The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is lifting COVID-19 limitations in England, igniting debate among educational decision-makers over student and staff safety.
The British prime minister endorsed England’s “living with COVID-19” plan on Feb. 21, 2022, which would see COVID-19 limitations lifted in England in the hopes of surviving the virus. People who test positive for COVID-19 will no longer be legally obligated to self-isolate as of February 24, 2022, but will merely be encouraged to stay at home for at least five full days.
“Until April 1, 2022, we will still advise people who test positive to stay at home. But after that, we will encourage people with COVID-19 symptoms to exercise personal responsibility, just as we encourage people who may have flu to be considerate to others,” said Johnson in parliament on Monday.
Free mass testing for the general population will cease on April 1, 2022. Several education organizations have criticized the government’s COVID-19 limits in England update, claiming that they are risking the lives of university students and staff ahead of their intentions to stop free testing and remote learning.
“This strategy is dangerous and may lead to COVID-19 outbreaks being missed until it is much too late to restrict infections,” Jo Grady, general secretary of the University and College Union, said in reaction to the decision to discontinue giving free testing.
The government’s decision to make this adjustment at such short notice is likewise utterly irresponsible. When testing is a critical health and safety management tool, ministers must clarify how employers are intended to guarantee that campuses stay safe.
The chief executive of Universities UK, Alistair Jarvis, is likewise concerned about the limits being relaxed. Jarvis found it “difficult to comprehend” why the government wants to withdraw a legal arrangement that allows institutions to give free test kits to students and employees, and he demanded “immediate clarity.”
“We are asking the government for urgent clarification that universities can continue to distribute test kits from the supplies they have on campus—this makes sense when universities have kits which would otherwise go to waste and while there is still demand from students and staff this term,” Jarvis was quoted saying.
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