COVID-19 in Shropshire: A student perspective

Our names are Rose, Holly, and Cindy and we are currently in 6.1 at Concord College as ‘Day Students’ living very near the school in Shropshire. We are going to be writing a few blogs about the realities of the coronavirus here in the UK, as we feel it differs greatly from media portrayals. We seek to reassure overseas parents and students that are starting/returning to college in September.

 

Rose:  It is understandable that the UK having the highest death rate in Europe is making overseas families anxious and everyone is entitled to their own viewpoint, but I would like to put these figures that the media constantly flashes into context. The majority of deaths occurring in the UK occur either in care homes or in hospitals. Care homes are a hub of elderly and therefore vulnerable people, whilst in the hospital patients tend to be also elderly or have a pre-existing health condition such as asthma, making them vulnerable to the virus. Studies show teenagers are not vulnerable to the virus, as the deaths for people aged 15-44 has not increased.

Of course, the virus should still be a cause for concern for teenagers and that’s why myself and everyone I know in the UK are continuing to socially distance, whereby we stay at least 2 metres away from people outside our own household.

Another significant point to highlight is that here in Shropshire, the death rate is below the average of other counties. We are in the countryside, sparsely populated with plenty of open space, making interaction with others infrequent. Therefore, the virus here is not the mad, wipe-out wave that the media portrays, but rather a gentle tide that just needs to be watched.

 

Holly: With the government’s position changing weekly and the decreasing number of deaths, it is important that we continue to implement the government’s set rules into our day-to-day lives.

Across the country, supermarkets and pharmacies remained open during the nation-wide lockdown. Shopping for essential goods was and is to be kept to a minimum. Non-essential shops will be starting to open up again on 15th June (provided they meet the government’s standards) after being closed since the 23rd March.

We are now allowed to meet up with up to five other people in the outdoors but must remain 2m apart to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. This is a drastic change when compared to the previous rule of not being allowed to meet with any more than two people outside of those in your household.

Aside from essential workers (for example NHS staff), employers are looking at how to safely bring employees back into the workplace. Some employers even thinking of implementing shifts to minimise contact between employees and thus any further spread of the virus.

 

Cindy: Whilst COVID-19 has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and created worldwide panic, as a Concord student, my life has been relatively different – much quieter and peaceful.

The world outside Concord has also changed drastically, as customers in essential shops such as supermarkets, must keep a 2-meter distance from each other; people are also frequently utilising face masks. Only one member of a family/household is allowed to be in the store at a time to avoid crowding but to ensure accessibility. Customers were advised to only touch items they intend to purchase and adopt cashless payments whenever they can to avoid any unnecessary contact. There are multiple cleaning stations, hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes installed in front of the stores for the use of every customer that is queueing to make their purchases. Currently, people are no longer panic-buying, as we once again are seeing fully stocked shelves. For those who do not want to make the trip to the supermarket, contactless home delivery options have become very popular, as whatever you need is brought to you right at your front door. Everything is being processed in a very orderly manner.

One thing I have really enjoyed during the lockdown is walking my dog every day, as I can appreciate the peace and quietness in nature. On the other hand, I have also been keeping myself very productive as I have been having online lessons daily. I am able to FaceTime my friends all over the world to catch up with them. Quarantine life is not too stressful here in the UK, though I do wish life could get back to normal in the near future.