Arts students may return to universities as late as 2021

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By Benjamin Salmon, Deputy News Editor

Bristol University says the picture is still too uncertain to make any decisions on teaching next year.

Students taking arts and humanities courses may not have face-to-face teaching until January next year, a national teaching body has implied.

Contingency plans resulting from COVID-19 uncertainty revealed that students undertaking practical subjects such as medicine, veterinary science and dentistry may be fast-tracked to return in September.

Professor Malcolm Reed, co-chair of the Medical School Council and the Dean of Brighton and Sussex Medical School said that the 33 medical schools in the country were all backing the earlier return of health and science courses.

Professor Reed told The Sunday Times: ‘It is the same for veterinary, dentistry, nursing and other subjects. They have to come back to be able to meet the requirements of their degrees.'

Worries over the spread of COVID-19 in lecture theatres prompted the university sector to support only allowing arts students back as part of a second wave of returnees.

Vice-chancellor of Sussex University, Professor Adam Tickell, also said: 'We are all looking into whether we should have staggered opening dates [for different courses]. We are … making contingency plans to start as late as January and teach degrees online in the autumn.'

Bristol University refused to confirm whether it would follow suit, citing the ongoing uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis, though it is implied from the national picture that Bristol will join its fellow medical schools.

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In a statement, the University said: ‘No final decisions have been taken about teaching next year.However, we are planning a flexible model of education for students, consulting with students and staff, and monitoring the national picture.

‘We are keen to offer the best quality teaching for our students, whether online or face to face, or a combination of the two.We will update staff and students as plans develop.’

Featured picture credit: Flickr / University of Bristol Alumni and Friends


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