UNIVERSITY bosses have performed a U-turn on the prices of expensive food packages designed specifically for self-isolating students.

Last week, the Gazette revealed how some quarantining undergraduates at the University of Essex were being advised to purchase food plans.

One of the special self-isolating packages included breakfast, lunch, and dinner for two weeks, at a cost of £220, which one student says she was told to part with.

At the time, a spokesman for the university stressed that cheaper options were available, and they were doing all they could to support students.

Bosses at the University of Essex, however, have now said they will be start providing free essential food boxes to all self-isolating households.

They have also agreed to more than halve the cost of meal plans, with the seven-day plan now costing £50 and the 14-day plan being reduced to £100.

Any students who have already purchased the meal plans at the higher prices, or the essential food boxes which are now free, will now be reimbursed by the university.

Academic registrar, Richard Stock, said: "We've listened to our students and we want to provide extra support to them as they face the challenge of self-isolating as a household.

"Every household on our campuses will be receiving a free essential food box to help them if they have to self-isolate.

"We will then support them in ordering their shopping from online supermarkets and get it delivered to their accommodation.

"Or they can choose one of our meal plans, which again will be delivered directly to them.

"We will keep listening to our students to understand how best to support them."

Students who have arrived from overseas and need to quarantine for 14-days are also receiving complimentary bedding, kitchen, and food packs to help them settle in.