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18 November 2020

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Tories student 'evacuation' plan will not work

Provide resources for students to return home safely

Person in a mask

Person in a mask   (Click to enlarge)

Bea Gardner, Southampton Socialist Students

The government has finally announced its plans to allow students in England to travel to their non-term time addresses for Christmas. The plans have been imposed on students with no consultation, generate even more uncertainty, and do nothing to alleviate the stress of those currently trapped in student halls.

The plans place an enormous burden of work on university staff with few, if any, resources allocated by the government to support the operation, and next-to-no time to do it. Students will be allocated a 'travel slot' anytime from 3 to 9 December.

The government is allocating a limited number of 'rapid result' Covid tests. But not all students are being tested before they travel. Consequently, students are actually deterred from getting a test, through fear of being forced to self-isolate for another 14 days.

All students were sent a letter from the university minister at the start of the England lockdown, urging them to remain at their term-time address. Now they are being told that, as soon as that lockdown ends, they must travel on a date and time given to them, regardless of personal circumstances, including work and other commitments.

The government has told universities to work with businesses "to discourage opportunities for students to socialise" prior to their travel slot.

Students face a month of lockdown in their rooms, with only minimal in-person classes, and limited possibility to socialise at the end of it, whether or not they actually intend to leave campus over Christmas. Understandably, many are simply ignoring the government's plea and returning home now.

It should be possible for students to safely travel between their term-time and home addresses with no academic detriment. But the privatised test-and-trace system has failed.

Test-and-trace must be brought back into the public sector, fully funded and with the democratic oversight of workers, the community and local authorities - and not run for profit.

University bosses are determined some in-person teaching goes ahead up until the travel window, so they can justify 9,250-a-year tuition fees and huge accommodation rents. It is motivated by desperation to get hold of students' cash at the expense of our health and safety.

We need free education and democratically decided rent control on housing. We need democratic staff and student oversight of the return plans and teaching provision for after Christmas.

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In The Socialist 18 November 2020:


What we think

Tory crisis cannot be 'reset' - workers need a new mass party


News

Tories in turmoil... 'Reset' the whole system! Fight for socialism

Croydon Council declares bankruptcy - no cuts in Croydon or any other council

System failing thousands of children in care

Race disparity gets worse - fight to improve living standards for all


Covid

Covid, vaccines, 'big pharma' - and the need for socialism


Students

Tories student 'evacuation' plan will not work

Wales exams scrapped: What's behind the headline?


Schools

Campaign for school Covid safety must continue


Workplace news

Women workers need strong trade unions to defend their jobs, pay and services

Optare: Right to strike defended

Overcrowded Little Ilford School strikes against more expansion

Strike action ballot at UEL over job cuts

Hackney council parking services brought in-house


TUSC

After Corbyn: TUSC and the fight for working-class political representation


Campaigns

How will Socialism 2020 work?

Manchester student occupation - end rip-off rent, free education now

#SpyCops inquiry - Revealing police violence against Socialists

Selling the Socialist

Stop Leicester hospital closure


Youth

Young Socialists organising for our future


Obituary

Obituary: Paul Chettle


Letters

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Universities:

triangleSolidarity with Manchester students - fight for democratic control of campus safety

triangleDisabled students let down by "rotten education system"

triangleOxbridge gets private Covid tests: pool resources to test us all!

triangleUniversity workers ballot for action against in-person teaching

triangleStudents not to blame for unsafe uni conditions

Student:

triangleManchester student occupation - end rip-off rent, free education now

triangleStrike action ballot at UEL over job cuts

triangleA lockdown that doesn't include education?

triangleFight for your future at the online rally

Tories:

triangleStop the Tories putting profit before health

triangleTories in turmoil... 'Reset' the whole system! Fight for socialism

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

Students:

triangleWales exams scrapped: What's behind the headline?

triangleSchools need union action for safety

Travel:

triangleMayor and government compete to attack London transport: fight for no cuts!

Government:

triangleRace disparity gets worse - fight to improve living standards for all

Lockdown:

triangleStop Leicester hospital closure

Article dated 18 November 2020

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Hugo Pierre, speaking at Socialism 2020, 21st November 2020

Hugo Pierre, a candidate in Unison's general secretary election, speaking at Socialism 2020, 21st November 2020. Click here for a report in the Socialist. Videos will be posted soon.

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