Coronavirus: UK Universities Moving to Online Teaching and Examinations

Due to the current state in the world regarding coronavirus COVID-19, more and more UK universities are halting their classes or moving them online.

According to higher education experts at portal, this they think is a necessary step to be taken in order to prevent the spread of the new disease, and thus reduce the pressure on the National Health Service (NHS).

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Currently, universities all around the world are moving their classes online or halting them altogether, including UK universities. The London School of Economics, King’s College London, Manchester Metropolitan University, as well as the University of Durham among others claimed that they will end “face-to-face” teaching and substitute it with online classes, seminars, and video lectures.

The director of the London School of Economics (LSE), Minouche Shafik, has announced in a statement that “all teaching activity for taught undergraduate and postgraduate students will be delivered online from Monday 23 March or before where possible, for the remainder of the 2019/2020 academic year.” She has also announced that all examinations scheduled for the Summer Term, will be held online or through other forms of alternate assessment.

Face-to-face teaching, however, will see its temporary halt at the Manchester Metropolitan University from Friday 27 March (or sooner, if requested by the government). The university has also announced that it is planning beforehand, in case there will be a need to change the usual assessment methods.

The Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, Claire O’Malley, has announced that teaching will continue as per usual, but on a digital-basis, starting Monday 16 March, up until the end of Term. College accommodation, campus, and university libraries will remain open at both LSE and Durham University; but LSE director claims they are willing to close campus as well, in case it is advised to do so in the future.

In addition to the formerly mentioned universities, Edinburgh University, University of Salford, University of Bristol, University of Nottingham, and the University of Southampton have also undertaken protective measures against coronavirus COVID-19.

The University of Salford has suspended teaching starting 16 March, for everyone except those in their final year of undergraduate or postgraduate study, stating that this time will give the university space to plan the necessary precautions regarding this “fast-changing situation”. Likewise, the University of Edinburgh has also made known that lectures will be accessible remotely by the 23rd of March.

The last day of face-to-face classes will be Wednesday, 18 March, for students of the University of Bristol. The university told students not to “turn up to classrooms, seminars or tutorials” after the appointed date.

A Bristol student has been tested positive for COVID-19, after arriving in Bristol from abroad. “The student followed Public Health England (PHE) advice and self-isolated in private accommodation before they displayed symptoms,” Professor Sarah Purdy, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience at the University of Bristol, said in an announcement.

“We ask all students and staff to continue to follow Government and PHE advice, washing hands with soap regularly, and use the 111 coronavirus service if you begin to develop symptoms,” claimed the professor.

In addition, student support services in higher education institutions in the UK are continuously willing to offer general support to concerned students. Students are offered the possibility to either contact their institution’s wellbeing student services, the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), or the Department for Education (DfE) to inquire information regarding COVID-19.

Safety measures against coronavirus COVID-19 include washing your hands frequently for around 20-30 seconds with soap. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands, keep your distance (at least 1 meter) from people showing flu symptoms, avoid crowds, and clean/disinfect frequently touched objects.

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