Workplaces of Oxford: Please let your students go home

Honestly, I’m tired

The buzzwords of March 2020 seem to be coronavirus and social distancing. Both of which I have muted on my Twitter timeline. Yet it seems some employers are yet to realise the repercussions of allowing their businesses to continue to stay open. Or better yet the repercussions of letting students off leaving them unemployed with rent and bills to pay.

Oxford Brookes University has stopped its face-to-face teaching for the rest of the semester, meaning many students have decided to go home due to how uncertain everything is in the UK at the moment. However, there are also loads of students that work part-time to support themselves whilst being at uni.

The main issues for students like these are that Boris Johnson has advised people to avoid public places such as pubs, clubs, theatres and cinemas. However, these places are not shutting, meaning that students with part-time jobs in these sectors are still having to work.

So, if Boris is saying it’s fine to still be open, what’s all the fuss about?

It’s unsafe

Working in a public sector means you’re surrounded by – well, the public. Hundreds of people. All day, every day. You don’t know where these people have been. Have they washed their hands? What degree celsius is their temperature? Are they hiding a hacking cough?

First year student Eli told The Brookes Tab: “Retail workers with underlying health issues are being forced to work at the risk of losing their jobs.

“The fact that clothing stores and restaurants can’t close for a few weeks while we try to stop people dying just shows how deep rooted and toxic capitalism is in this country.”

Students are only coming in because they can’t afford not to

Unfortunately at this point in time, University halls and house rents still need to be paid; the semester may be over but students still need to support themselves with snacks and Netflix whilst in part-time quarantine.

Third year student Alisha told The Brookes Tab: “I lost both of my jobs so I’ve had no choice but to return home and both my dad and my four-year-old sister are in the high risk group.

“It’s caused me a lot of anxiety. If I was working I could stay in Oxford and keep them safe.”

Half the country are working from home or are off sick anyway

If Jeremy from the local Barclays branch thinks it’s a good idea to work from home then that’s good enough for me.

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