Oriel College has told international students who intend to quarantine within the College that they will be charged £400 for food provided by the College.
In an email sent to international students, Oriel wrote that “the College will arrange for 3 meals a day to be delivered to your door during the quarantine period… The cost of catering for this period will be a fixed charge of £400, which will be batelled to you. We will contact you to record your individual dietary requirements closer to the time of your arrival”.
£400 for a fortnight of food averages out to approximately £9.52 for each meal or £28.57 each day. Meals will be delivered to students by staff in accordance with social distancing guidelines, with the College insisting that “our priority is to keep all College residents and staff as safe as possible”.
The email continues by referencing this unexpected cost: “We are aware that the additional accommodation [students in quarantine at Oriel will all be charged for a B grade room “for the purposes of equity”] and meal costs may be an unplanned expense for you, and the College does have some funds available to assist students with unexpected financial difficulties”.
International students who wish to spend their quarantine in College must also all arrive on the 18th September to fulfil the isolation period prior to term commencing. The email states “if you cannot arrive on the date specified above, we regret that the College will be unable to provide you with accommodation for the 14-day quarantine period and you will need to make alternative arrangements”.
In the email, the College wrote that “Oriel College is committed to ensuring that, even in these unsettling times, you have the best student experience possible”.
Oriel’s JCR International Officer emailed students to call for an International Students’ caucus, writing that “a fee in the excess of 700 pounds for accommodation and catering is both an unexpected and an unacceptable cost to most international students needing to quarantine”.
A spokesperson for Oriel told Cherwell: “The College is doing everything it can to make preparations for the safe arrival of all our students in the autumn in extraordinary circumstances. The figure of £9.52 per meal quoted does not just cover the cost of food, but the cost of 3 food deliveries per day to up to 60 students, which will result in significant additional staffing costs. The amount being charged to students will not return a profit, but will help to subsidise the extra costs the College will incur as a result of quarantine measures that have been put in place for all UK institutions.
“As an educational charity Oriel has incurred additional unforeseen costs related to the pandemic. We understand that some students may not be in a position to cover these costs, and we have made it clear that financial help will be available from the College for students who require it. No student will be forced to quarantine at the College, and they may make their own arrangements if they wish to do so. Our staff are working hard to try and ensure a safe environment in College so that our staff and students are safe and our students can enjoy as normal a term as possible.”