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COVID-19 and its effect on students

Universities have had their hand full dealing with the current COVID-19 crisis, which has; seem to have overtaken every household’s conversations across the world.  Exams have been cancelled all over the country, and international students have been told to return home.

The majority of courses at universities have shifted to online teaching and exams to prevent the spread of coronavirus but many students still remain anxious. Students have signed petitions, urging their respective universities to make the shift to online teaching and learning as fast as possible. Some universities have even reported cases of COVID-19 on campus.

Medical schools across the country have ended clinical teaching however health care students are very worried about their excessive exposure to the virus, as many are still on hospital placements with trainee nurses and doctors being sent straight into the firing line. Many students feel as if there aren’t enough measures in place to minimize the risks they face on a day-to-day basis.

This disruption to study follows the UCU strikes, which affected teaching and assessments during a month of strikes over pay and pensions by lecturers and assorted staff members.  Many students are worried about the amount of teaching time lost and the education that they pay thousands of pounds for.

Alongside missed classes, there is mass uncertainty over how long students will have accommodation for and how this could increase already widespread mental health problems across campuses. Students have no idea what the next six months hold, which is especially tough for final year students who are anxiously waiting to hear back on how they will be assessed for their final exams, when and if graduation will be happening and their overall result. Overseas students have also been encouraged to fly home, with the anticipation of travel bans looming. Ane Fjermestad Thunam, a 2nd Year Economics student said, “Even though we receive online teaching, this has affected me negatively. It is harder for me to study at home and find concentrating difficult while all this is going on. I am also worried that the virus will continue to spread over summer and I wont be able to come back to London from Norway after the summer for my 3rd year’’

During a crisis like this, it is important to band together and support each other. With social distancing now in place, we all need to be careful to look after our physical and mental wellbeing. Do make time to exercise, and also reach out to your fellow students. QMUL also have wellbeing services available to support us.

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