A SELF-ISOLATING student has told university bosses “some food wouldn’t bankrupt them” after being advised to spend £220 on a two week food parcel.

First year Creative Writing student Amy Lovatt lives on the Wivenhoe campus of the University of Essex.

She said she had to self-isolate after someone from her social bubble felt unwell and had to take a coronavirus test.

The results have since come back negative but during her period of self-quarantine, Amy, 24, says it was suggested she ordered a food package from Essex Essentials.

The website is run by the university and sells everything students might need to use while living away from home from meals to cleaning items or bedding.

Southend Standard:

The special quarantine food packages, advertised as being for “self-isolating students only”, include breakfast, lunch and dinner for 14 days.

But they come with a price tag of £220.

Any orders of the meals are delivered directly to the self-isolating student so they do not have to leave their room.

But the cost of £220 was too rich for Amy’s palate and she instead called on the generosity of the wider university community to pick-up much cheaper shopping.

“I asked the university via email about getting food and the response was to suggest the meal plan,” she said.

“I did specify I only needed a few items but in the end a stranger had to go and get them for me.

“I had more help from strangers on social media than the university.

“After speaking to other people I know they say they spend just £35 a week on food so the cost of the meal plan is ridiculous.

“Considering the costs I already pay, for reduced access to learning, some food wouldn’t bankrupt them.”

A spokesman for the university said the institution is doing all it can to accommodate students during an unprecedented period.

She said:“We have a wide range of support available to students who need to self-isolate, and we have put an enormous amount of work into ensuring they have regular contact and support from our well-being team; access to uninterrupted learning and teaching; as well as access to a diverse range of food options.

"We are ensuring our students can access and choose between a wide variety of options for their food shopping and this includes negotiating delivery slots with local supermarkets (with COVID secure delivery); arranging for deliveries from local shops; publicising all local take away options; and developing free delivery options from University food outlets. 

"Our essential food boxes and food plans, which we are providing as close to cost as possible, are just one part of the very wide range of options available to our students.

"We work really closely with our Students’ Union and will always listen to their feedback and work with them to find the best way to support our students at this time.”