The University of Cambridge has announced that it will suspend face-to-face lectures during the next academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement released on the evening of Tuesday 19 May, the university said: “Given that it is likely that social distancing will continue to be required, the university has decided there will be no face-to-face lectures during the next academic year. Lectures will continue to be made available online.”
The university explained that “it may be possible to host smaller teaching groups in person as long as this conforms to social distancing requirements”.
The statement added that the decision will be reviewed if the government makes substantive changes to its coronavirus guidance.
The University of Manchester has also announced that lectures would move online for the first semester.
Manchester’s vice-president for teaching, learning and students, April McMahon, said in an email to undergraduates that the university was “keen to continue with other face-to-face activities, such as small group teaching and tutorials, as safely and as early as we can”.
In an education select committee hearing on Monday 18 May, the chief executive of the Office for Students, Nicola Dandridge, urged universities to offer “absolute clarity” about what their educational provision next year would look like.
General secretary of the University and College Union, Dr Jo Grady, warned MPs in the committee that some universities would “compete” to resume face-to-face learning as early as possible in a bid to attract undergraduates during what could prove a difficult period for student recruitment.
Ms Dandridge warned universities not to make promises about “campus experiences” if courses are taught online.
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