Cambridge varsity goes online till 2021

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Cambridge University will have no face-to-face lectures until summer 2021 at the earliest in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

It is the first U.K. university to set out its plans for the academic year starting in September.

“The university is constantly adapting to changing advice as it emerges during the pandemic,” the university said.

“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 would continue to be available online.

Smaller teaching groups could also take place in person, the university said, but only as long as they conform to social-distancing requirements.

The university moved all teaching online in March. Exams will also be carried out virtually. The decision by Cambridge comes as a row has escalated in the U.K. about whether or not it is safe for students to return to school.

Government ministers plan to partially reopen English primary schools from June 1, but this is being challenged by some unions and local councils over safety concerns. Britain has the highest death toll in Europe and the second-worst in the world behind the United States.

The government’s official rolling tally, of deaths after positive tests, stood at 35,341 on Tuesday. But broader statistics including suspected virus deaths took the toll to at least 41,000.

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