Is it right for UEA to charge self-isolating students £84 a week for food?

University of East Anglia is charging self-isolating students £84 a week for food packages. Picture:

University of East Anglia is charging self-isolating students £84 a week for food packages. Picture: EDP Library - Credit: Archant

The University of East Anglia is offering self-isolating students a two-week food package for £168 - but is the price too high?

Students who are in isolation for two weeks due to coronavirus have been given the option of a three meal a day delivery by The Campus Kitchen, which costs £12 a day.

Breakfast items include cereal and yoghurt, lunch is a salad or sandwich and dinner is a choice of two main courses. All meals come with various side dishes and soft drinks.

But the university has been accused of “squeezing every single penny” out of students and exploiting the pandemic for commercial gain.

Earlier in the week, the cost of the same food package had been £252 for two weeks. Students who paid the original price have been promised a refund.

But for Eve Jackson, a midwifery student at the university, the reduced price is still “ridiculous.”

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The 22-year-old, who lives in Norwich, said: “No single person’s weekly, or fortnightly, shop would cost that much unless they are shopping at places like Waitrose.

“UEA does not actually seem to care about their students and their wellbeing. They’re far more concerned with how they can squeeze every single penny out of us.”

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Em Anderson, welfare, community and diversity officer at the UEA student’s union, said they were “pleased” and “supportive” of the revised price.

She added: “Looking around the sector we have also seen some great instances of how institutions are supporting their isolating and quarantining students, for example providing free food for up to the first three days, supplying toiletries, and ensuring provisions are accessible to students living off as well as on campus. We’d love to work with UEA to offer similar support to our students.”

A UEA spokesperson said: “Students are being given assistance to self-isolate and we will continue to review our support to those students, and that includes the cost of the on-campus food delivery service.

“We have changed the charge to £12 a day for the delivery of three meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner, which equates to £84 a week or £168 for a fortnight. Meals are provided, with free delivery, direct to the student household, rather than the block and the typical menu would include breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“Breakfast includes cereal, morning pastry, fruit salad, yoghurt and fruit juice; Lunch choice of salads or sandwiches, crisps, home-baked cake, fresh fruit, bottled drinks and Dinner – a choice of two main courses in labelled containers to be prepared and reheated in student kitchens, dessert, fresh fruit, soft drinks.

“In addition to the emergency meal delivery package student services are able to offer students priority supermarket delivery slots which they can select themselves, and this is alongside commercial online food delivery services for self-isolating students and the campus shop which is offering food deliveries free of charge.

“The food delivery option from on-campus catering services is one choice for students who are in self-catered flats and we will continue to review the package we offer.”

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