Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, has replied to my letter urging the city’s pandemic planners to scrutinise the University of Bristol’s arrangements for reopening its campus.
The university has meanwhile issued a statement setting out how it intends to make reopening safe for students, staff and the wider population (see links below).
I wrote to the mayor on 12 August suggesting that he and Bristol’s director of public health, Christina Gray, should take a close look at UoB’s reopening plans to ensure community safety. I noted there had been an enormous spike in noisy gatherings over the summer, despite two public warnings to students from university leaders. I questioned how reopening could be safe if UoB is unable to secure students’ compliance with Covid restrictions.
After a month’s delay and a further email prompt from me, the mayor sent this response:
“The University of Bristol and University of the West of England have been proactive in their Covid-19 preparedness. Both Universities are working closely with our Public Health team in the development of their plans. In additional they are engaged in funded research programmes to increase knowledge and help manage this disease.
"The risks from young people mixing is indeed an identified issue in many countries, and the issues arising from anti-social behaviour are not limited to students.
"Both universities are communicating carefully and directly with their students. We are supporting this with wider communication focused on younger people across the city. We recognise the economic and cultural benefits which our students and universities bring to Bristol and we will continue to work with them to ensure that student community returns safely.”
(I heard nothing from Christina Gray.)