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The University and College Union at The University of St Andrews

COVID Latest: Scottish Government and UCU (17Nov20)

Dear colleagues,

The Scottish Government has updated the HE sectoral guidance, specifically on definitions for “restricted blended” learning which should be in place for institutions in levels 3 and 4.

The update, is on the Scottish Government website, in the sectoral guidance health and safety section:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-universities-colleges-and-student-accommodation-providers/pages/health-and-safety/

See below:

Levels 3 – 4: restricted blended learning

Colleges and universities will implement a restricted blended learning model. How institutions should operate under these levels is set out below:

LevelCollegesUniversities
3Learning and teaching will be predominantly online, with in-person provision only where it is judged necessary to fulfil learning outcomes, such as for subjects which require clinical, practical or a vocational/professional learning element, and to support student welfare and retention.Colleges will review each course and support services, taking into account risks associated with the increased prevalence of the virus at this level, to determine the balance of provision and whether more elements should be temporarily moved online.Learning and teaching will be predominantly online, with in-person provision only where it is judged necessary to fulfil learning outcomes, such as for subjects which require clinical, practical or a vocational/professional learning element, and to support student welfare and retention.Universities will review each course and support services, taking into account risks associated with the increased prevalence of the virus at this level, to determine the balance of provision and whether more elements should be temporarily moved online.
4Learning and teaching will be online with an exception for the delivery of critical and time-sensitive learning, assessments and work placements that cannot be delivered remotely or postponed.Critical in-person student wellbeing and studying support services can continue.Additional risk assessment and mitigation measures.Learning and teaching will be online with an exception for the delivery of critical and time-sensitive learning, assessments and work placements that cannot be delivered remotely or postponed.Critical in-person student wellbeing and studying support services can continue.Additional risk assessment and mitigation measures.

It is apparent that the Scottish Government has listened to a large extent to the representations that UCU has been making repeatedly, on the need for online teaching to be the default position, for additional mitigations and for only time sensitive activity that cannot be postponed or done remotely to be done on campus for level 4.   Of course we would prefer the “restricted blended” level 4 definition to be applicable to levels 3 and 2 as well, and will continue to push this case, and ensure there is no get out for employers, particularly in level 3 areas.

As 11 local authority areas moving to level 4, this means the level 4 “restricted blended” definition will apply to HEIs in Glasgow, Stirling, and the west of Scotland from Friday.

If you have any questions please do get in touch at scotland@ucu.org.uk

Also a reminder that the UCU Scotland President Carlo Morelli will be chairing a webinar on “Keeping Universities Safe” tomorrow (Wednesday 18 November) at 2pm, which will hear from our general secretary Jo Grady, Steve Reicher (SAGE/Scottish Govt advisor) and NUS Scotland President Matt Crilly.   The meeting will I’m sure cover these latest developments.  More details:   https://fundthefuture.org.uk/event/keeping-universities-safe-stuc-fringe-meeting/


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