Cambridge University in the UK on Tuesday announced that it would be moving all face-to-face lectures online until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A spokesman of the institution, who broke the news in a statement, said the measures became necessary due to the challenges posed to physical learning by the COVID-19 crisis.
“The university is constantly adapting to changing advice as it emerges during this pandemic. 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,” the statement read.
The 800-year-old institution, however, said smaller teaching groups may be allowed if they meet social distancing requirements.
“Lectures will continue to be made available online and it may be possible to host smaller teaching groups in person, as long as this conforms to social-distancing requirements,” it added.
“This decision has been taken now to facilitate planning, but as ever, will be reviewed should there be changes to official advice on coronavirus.”
The move comes days after the office for students (OfS), the higher education regulator, enjoined universities to tell their prospective students the realities they are likely to face due to the pandemic.
During a virtual education select committee on Monday, Nicola Dandridge, chief executive at the OfS, said universities should not engage in giving their students promises that everything would likely return to normal soon.
The development makes Cambridge the first university in the UK to embark on a full 2020-21 academic year online.
The University of Manchester had earlier announced a similar move but pointed out its lectures would be online only for the next term.
It is also the latest among measures trawled by educational institutions to grapple with the effect of the killer virus.
Journalists had reported how Arizona State University in the US held a graduation ceremony for its students virtually using robots due to pandemic.