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No in-person lectures at Cambridge in 2020-21

All Cambridge University lectures in the next academic year will only be held online, student newspaper Varsity reports.

An email to Senior Tutors sent today by the Head of Education Services, Alice Benton, outlined the plans. It states that the ‘General Board’s Education Committee’ agreed “since it is highly likely that rigid social distancing will be required throughout the next academic year, there will be no face-to-face lectures next year.”

Lectures will be live-streamed, with a recording to be available on Moodle, an online educational platform. Lecture theatres are planned to be used for “small group teaching” and “Faculties and Departments should continue to plan for face-to-face delivery of seminars, workshops, and small group teaching” while following “strict social distancing requirements.”

Benton writes that “thought should also be given to how this teaching can be delivered remotely should some students not be able to return to residence, or if there is another phase of lockdown preventing students from leaving their College.”

It is considered “highly unlikely” that exams in Michaelmas Term will be “able to take place in examination halls” because “‘the taking of examinations in exam halls cannot comply with rigid social distancing requirements.”

Faculties and Departments should therefore “plan for online delivery” of assessments and should prepare “for there being no examinations in examination halls at all next academic year.”

A spokesperson for Cambridge University told Cherwell: “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.”

Cambridge University told Varsity that the decisions have been “taken now to facilitate planning” but they will “be reviewed should there be changes to official advice on coronavirus.”

The email states that the decision to move lectures online is “in line with thinking across the sector.” The University of Manchester announced last week that lectures in the autumn term will be online – but students will be asked to return to campus and face-to-face small group teaching is planned to continue, if in line with social distancing guidelines.

Image Credit to: Dmitry Tonkonog/Commons.wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

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