Universities to move online until “at least mid-February”


As part of national restrictions announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson this evening, all students must stay at home and start their term online. 

The new seven-week national lockdown will become law on Wednesday. It tells students to “remain where they are wherever possible”, with very little exception. The will mean previous plans for a phased return in January will have to be delayed until February 15th at the earliest.

Durham University had previously outlined plans for students to make a staggered return, with those in ‘Group A’ and ‘Group B’ returning to blended learning at separate times. Students in Group B – including humanities, law and politics – were initially to start face-to-face teaching on 25th January.

Three days ago, Durham entered Tier 4 restrictions, and Group B was asked to return for 1st February instead, following Group A’s return on the 25th. These plans must now be cancelled or postponed under the new restrictions.

The University has already confirmed that all exams in the summer will be online, and held within a 24-hour window, as opposed to the 48-hour period given in 2020’s exams. 

The restrictions also state that “if you live at university, you should not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time”. Exceptions for face-to-face teaching are in place for some courses – as with previous exceptions, the only courses expected to be affected for Durham students are Education (initial teaching training) and Social Work. 

Durham University is yet to on the new restrictions.



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