After a mammoth effort to get thousands of students tested and back home, Manchester University campuses will be a lot quieter in the run-up to Christmas.
But this won’t be the case for everybody. Many students have decided to stay in the city, either because of difficulty getting home or because they don’t want to put vulnerable members of their family at risk.
So, what support is the University putting in place for students staying in Manchester this Christmas? And what can students do to make the best of a difficult situation? Here’s what you need to know.
The University has said it will be there to support students over the Christmas break whether they are staying in Manchester or travelling home.
This includes mental health services, safety and disability support and self-isolation guidance.
Whether you’re staying in Manchester or travelling home, there will be plenty of support available to you over the Christmas break.— The University of Manchester (@OfficialUoM) December 11, 2020
“This email address will be monitored daily during the University closure period,” an email to students read.
“Rest assured that there will also be emergency 24/7 support available for all students through our security and ResLife teams over the period too.
“If you need help or advice before the end of today, please contact your School support team for details of any local arrangements. If you need support from Saturday, the 19th of December to Sunday, the 3rd of January 2021, please visit our Christmas support webpage to find out more about the services on offer.”
Whether you are alone or spending Christmas with housemates, bosses have put together a list of things you can do if you are staying in Manchester.
There are virtual events and outdoor activities listed, from Christmas movie marathons to the markets and lights in the city centre.
The 12 days until Christmas countdown is ticking. Taking in the festive lights of Manchester. Today’s photo was taken at Spinningfields, Deansgate entrance @Spinningfields @armani #manchester #12daysofchristmas #christmaslights pic.twitter.com/fYAjWVNbMo— Wildbrook CRE (@WildbrookCRE) December 19, 2020
The University has also highlighted volunteer opportunities available to those who want to spend time doing some good this festive period.
The SU will also be on hand to provide support for students this festive period, taking a short break but then coming back in the new year.
The Advice Service will remain open until Thursday the 24th of December, before closing and reopening on the 4th of January. During this time the SU will not be reading or responding to emails.
The Students’ Union will be closed until Monday, the 4th of January 2021.— University of Manchester Students’ Union (@ManchesterSU) December 18, 2020
But our advice service is open until the 23rd of December! We are here for you. pic.twitter.com/8EI4lwKoqq
The Union’s website is packed with everything you need to know about support during the remainder of December and beyond.
The Mancunion also spoke with student living specialists, Scape, who shared their top tips for students remaining at university over Christmas.
Here’s what they said.
Get involved in virtual Christmas celebrations
In a year like no over, Scape say there are many different virtual offerings to choose from this Christmas. They suggest making a schedule of events to keep busy over the coming weeks.
They say you can “jazz” up your evening with a virtual backstage pass to the Royal Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker broadcast for free on YouTube, or attend a masterclass on how to make a gingerbread man garland or marshmallows and hot chocolate with John Lewis.
Explore the city
Many of us might not have seen much have Manchester this year. Have you thought about taking time to explore the picturesque lights and decorations which adorn Manchester this time of year?
This Christmas, we'd like to say thank you. In what has been a challenging year for everyone, our supporters have pulled together and had such a positive impact on @OfficialUoM. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us in 2020 pic.twitter.com/M9srNH4o3F— UoM Alumni (@alumniUoM) December 21, 2020
Stay in touch with loved ones
Lockdowns are beginning to take their toll and Manchester has been in Tier 3 for as long as anybody can remember. This makes it a perfect time to reconnect with loved ones. Let’s be honest, we all know how to use Zoom now.
Decorate your student space
Scape also suggest decorating your student space to make things feel a bit more Christmassy. Festive decorations and lights will automatically cheer you up and help you get into the Christmas spirit, they say.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it’s essential students get some rest of this festive period.
It has been a trying and challenging year. And once students return in January and exam season starts, your schedule is likely to get busy fast, so enjoy some self-care to ensure you feel ready once the new term starts.