As the UK lockdown enters its second week, the campus at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has a surreal, silent air.
Normally, it would be filled with students revising and staff setting up end of term exams. Coffee shops would be packed with people fuelling up for long days of study and the library filled with students working in groups.
But now the place is empty – or very nearly so.
Essential services like security and maintenance have to carry in on in order for the campus to keep functioning and to provide vital support to the 1,400 students still in halls.
Reassuringly for those students, the security team is working 12-hour shifts to ensure everyone is kept safe, the university is under constant surveillance.
Kevin Burrows, Head of Security said: “My team are still working 24/7 providing security to all the university buildings. We are also offering support to all the students still around in halls, some of which are student nurses working for the NHS.
“We have got plenty of staff to deal with any situation that arises in terms of security and support. We will also provide emergency welfare support.”
Kevin highlighted the importance of students knowing they could contact the team whenever they needed.
“We are still here; you can ring us day or night,” he said. “We will have a chat over the phone, we will then try and resolve it from a distance if we can.
“If we need to attend, we will maintain social distance, but no student will ever be ignored by security. Just because the campus is closed, doesn’t mean to say security aren’t working.”
See all the ways DMU is supporting its city during COVID-19
The maintenance team is also on campus daily ensuring safety of the buildings and maintaining regulations.
Mick Jelley, Head of Maintenance said: “Students can still report any issues with regards to the university buildings and services via security. We are on a permanent call out list with a regime in place for every situation. In normal working hours 8am-5pm my team are on call with supervisors in place.
“If a maintenance issue occurs out of hours, we have dedicated contractors on call, who will attend the site and make things safe until the following morning, where one of the maintenance team will pick up the job and organise a full repair.”
Sue Newman, Associate Director of Estates also has a team out looking after student welfare, including delivering meals to those in isolation and providing a full cleaning service to those in accommodation.
“Catering are working to provide for students in isolation that need meals delivering to them,” she said.
“We have got cleaners working daily too, mainly in accommodation and security. Students just need to let us know if they need us for anything at all.”
Any students staying on campus in nearby halls who do need support can call security around the clock on 0116 257 7642.
Posted on Friday 1st May 2020