Read below the COVID report from the Health and Safety UCU representatives across the University.
COVID update 09/11/20
According to Jordan Kenny (University Policy and Projects Manager attached to the Vice-Chancellor’s Office), the current COVID case numbers as of 06/11/20 are as follows:
From a total population of around 11,000 students and staff, the number of active cases of Covid-19 at Roehampton as of 6 November 2020 is:
- Students living on-campus: 4
- Students living off-campus: 6
- Staff: 1
“The students were asked to self-isolate as soon as the University was informed of the situation. We have made specific arrangements based on if they live on or off campus and have contacted anyone who has recently come into contact with the individual in question, and they are now self-isolating as a precautionary measure.
The colleague who has tested positive is safely recovering at home.”
Jordan has further stated 70% of reported student cases are off campus and there have been no reported cases resulting from face-to-face teaching. He further stated that this is far fewer cases than Roehampton’s London counter-parts.
The university has secured 500 test kits for use on campus. However, UCU reps have pointed out that this is nowhere near enough test kits to cover the numbers of staff and students who have been and will be accessing the campus. UCU reps were also informed at the Health and Safety COVID sub-committee on 05/11/20 that students were being consulted on the subject on online teaching and there appeared to be a shift in favour of virtual rather than face-to-face teaching. The UCU reps have requested access to this data
Weekly positive cases on and off campus
The Equality Impact Assessments
There are severe and extensive problems with the Equality Impact Assessments for both “Working from Home” and “Return to Campus. For example,
- In the section titled “Explanation and evidence” for each category of protected characteristic there is no explanation or evidence. This is a serious omission.
- Most protected characteristics are listed as experiencing a “neutral” effect from these policies without explanation or justification. This looks like thoughtless box-ticking rather than a risk assessment. The principle of working from home is a good one, yet for example it is stated that for people classed as Pregnant/Maternity that being able to work from home would have a “Negative” impact. The fact that all other characteristics are “Neutral” is questionable and many of these could probably just as well be “Positive”.
- There is a lack of a consideration of secondary Health and Safety risks (beyond becoming infected) arising from the COVID environment. So, working from home may increase risks from musculo-skeletal issues, eyestrain, mental health etc. Without a consideration of these increased risks the Assessments cannot achieve the stated aim of “no increased risk”.
In short, the Equality Impact Assessments are grossly inadequate and UCU is pressing for significant improvements. As a result, there is a working group based on Frances Coleman (H+S) and Karen Chapman (HR) that will be revising these Assessment. UCU will input into this and continue to feedback on and monitor these policies.