Bristol Uni makes face masks mandatory for all staff and students indoors

Bristol Uni will employ student marshals to enforce these new rules

From today, Bristol Uni requires all staff and students to wear a face-covering in all university buildings on campus.

Staff and students will have to wear masks indoors unless they are exempt. This includes any medical exemption or when eating or drinking, or if you can keep a reasonable distance from others such as sitting at your own desk in the library.

Student marshals will be returning to enforce these new policies, which will be re-evaluated in two weeks time when management meets to perform another risk assessment.

Bristol Uni says that by implementing this requirement, they are taking an appropriate preventative measure, that will reduce transmission and protect in-person teaching.

Mask wearing is not currently a legal requirement in England and the university have told students they will employ student marshals to enforce these new institutional requirements as well as allowing staff to “remind students to comply”.

Covid cases in the city remain above the national average. The latest figures show there are 356 cases per 100,000 people, above the nationwide average of 342. While case numbers in the city have declined since the end of October, there are currently 117 people in local hospitals with COVID-19.

This is in contrast to university case numbers. As of 15th November, there are 20 active known cases among the student population.

In his email to students, VC Hugh Brady, acknowledged while student cases “remain low”, there was concern this could change quickly, and this “precautionary measure” was there to help “protect our community and bolster our ability to offer in-person teaching”.

He went on to say: “I realise there is currently no national legal requirement to wear a face covering in England, but I am confident that now is the time to introduce this local institutional requirement.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have taken pride in being a caring and considerate institution that acts on the best evidence available. I firmly believe the introduction of a local requirement for face coverings is an appropriate preventative measure to reduce the spread of the virus and protect in-person teaching as we enter the home straight.  “The last two years have been immensely challenging, and I am proud to have led a University that has responded kindly and respectfully at every stage. We should continue with the same attitude, because the pandemic is not over yet.”

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