Universities have proved their worth in the COVID-19 crisis, responding at speed not simply to their own students and research partners’ changed demands, but to the communities and the national effort. But there is a clear sense that the skies will darken once the immediate crisis abates. The concerns include a precipitous fall in international students and constrained local mobility, student retention and progression to university, and the impact of a prolonged economic recession on research and development budgets. These concerns led Universities UK – the umbrella body for the country’s 137 universities, of which I am a Board member, to develop a proposal to government for a systematic programme of support.
The social, economic and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to the UK Government issuing instructions for members of the public to 'stay at home' with limited exceptions for shopping, exercise, medical need, and essential travel for work purposes. These directions are supported by Regulations that restrict the operation of public meeting places (or Third Places) including restaurants, cafes, bars, cinemas and gyms. The guidelines for entering a public space, and the maintenance of a 2 metres distance from other individuals not of the same household, pose fresh questions about blurred spatial boundaries.
Dr Emma Bimpson and Dr Kesia Reeve discuss the unique and profound challenges that COVID-19 is likely to pose to mothers experiencing homelessness. Last year we completed a research study exploring the experiences of homeless mothers for the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) and Sheffield Hallam University. Now that we are all adjusting to a life spent entirely at ‘home’ we have had cause to think about the mothers who participated in that research. It is difficult to imagine what the domestic circumstances described by those women – in the lead up to their homelessness and then afterwards – would look like in the context of COVID-19.
There are nearly seven million 16-24 years olds in the UK; around 1 in 10 of the national population. The scale of government responses across much of the world to the Covid-19 pandemic have been unprecedented in peacetime. Extensive business and employee support schemes (such as furloughing) have prevented an economic downturn turning into a huge crisis of mass unemployment and rapidly increasing poverty.
As the COVID-19 crisis has spread, Governments across the world have responded with a variety of virus-suppressing restrictions. Our everyday lives and livelihoods have been upended. We have become locked into an all-encompassing ‘Coronaverse’.
With ‘lockdown’ firmly in place, no-one can be in doubt about Government rules. However, only recently the BBC News reported anti-social behaviour being on the increase. There will be those who always misbehave, however, daily I see groups of, I'm sure, 'normally law-abiding citizens' gathered together, playing, or simply enjoying the sunshine. This is particularly concerning given the volume of media reminders.