This is a relatively brief update on health and safety following the government’s, and then the university’s, announcements in relation to relaxing restrictions and mitigations.
We are pleased that the university continues to take a cautious approach and is not dropping all mitigations in the way that the government seems to want. We do however, have some specific concerns.
Notably, as I told you in a recent email, we had asked management to look into providing masks of FFP2 quality to staff. They have now told us they will not do so. The logic behind this is that they believe that the combination of ventilation (which is generally good) and continued distancing means that activities should be safe to be held in-person and if they are not they should not be held in person.
As a result, we advise as follows:
Firstly, if you are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 you should speak to your line manager and insist on an individual risk assessment before being prepared to work on campus, particularly in crowded areas or teaching spaces. If you meet any resistance with this, please contact us for support via firstname.lastname@example.org
Second, if you are concerned that mitigations in place are not being followed – e.g. the stated capacity of a room is exceeded or people are not maintaining appropriate social distancing, you should remove yourself from the situation, speak to your line manager and let us know.
You will have noted that we are returning to the previous position on face coverings, where staff and students are expected to wear facecoverings in crowded spaces and teaching spaces when asked to do so. We know that compliance with this was patchy and continue to emphasise the importance of clear communication about the benefits of wearing face coverings. If you are aware of breaches of this rule, either because of people not wearing face coverings in a crowded space, or because of students not wearing face coverings when asked to do so, please report to your manager. If you are a manager, please escalate these issues to the Health and Safety teams if necessary. I would particularly ask securely employed staff, and staff in management positions, to do everything you can to communicate with students and try to build a culture of respect – junior staff, and particularly precariously employed and hourly paid staff, tell us that they do not feel empowered to insist on face coverings if students do not comply.
Finally, we understand that managers have been asked to continue to be flexible about working from home, particularly for staff who are vulnerable or who live with people who are vulnerable. We also understand that, on the ground, there are cases where that flexibility is not in fact happening. Please let us know if you are having issues and we can support you in challenging the situation.
This post is from an email sent to branch members 25 January 2022 by branch president Chloe Wallace.
This page was last updated on 25 January 2022