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Coronavirus: UoM expected to use Week 8 as transition week towards online teaching

Live updates as universities across the UK start to take measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Universities across the country are taking steps to move all teaching online following a step-up in coronavirus measures.

The Mancunion understands that the University of Manchester are planning to use Week 8 (commencing Monday, March 16th) as a transition period between face-to-face and online teaching.

Durham University and Liverpool University are among those ending face-to-face teaching and telling students that from next week, they will not be expected to attend classes. Earlier today, it was announced that all schools and colleges in the Republic of Ireland would close over the virus.

An email sent to Durham students says that, starting next week, all classes will be moved online in order to “reduce the risk of immediate infection”. A source from the University of Liverpool told The Mancunion that students on non-clinical degrees will also not be expected to attend lectures and seminars next week.

King’s College London (KCL) have sent an email to students confirming that all exams scheduled for the summer examination period will be changed to alternative methods of assessment, saying they “will not hold conventional unseen exams over this period”.

Manchester Metropolitan University have told students that face-to-face teaching will not resume after Easter break, but could halt “potentially sooner, if requested by the government.”

However, university vice-chancellors have told the government that a complete shutdown of UK universities would be “impossible” as it would leave thousands of students stranded.

Speaking to The Guardian, vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England (UWE) Professor Steve West, said: ““My bottom line back to government has been that they can’t treat universities like big schools because we aren’t.

“I’ve got 4,500 students living on campus: some of them are care leavers or estranged from their families and many are international students. We can’t just shut down as they would have nowhere to go.”

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Nicole Wootton-Cane

Deputy Editor of The Mancunion

5:18 pm

Nicole Wootton-Cane

Leaked staff emails suggest that UoM will use week 8 as a transition week in order to move towards online classes

5:12 pm

Nicole Wootton-Cane

The Mancunion understands that the School of Arts, Languages, and Cultures (SALC) is preparing to move to online teaching from mid-next week for the duration of the academic year

4:54 pm

Nicole Wootton-Cane

Bristol University is understood to have cancelled summer exams

4:54 pm

Nicole Wootton-Cane

Oxford University tell students that all teaching is cancelled from next week

11:18 am

Nicole Wootton-Cane

Lancaster University also suspends face-to-face teaching from next week

7:23 pm

Nicole Wootton-Cane

The Mancunion understands that some students have received emails from lecturers “strongly suggesting” students take books needed over the next few weeks out of library

5:03 pm

Nicole Wootton-Cane

People with persistent cough or fever told to self-isolate for 7 days from tomorrow, PM Boris Johnson says

4:49 pm

Nicole Wootton-Cane

Saudi Arabia announces lockdown in response to coronavirus

Saudi Arabian residents studying in the UK have been forced to make the difficult choice of either remaining in the country or returning home, after Saudi Arabia gives 72 hour warning for lockdown in response to increasing cases of coronavirus.

Aya-zoe Atallah, a final year undergraduate student at the University of Manchester, has made the decision to return home before all international travel to and from the country is suspended:

She told The Mancunion that she felt she had little choice in the matter but is worried about the impact this will have on her degree: “I couldn’t risk being stuck away from home, but I’m stressing about how this will affect my studies more than anything else. As a final year student I’ll have no access to the libraries or contact hours with lecturers, so on top of all the strikes I’ll have zero support for my upcoming deadlines and dissertation.

“I’ve been told by student support to apply for mitigating circumstances so hopefully that helps, but how much can they do without knowing the future of the virus? The uncertainty about the whole situation is what scares me the most. What happens with my education is all up in the air at the moment.”

On Thursday March 12th, the Saudi Press Agency released information from the Ministry of Interior about the country’s precautionary measures, stating that, “the kingdom’s government has decided to temporarily suspend the travel of citizens and expatriates and suspend flights.”

People have been given 72 hours to either exit the country or return, before the country goes into temporary lockdown.

This follows the decision of the Italian government on March 10th to restrict international travel to and from the country, allowing only those who can provide medical certification that they do not have coronavirus to cross the border.

The impact of coronavirus on those studying at UK universities continues to grow as not only are many students studying abroad and within the UK being forced to make decisions regarding returning home, but also a number of UK institutions, including Durham and KCL, have recently announced a move towards online teaching and examinations.

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