Living with COVID-19: The Unwanted Flatmate

While we are learning to ‘live with COVID in the community’, it’s best to try and reduce the risk of living with COVID in your flat.  

There are some ‘no-brainers’, of which we are all now familiar:

  • Getting vaccinated
  • Using your vaccine pass
  • Using masks on public transport and in hospo settings etc
  • Keeping physical distance around strangers
  • Good hygiene and sanitising regularly
  • Isolating and getting tested when having ANY potential symptoms
  • Periodically check your Uni email for Covid policy updates
  • Practising kindness!

At the time of print, the University of Otago has mandated that all students have their Vaccine Pass verified in order to attend on-campus programmes, so living with fellow students should substantially reduce the risk of household transmission.  

If flatting with non-students: it is a personal decision you need to make, whether you feel safe living with (potentially) unvaccinated people. This might be one of the questions you ask when thinking about moving into a flat or potential flatmates and also drawing up a flat agreement about visitors or guests.

The biggest impact is likely to be around hosting parties, events and other private gatherings. Make sure you and your flatmates are on the same page about the rules within the current traffic light level, what are responsible expectations for your flat parties and how you will manage this potentially complex situation. Take our word on this; it’s really key that you come to some agreement as a flat about it. Perhaps it might be something you put in your flat agreement at the beginning of the year.

And what if COVID does turn up at your flat? 

Public Health officials will guide you in what is required to isolate properly, for how long, testing regime, and the supports available to you.

Please reach out to the team at OUSA Student Support if you have any questions you want to hash out. This is new territory for everyone but you don’t need to feel alone – get in touch to have a chat.