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UCU response to pre-Christmas student lockdown

15 October 2020

UCU said that plans to lockdown students in English universities for two weeks before Christmas were unworkable and that the government needed to move all possible activities online now.

The Guardian reported yesterday that the government plan to make all students self-isolate from 8 December until 22 December so they can go home for Christmas.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'This is an unworkable and chaotic set of measures that will be impossible to deliver or oversee. Instead of this perverse obsession with Christmas, ministers and universities must focus on the here and now. We should be talking about getting people home now, not in two months' time. The mass relocation of over a million students is going to take time and serious resources, as is looking after them while they are forced into quarantine or lockdown.

'We are currently moving into stricter UK wide measures, yet in-person activities are continuing on campus causing infections to rise. Students are yo-yoing in and out of self-isolation and universities are seeking to profiteer on basic care packages.

'This is a terrible plan that has been drawn up without the input of the people it affects the most, staff and students. This is a government completely out of touch with the public and seemingly unaware of what happens at universities. Instead of continuing on its path of negligence, the government needs to scrap this unworkable plan now, move all possible activities online, and adopt a better approach to funding that supports flexibility for students, security for staff, stability for the sector, and safety for all.'

Last updated: 16 October 2020