Global survey conducted by THE reveals concerns that reopening universities could drive spikes in infections and that financial concerns are being prioritised over well-being

Less than one in four university staff feel safe returning to work on campus as coronavirus continues to spread, according to a global survey conducted by Times Higher Education.

In the survey, which was completed by 1,195 academics and higher education professionals around the world, nearly nine out of 10 respondents said that they were concerned that reopening campuses could lead to a spike in Covid-19 cases in their area. By a two-to-one margin, respondents identified financial concerns as the key factor in institutions’ reopening plans, ahead of staff and student safety.

The results of the survey, which was open from 4 to 14 September, emerge as campus reopenings in key sectors such as the UK and US coincide with a surge in infection rates across the globe.

Two-thirds of respondents said that their university was requiring them to return to campus, even if only partly, within the next two months. But most – 56 per cent – said that they would not feel safe going back, with 22 per cent saying that they would, and 22 per cent unsure.

Read more : Anna McKie, Paul Basken : Times Higher Education : 17 Sep 2020