Bristol UCU vote to demand immediate stop to ‘unnecessary’ face to face teaching

This is part of a motion by the Bristol UCU to safeguard staff

The Bristol UCU passed a motion today which demands the “immediate cessation of unnecessary face-to-face, in-person teaching” at Bristol University, as a result of fears over returning to the classroom during a pandemic.

The motion also pushes for the right for staff to teach from home where they feel in person teaching is not safe, which would involve changes to the universities current institutional policy.

This comes after reports that 23 universities have been hit by coronavirus outbreaks, forcing thousands of students into self isolation in university residences.

After a change in the ‘R’ rate raised the coronavirus alert level to four, the University of Bristol made it mandatory to wear a mask and visor in teaching spaces.

The motion calls for  “an immediate transition to online learning in all possible areas, for at least TB1” in places where in person teaching is not necessary.

The union is also calling for the university to publish “risk assessments” and “COVID-19 institutional data such as infection rates and the locality of cases”.

If the university do not adhere to these changes, the UCU has threatened legal action.

In an interview with the Guardian, Jo Grady, head of the UCU said: “If [vice-chancellors] don’t do something now, all their efforts will be undone in a few weeks because the number of infections will be so high, or there won’t be enough staff to teach.

“There is an urgency about this that didn’t exist a month ago, because we are seeing infection rates rising and there is the danger that students are just becoming incubators.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Bristol freshers are still planning ‘block parties’ despite threat of fines

• Wills Memorial Library chairs have been tied with string to enforce social distancing

• Bristol Uni introduce new library booking system and 10 hour study limit