Oxford college blasted for charging £700 for two-week Covid quarantine

Oxford college at centre of Rhodes statue row is blasted for charging international students £700 for two-week Covid quarantine

  • Undergraduates from abroad will have to self-isolate on arrival at Oriel College
  • They will be delivered three meals a day for £400 – equivalent to £9.52 per meal
  • Students will pay food bill on top of their accommodation fees of around £300
  • Food will be delivered to their rooms with plates being collected after each meal 

The Oxford University college at the centre of the Cecil Rhodes statue row has been blasted for charging international students £700 for their two-week Covid-19 quarantine. 

Undergraduates from abroad will be required to self-isolate when they arrive at Oriel College – where they will be delivered three meals a day at a cost of £400.

The food bill is the equivalent to £9.52 per meal which each student must pay on top of their accommodation fees of around £300 for their two weeks in quarantine. 

Oriel College is at the centre of a long-running campaign, which gained renewed attention amid the Black Lives Matter movement, demanding the removal of the Rhodes statue.

Oriel College, above, has been blasted for charging international students £700 for their two-week Covid-19 quarantine (file photo taken ahead of a Black Lives Matter protest)

In an email sent to international students, Oriel said that ‘the College will arrange for three meals a day to be delivered to your door during the quarantine period.’

It said the cost of catering will be a ‘fixed charge’ of £400, which will be added to the students’ college bill.

The college added: ‘We will contact you to record your individual dietary requirements closer to the time of your arrival.’

Food will be delivered to students’ rooms with their empty plates being collected after each meal.

International students who wish to spend their quarantine in college must arrive on September 18 to fulfil the isolation period before term starts.

The email, passed to student newspaper Cherwell, added: ‘Oriel College is committed to ensuring that, even in these unsettling times, you have the best student experience possible.’

Oriel College is at the centre of a long-running campaign, demanding the removal of the Cecil Rhodes statue, pictured above

Oriel’s JCR International Officer branded the extra charge ‘unexpected and unacceptable’.

In an email to students, they said: ‘A fee in the excess of £700 for accommodation and catering is both an unexpected and an unacceptable cost to most international students needing to quarantine.’

A student writing on an online college forum fumed: ‘Let’s call this what it is, a coronavirus tax.

‘Appalling to pile more financial burden on our already under-resourced international students.’

A spokesperson for Oriel said: ‘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 three 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.

International students who wish to spend their quarantine in college must arrive on September 18 to fulfil the isolation period before term starts (file photo of Oxford graduates in 2014)

‘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.’

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