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East Durham College slammed for forcing staff on-site to teach remotely

11 January 2021 | last updated: 13 January 2021

UCU has today condemned the push by East Durham College for the majority staff to attend in-person whilst the country is in lockdown, even when teaching remote lessons.

In most colleges in the region the vast majority of teaching and support staff are working remotely from their homes. However, at East Durham College, all UCU members have been told they must work on site to deliver remote learning and any other work, such as lesson planning and marking, from the workplace, unless they are extremely clinically vulnerable. 

UCU wants managers to encourage flexibility to ensure staff are off site where possible. The union has also called for the college to move into line with other colleges in the region, where the majority of teaching is remote and staff are working from home to help reduce transmission of Covid-19, as per government guidelines.  

UCU regional official Iain Owens said: 'Given the recent lockdown it is critical that everyone work from home where possible to try to lower transmission of Covid-19. By telling staff to come on to campus, East Durham College seems to be ignoring government guidelines and is in danger of putting other issues above the immediate public health crisis. People need to stay at home to save lives and the college should act like other colleges and facilitate that happening. 

Teaching needs be delivered remotely from home, as many staff have been doing over the last year. On site delivery should be limited as much as is practical, as is the case across the region, and managers should work with staff to minimise any  time spent on campus. Anyone with any vulnerability should have an individual risk assessment before working on-site.' 

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