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All face-to-face teaching to stop at University of Sheffield

Written by on 07/10/2020

The University of Sheffield has announced that it will temporarily stop face-to-face teaching.

The University has seen 589 cases of the virus since the beginning of the Autumn term, which started on September 28.

Sheffield is now likely to be going into a local lockdown within the week, said Labour MP Louise Haigh following a surge in new cases recorded after the national testing scandal.

The University of Sheffield posted the update on their website and said that all teaching, except clinical teaching, will be moving online from Friday.

“We’re temporarily moving all teaching online, with the exception of clinical teaching, from Friday 9 October”, the update read.

It continued: “Face-to-face teaching will resume from Monday 19 October. This is in response to the increase in Covid-19 cases in the city and within our university community.

“Face-to-face teaching scheduled for Wednesday 7 October and Thursday 8 October will continue as normal.”

Britain’s leading union, Unite, has welcomed the University’s decision and had previously raised concerns about the spread of covid among staff, students and the community.

In a press release, the union said that it had been concerned the University was “pushing ahead and opening up too quickly”.

They also believed that the University was “responding too slowly” when Unite health and safety representatives pointed out their concerns about “potential hazard points”.

Unite’s regional officer, Harriet Eisner, said: “We welcome the university’s decision to finally take action after numerous concerns were raised by the union about exposure to Covid-19 since the campus re-opened.

“The university has now given itself some space and we hope management will use this time to work with union health and safety representatives to develop proper risk assessments and safe working practices.”

This comes as the universities minister, Michelle Donelan, announced that the Department for Education (DfE) would be launching a new hotline this week.

She said that students could call the hotline, which is dedicated to university staff and students, if they had concerns about coronavirus on their campus.

The minister said it would be “unacceptable” for students to pay high tuition fees if an institution failed to provide support or high quality provision.

And she said that the DfE was working with universities across the nation to bring forward the end of term, so that students who need to quarantine could still return to their families for Christmas.

She told the Education Select Committee: “What won’t change is the fact that students can go home for Christmas. Whatever happens we will make sure that is a possibility.”