self-isolate is available on the University website.