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UCU response to Universities UK's call for full campus return from 12 April

25 March 2021 | last updated: 26 March 2021

UCU said Universities UK (UUK) was risking the safety of staff, students and the wider public with its call for a full return to campus and resumption of in-person activities for English universities.

UCU was responding to UUK's request to the UK government not to delay the final phased return for students at English universities, which is due to begin from 12 April.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'This latest call by Universities UK to push students back onto campus from April 12 smacks of self-interest and risks the safety of staff, students and the wider public. It comes during a global pandemic and after a year in which vice-chancellors lured students to university with the promise of a relatively normal campus experience, only for them to be left facing long periods in lockdown. Universities should not now be asking hundreds of thousands of students to return for in-person teaching after Easter when most courses will only have revision classes and exams left.

'University staff are burnt out from the chaotic and unsustainable demands which the sector has placed on them this year and we will not let universities sacrifice their well-being on the altar of short-term financial incentives.

'UCU is calling for courses to be taught online until the end of the academic year wherever possible. It will be much safer to remain online until the start of the next academic year when many more people will have been vaccinated. Universities must work with us to protect staff and student safety. If our members feel their health and safety is being put at risk, then we will support them to protect themselves, including through balloting for industrial action where necessary.'

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