Return to Campus: Covid-19

Health and Safety Report (Sept. 2020)

Over the past few weeks, there has been a flurry of activity as management pushed to reopen the campuses; our two Health and Safety officers have been representing members’ interests on both the ‘Return to Campus’ and ‘Return to Teaching’ committees. We’ve pushed for numerous changes over the last two months and made the University improve everything from the signage to the level of communication. We have been concerned that management was not taking our role seriously or displaying adequate understanding of the dangers of an outbreak of Covid-19 on site after students return.  Even now as teaching starts, there is still a lot to do and many COVID-specific safety issues which still need to be addressed. Nonetheless, there have been some significant victories in addition to the improvements mentioned above.  The most important of these is a clear, repeated statement that no-one has to come on campus if they do not wish to do so. If despite this, your Head of Department is pushing you to teach or work on site, please let UCU know.

The last two months have been about details but we’d identify the following as major successes by UCU on those committees.

  • Confirmation that no-one will be forced back to campus.
  • Consideration of ventilation as an issue.
  • Teaching spaces on campus will be cleaned by cleaners before every teaching session.
  • Improved risk assessments, especially Individual risk assessments.

We will continue to monitor and, when necessary question, the University’s management of safety during the pandemic.

What you can do:

  • Contact your line manager or HR immediately if you feel that returning to campus may put you and/or your family/household at risk. 
  • Check all the relevant risk assessments for buildings, rooms, activities including your own. You are entitled to see all risk assessments that are relevant to you at work. If you feel that issues have not been taken into consideration or that it has been largely a tick-box exercise raise it with your Head of Department.  If that is not successful, inform one of us. 
  • Ask your Head of Department to press for improved ventilation in all teaching spaces and shared offices and press them to ensure that there is regular testing for staff and students.
  • Ask your Head of Department to press for the University to be completely transparent with staff about the total number of cases at the University.

Please let us know if you see or experience problems with health and safety during the coming year. Report issues to your Head of Department but feel free to copy us in. You can email UCU Roehampton Health and Safety officers at UCU@roehampton.ac.uk.

 

Health and Safety Report (June 2020)

The branch H & S reps have been regularly attending the meetings of the ‘Return to Campus’ working group in order to press the university to have a clear and safe campus policy. Unfortunately the level of consultation with the H & S officers has been minimal, and the branch still has many concerns with the lack of an evident safe plan by the University. As the branch did not received a satisfactory response to numerous very specific concerns raised in these meetings, the H & S reps wrote the following letter to Mike Hall (CIO ITMS Information Technology) and Frances Coleman (Head of Health and Safety) on 22 June.   Letter to Management about UCU’s concern’s regarding the plan to Return to Campus.  

Unfortunately the branch received an unsatisfactory response to this letter regarding our concerns, so the H&S reps will be following this up.

This was communicated in an update to members on 25 June. UCU Safe Return to Campus Report (25 June 2020).odt

19/03/20

The branch has written to the Director of HR about remote working; pay, sick pay and Caring Responsibilities; Strike Deductions and online teaching materials. The main body of our letter can be found here.

13/03/20

The branch has written to the Vice Chancellor and Head of HR to express our concerns about the response by the University to the Covid 19 pandemic. You are able to access the letter here.

If you have any concerns about the University’s response to Covid 19, working at home or the moving to teaching online, please email us at ucu@roehampton.ac.uk.