THE University of Worcester will allow teaching 'in person' as Cambridge university calls a halt to face-to-face teaching.

The city's university is preparing to re-start 'in-person teaching' in September, under a careful plan to Save Lives; Protect the NHS; Live; Learn.

In contrast there will be no face-to-face lectures at the University of Cambridge over the course of the next academic year due to coronavirus.

Lectures will be available to students online and "it may be possible to host smaller teaching groups in person" if they meet social distancing requirements, the university said.

It follows a similar move by the University of Manchester, which said its lectures would be online-only for the next term.

Professor David Green CBE, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Worcester, said: “The university is committed to ensuring we continue to contribute our all to the national recovery from Covid-19.

"This includes the best possible education of several thousand health and education professional students, who will benefit from practical face-to-face teaching. We are actively undertaking a series of practical examinations and risk assessments to ensure that we can do this in the safest possible way, respecting physical distancing and other guidance.

"We are in discussions with our health trust, school and other partners to do all we can to ensure students can continue to learn safely in their practical placements.”

Professor Green said re-starting as much in-person activity as is possible was in the best interest of students.

“Research already shows that students from disadvantaged backgrounds have found it hardest to progress their studies during the lockdown,” he said. “As one of the UK’s universities which best reflects society, with a long, proud record of combining widening participation with educational quality, we must do all we can to ensure that the University of Worcester remains a powerful engine of educational opportunity.”

The University is planning to introduce a number of measures to ensure a safe start to the new academic year, which include extending the teaching day in order to diminish the ‘peak use’ of the campus, control of entrances and introduction of on-campus one-way systems, the creation of covered outdoor space for dining and informal learning, and the introduction of outdoor washing stations. 

The university hopes to run smaller in-person lectures, strictly respecting physical distancing guidelines, with simultaneous online broadcast and organising students into ‘bubbles’ who might participate in every other lecture in-person, depending on the group and room size.

Worcester is taking a significantly different approach from that being adopted by the University of Cambridge, of which Professor Green is a graduate.

“Our approach will of course remain under continuous review as the national situation evolves and the scientific understanding of Covid-19 and how to tackle it improves. Naturally, we will comply with all relevant government regulations and seek to be an exemplar of good practice in promoting health and safety as well as in the testing, tracing and isolating approach to the virus which has been so successfully adopted elsewhere and is so highly likely to be adopted in Britain over the coming months,” he said.