Throughout the Covid-pandemic, international voices have been marginalised and international students find themselves overlooked in the political discourse.
On the 26th of November, 2020 SiO informed all international students planning on spending Christmas abroad as well as new students planning on entering Norway that they must quarantine in a hotel at their own cost – despite renting legally adequate facilities with SiO that clearly fall under the guidelines laid out by the Norwegian government and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
Furthermore, SiO has backtracked on their commitment to guarantee housing for international students – making an already tough situation even more precarious for international students.
In a time when many students have lost their jobs and struggle to just get by, we cannot stand idle while SiO flip-flops on promises and demands students pay thousands in rent for accommodation they refuse to allow us to occupy.
Information provided by Regjeringen clearly states that student housing/halls of residence and shared houses can be suitable places for persons to quarantine after returning from abroad. SiO’s most recent communication seems to indicate that they have reached the decision to not allow students to quarantine in their own homes without consideration of government guidelines.
This resolution has the following demands:
- When necessary, SiO shall reimburse the cost of the quarantine hotel, so students are not forced to pay both rent and hotel fees.
- Alternatively, SiO shall agree to suspend all rent for the duration of time that the student is forced to stay in the hotel quarantine.
- SiO must clearly outline exactly what government regulations they are following for all quarantine processes so that there is no ambiguity in wording, phrasing or execution of self-quarantine guidelines for SiO renters.
- SIO must honour their full commitment to housing for international students, with the exemption of when it infringes on the rights of current occupants. When this is the case, SIO should still help international students find other options for housing.
- SiO must inform international students promptly about any change in Covid-19 regulations, which may impact their housing situation.
- SiO shall offer additional support services oriented directly to international students, who not only are marginalized, but are also more vulnerable than domestic students. SiO ought to seriously recognize that international students live in a foreign country, away from their families with limited contact, and the Covid-19 pandemic creates further challenges, mentally and emotionally.