Universities switch to online lectures due to coronavirus fears

A number of universities have shut down classes and switched to online teaching due to coronavirus fears.

The official advice is that all educational establishments should remain open as normal.

Most universities close for the Easter break next Friday, and on Thursday Boris Johnson said education settings “should only close if they are specifically advised to do so”.

The Prime Minister said mass school closures could “do more harm than good” but said school trips abroad should be stopped.

However, Durham University, Oxford University and Northumbria University have encouraged online lectures as a replacement for classroom teaching where possible in a bid to minimise face-to-face contact.

Six students at the University of Oxford have been diagnosed with Covid-19, and the university has advised all UK undergraduates to return home over the Easter break.

Exams due to take place during the break have been cancelled, and staff have been encouraged to use technology for meetings, teaching and assessments where possible.

Students at Durham University have been advised they can leave the university a week early and participate in classes remotely for the final week of term.

A lecturer in organic chemistry at the University of Lancaster tweeted this morning: “All classroom teaching at Lancaster University suspended from next week due to the coronavirus. Good decision in my opinion.”

The University of Glasgow has cancelled all field trips, both in the UK and international, in a bid to prioritise preparations for online teaching after the Easter break.

Imperial College will remain open but is encouraging students with weakened immune systems, or other conditions, to work remotely after speaking to an academic adviser.

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