Breaking: Birmingham UCU reports 66 cases of coronavirus at the University of Birmingham
Birmingham UCU reports 61 students and five members of academic staff having coronavirus across at least eight different university schools
Birmingham UCU have reported 66 new cases of coronavirus in the past seven days at the university. Among them reportedly are 61 students and five members of teaching staff at the university who have COVID-19.
These cases emerge after students returned back to academic study at the university only four days ago as term officially started on Monday.
The Birmingham UCU were informed about these cases in a meeting with the university on 1 October. Birmingham UCU told The Birmingham Tab, “we call on the University to move away from ‘bi-modal’ delivery to predominantly online education before they further endanger the health and safety of students, staff, and members of the Birmingham community.”
A spokesperson from BUCU told The Birmingham Tab, “at our meeting with University management on 1 Oct, 2020, the BUCU was informed that there have been 61 new cases of Covid-19 among students and five new cases among staff in 7 days. The evidence that we continue to gather from our members (who are being bombarded by emails from students who have either tested positive or are self-isolating) suggests that this number is likely far higher. This is only the first week of classes.”
They continued “the BUCU does not believe that the “case by cases” basis upon which the University is proceeding can accurately respond to the rate of infection. While management routinely claims they are in “constant communication” with Birmingham City Council Public Health and are following Government guidelines, we believe that no amount of guidance can compensate for the ill-advised choice to return to widespread face to face teaching in the first place.”
Birmingham UCU have also published data on where the cases of coronavirus are at the university, highlighting that at least eight schools at the university have cases of coronavirus.
The Birmingham UCU told The Birmingham Tab that face to face teaching was always going to be problematic. “Our position (along with that of the Sage Group) has always been that face to face teaching is unsafe under these conditions. We call on the University to move away from ‘bi-modal’ delivery to predominantly online education before they further endanger the health and safety of students, staff, and members of the Birmingham community.”
The Birmingham UCU also reports out of these confirmed cases five of them had been in academic settings in the 48 hours before their positive test.
Guidance for students at the university concerned with the current outbreak can be found here.
The University of Birmingham have been contacted and they told The Birmingham Tab that the full data from the university will be published early next week.