Bristol UCU Statement: ‘Living with COVID’, April 2022

Bristol UCU is aware that the ‘living with COVID’ strategy introduced by the Johnson government has come into operation from 1 April 2022, removing for example free testing.

As a trade union, UCU remains concerned by the large numbers of hospitalisations and deaths which continue despite the reduction in testing and therefore the smaller numbers of positive tests.

Bristol UCU requests that the University of Bristol continue to take COVID-19 into consideration in risk assessments over the next six months. In terms of individual risk assessments, we note that members of staff and students remain vulnerable and that their particular needs will need to be reasonably accommodated.

We are also asking the University of Bristol to sign up to ‘The Covid-19 Safety Pledge’ initiated by the recent Independent SAGE campaign: https://www.independentsage.org/sign-up-to-the-covid-19-safety-pledge/

Finally, on the basis that the University of Bristol has a statutory and common law duty to take reasonable care to avoid reasonably foreseeable harms to its staff and students, we are seeking:

  1. Encouragement of staff and students who have contracted COVID-19 to self-isolate and assistance to allow them to do so (as done by the University of Cambridge: https://www.cam.ac.uk/coronavirus/stay-safe-cambridge-uni/lateral-flow-testing)
  2. Continuation of restrictions on class and office occupation, management of ventilation and free distribution of face coverings;
  3. Access to free lateral flow tests for staff and students to ensure that those who need tests but cannot afford them do not come to campus while infectious and harm others.

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