COVID19 EMERGENCY: CLOSE QUEEN MARY CAMPUS

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The UK government plans to manage Covid-19 are based on the ‘expectation’ that 80 percent of the population will contract it, with a possible 7.9 million hospitalised. In an already overstretched NHS, this will result in many thousands of preventable deaths. The government insists their strategy is based on science, but it has been subject to widespread criticism from the scientific community.* Now that the government has adopted more stringent recommendations, it shows how out of touch is Queen Mary management. Queen Mary should lead in protecting workers and students, not wait to be forced by the law to act. We therefore call for:

1. The cancellation of all face-to-face teaching and associated activities, with immediate effect. Other universities have already made this move. Every day Queen Mary management insists on delaying this, it accepts the spread of Covid-19 on campus.

2. The closure of Queen Mary campuses, excluding essential services. Closing the campus, except for essential services needed to support resident students and perform maintenance and security functions, is necessary to protect staff.

3. All staff working from home to receive adequate support and protection. Many staff can do much of their work online, though support and training is needed to make that happen. Staff that cannot should continue to be paid. Appraisal should be abandoned this year because performance will be directly related to staff’s home circumstances rather than their willingness and ability to work.

4. Essential workers to receive appropriate support and protection. The small number of workers required to remain on campus should receive appropriate support, protection and training.

5. Include Trades Unions in the Coronavirus Response Group. All committees and groups developing plans in response to Covid-19 and groups monitoring implementation of those plans should formally include the Health and Safety representatives from the unions.

* Criticism of the UK government approach to Covid19:

http://maths.qmul.ac.uk/~vnicosia/UK_scientists_statement_on_coronavirus_measures.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/mar/14/scientists-urge-government-to-enforce-social-distancing-now?fbclid=IwAR1y3MRdEjSwzwHCTRNIOnLayOKtJVwbt46X00xuTqVp8MCqWQY4qe16XfY

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/15/coronavirus-health-experts-fear-epidemic-will-let-rip-through-uk?fbclid=IwAR3ME9DYWiJb_iyzsX_93NJ50P6cwBi16lRleeKp_nk4SpsYfUKTZHfI878

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/15/epidemiologist-britain-herd-immunity-coronavirus-covid-19

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/15/uk-coronavirus-crisis-to-last-until-spring-2021-and-could-see-79m-hospitalised

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/15/uk-covid-19-strategy-questions-unanswered-coronavirus-outbreak