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UCU responds to prime minister's statement on lockdown and re-opening of school sites

27 January 2021

UCU has today responded to the prime minister's statement on the current lockdown and plans to fully reopen school sites in England.

Demanding stability and safety for further and higher education staff, the union said the government needs to keep all but essential teaching online until at least April in colleges and until the end of this academic year in universities.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'It is scandalous that yet again the prime minister has not even bothered to mention further or higher education as part of his statement on plans to fully reopen school sites. Staff in further and higher education need to be able to plan their work over the coming months in the knowledge they will not be forced to do unnecessary and unsafe in-person activities. That includes working in libraries, offices on campus, and other potentially unsafe environments as well as seminar rooms and laboratories. The government needs to admit that it is not safe for university students to travel back to their term-time accommodation, and pledge to keep all but essential teaching online until at least April in colleges and until the end of the current academic term in universities.'

'University and college staff are burnt out from the chaotic and unsustainable demands which the sector has placed on them this year. We need certainty and stability if staff are to continue delivering the best possible remote learning for students.'

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