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UCU says all colleges must copy Preston College's two week 'circuit breaker'

16 October 2020

UCU said all colleges must follow Preston College's lead and close down for a two week 'circuit breaker' over half term.

Preston College emailed staff to say only essential work will continue on campus for two weeks from 19 October to 1 November. All learning will be moved online for the week before half term, and any staff not on leave over half term will work remotely. The college says it will use the two weeks to test plans for a long term switch to remote learning.

Infection rates have risen sharply across the North West of England with Lancashire is going into tier three lockdown tomorrow. Other areas across the country have moved to tier two this week due to infection rates rising nationally.

UCU said the government was not providing colleges the support to combat Covid-19 so they were being left to deal with the virus on their own. It said that given the difficult circumstances, the college had shown real leadership in using a 'circuit breaker' to protect the health of staff and students, and that other colleges must follow its example as infection rates continue to rise.

UCU head of further education Andrew Harden said: 'It is scandalous that Covid cases continue to rise across the country, but the government still hasn't told colleges to shut down for two weeks over half term as part of a national 'circuit breaker'. Preston College has shown real leadership in halting in-person teaching for two weeks to protect staff and students, while it considers how best to teach safely under Covid. We call on all colleges to follow its example.'

 

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