Cambridge University Will Keep All Lectures Online Until Summer 2021
The University of Cambridge has announced it will keep all lectures online until the end of the next academic year.
The university added that the situation would be constantly reviewed and teaching in small groups may continue next year, provided social distancing measures can be safely observed.
In a statement, the university said: "The university is constantly adapting to changing advice as it emerges during this pandemic.
"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 and it may be possible to host smaller teaching groups in person, as long as this conforms to social distancing requirements.
"This decision has been taken now to facilitate planning, but as ever, will be reviewed should there be changes to official advice on coronavirus."
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The move comes after higher education regulator the Office for Students (OfS) told universities they should be transparent with students about how their education will be affected by Covid-19 before they make choices about the upcoming academic year.
Speaking on Monday at a session of the House of Commons Education Select Committee, Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the OfS, said: "What we are requiring is that universities are as clear as they can be to students, so that students when they accept an offer from a university know in broad terms what they will be getting.
"What we don't want to see is promises that it's all going to be back to a usual, on-campus experience, when it turns out that that's not the case.
"The important thing here is absolute clarity to students so they know what they're getting in advance of accepting offers."
Universities can charge full fees even if courses are taught online and Jo Grady, the general secretary of the University and College Union, said the Government needed to take action to prevent universities opening campuses too early in a bid to attract students.
She said: "If you think about university campuses they've already normally quite cluttered from over recruitment - students go round from cafe to libraries to restaurants, everywhere's always rammed.
"Lecture theatres that often hold 200 or 300 people are down a tiny corridor. At 10 to the hour there's people mixing.
"The idea that we can leave what that guidance should look like to numerous different universities when they're also in competition with each other to try and attract students I think would be incredibly dangerous."
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