As the UK’s students prepare to finally return to in-person classes, research by build-to-rent furnishings supplier Manor Interiors has found that the majority feel their accommodation could be better designed to minimise the risk of Covid on campus.
The survey found that 78% of students felt their student accommodation could be improved in order to minimise the risk of catching Covid. When asked which aspects of their current accommodation were the biggest cause of these concerns, space and ventilation topped the table. A lack of ventilation and not being able to fully open windows was one of the driving factors of Covid concern while at university. A lack of open space within their student accommodation also ranked joint top as one of the biggest worries, while lack of sanitisation in communal areas was also a worry, ranking as the third-largest concern. The sheer volume of staff and students coming and going from student digs also ranked high on the list of concerns, along with a lack of automatic doors meaning students had to regularly touch the same door handle.
Manor Interiors’ CEO Farhan Malik commented: “It’s encouraging to see that despite being least at risk health-wise, the younger generation is considering the threat posed by Covid when heading to university and the vital role they play in minimising its spread. Covid is unlikely to disappear any time soon and it’s important that we adapt across the board to deal with it. The design of student accommodation is no different and whether it’s the delivery of new units or the redesign of older buildings, there’s plenty that can be done to minimise the risks posed by Covid. Space is always tight where student accommodation is concerned and health and safety requirements prevent greater levels of ventilation through fully open windows in large blocks.
“However, the interior design of these blocks can go a long way in maximising space with bespoke furniture that’s made to measure a particular area. By doing so, universities can make an immediate, cost-effective change to existing accommodation to better their offering and reduce concern among students, who already have a lot to think about having started their higher education journey.”
Image: Student flats in Wolverhampton courtesy Gordon Griffiths/Creative Commons.