Regular followers of this website will know that recently Ralph Oswick – former Artistic Director of Bath Natural Theatre – was having a self-proclaimed ‘rant’ about what he saw from his window.
“I was surprised to see a large body of young people making their merry way across the adjacent Victoria Bridge, chattering and guffawing as they passed.
I lost count at 50. No social distancing was in evidence and nary a mask could be seen. A few minutes later a similar group numbering at least 30 followed in their wake.”
Ralph felt passionate enough to make contact with both our universities and explain to them what he’d seen.
It’s brought a fulsome reply too from Ghika Savva who is Community Liaison Co-ordinator which covers both academic institutions.
Her letter may be of general interest so Ralph wants it shared with everyone. Ghika wrote:
“I cover both Universities as I work for the Student Community Partnership, a joint venture between the Bath Spa and Bath Universities, Bath College, their Student Unions, Norland College and B&NES local authority. We aim to improve relations between students living in the city and other local residents. So I do appreciate you raising matters like this one as it gives me an opportunity to explain what the Universities are doing to educate and inform students about the pandemic.
All students living on campuses and in shared homes in Bath have been told that they must follow the relevant government Covid-19 rules. Both the Universities and their Students’ Union are in regular touch with students to advise them of the current regulations – both reiterating the requirements and updating them whenever the national picture or guidance changes.
This information was initially provided to students by Bath Spa University through the Community Pledge here and by the University of Bath in the Shared Living Agreements here, advising on how to be good neighbours. These agreements stress the importance of following the government’s rules for social distancing, maximum size gatherings, hand washing, wearing face coverings and all other aspects of Covid-19 compliance.
The Universities also make clear that these rules are in place to protect students, staff and members of the wider community and that adherence to government and University rules is taken extremely seriously. The consequences for breaking these rules are clearly outlined to students and include disciplinary action (potentially leading to exclusion, suspension or expulsion), fines and referral to the police for prosecution. The Universities have been pro-active in investigating any breaches of University rules and have taken disciplinary action against students where this was found.
Students are updated regularly via the Covid-19 pages on Bath Spa’s website here and the University of Bath’s sitehere. All students are expected to take two tests on their return to Bath, three days apart, and are encouraged to also take a test before they travel. Students are then expected to continue with twice weekly testing while they are at University, they are encouraged via dedicated webpages, all student emails, emails have been sent to academic staff to cascade, information posted on residences Teams sites, posters have been placed in every residency kitchen, briefings have been sent to key student-facing staff and graphics are prominently displayed on campus buildings and Digital signage.
The University of Bath publishes daily Covid-19 statistics here and Bath Spa publishes weekly Covid-19 statistics here and you will notice that the University of Bath currently has no reported cases and there has been just one case at Bath Spa. Whenever the Universities receive a report of a positive Covid-19 test result from a student or staff member they alert both Public Health England and Bath & North East Somerset Council.
The individual is contacted directly to check on their welfare and offered wellbeing support and guidance, including public health advice. There is also follow up to check whether they have been on campus or in University buildings, whether there have been any ‘close contacts’ as defined by Public Health England and other steps as outlined in the University of Bath’s Outbreak Management Plan and Bath Spa University’s Local Outbreak Management Plan LOMP.
The University of Bath Security Team operates all year around the clock and are able to respond to concerns on campus but also at private residences in the city. They can be contacted on 01225 385349. They work closely with the Student Community Partnership (07814 285710) and these two teams will follow up resident complaints, engage with students about their behaviour and liaise with other agencies, including the Police and Environmental Protection as necessary.
I hope this information is reassuring. If you do have any further concerns about student behaviour on campus or in the City please do contact me.”
With kind regards