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Universities are looking at replacing class lectures with online teaching

Face-to-face lessons are being cancelled at some universities due to concerns about coronavirus.

Universities including Loughborough, Durham, Manchester Metropolitan and the London School of Economics are offering online teaching instead.

They said they were taking the measures as a precaution.

The University and College Union (UCU) is urging educational institutions to try and keep open accommodation and other services students rely on.

Universities are looking at how to deliver teaching remotely through recorded lectures and handouts.

Loughborough has had a single confirmed case of Covid-19 associated with the university.

It told students it hoped to make provision for “activities which are more difficult to replace virtually”, such as students undertaking work in laboratories.

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Durham University has 17,500 students from around the world

Durham which had no confirmed cases of the virus at its university, has also cancelled or postponed foreign field trips until further notice.

Its library and campus will remain open, but all lessons will be delivered online as much as was possible from 16 March.

Meanwhile a London School of Economics spokesman said he hoped the action would provide “reassurance” to staff and students.

He confirmed campus and halls of residence would stay open in line with guidance from Public Health England which “maintains that there is presently low risk and that buildings, services and facilities can run as usual.”

Online lectures and exams will start from 23 March.

On its website the vice chancellor at Manchester Metropolitan University said face-to-face teaching would end from Friday 27 March, “and potentially sooner, if requested by the government”.

“To be prudent, the university is also planning how best to deliver assessments, exams and credits, should we need to change our usual processes for the Summer Term,” Professor Malcolm Press said.

The UCU, which represents more than 120,000 university and adult education staff, has stressed the importance keeping student accommodation open.

“Universities simply cannot shut down and abandon those students who rely on it for things like accommodation and we trust all these important matters are being kept under review,” the UCU said.

On Thursday, the University of Oxford confirmed a further three students had tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total to five.

A student at the University of Bristol has tested positive for Covid-19 after returning to the city from abroad.

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