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Bristol Uni confirms no immediate change to teaching in light of upcoming lockdown

The University today issued an interim announcement pending further clarification and information from the Department of Education.

By Filiz Emily Gurer, News Editor

Bristol University announced on Monday afternoon there will be no immediate change to teaching pending further information from the Department of Education.

In a statement the University confirmed there will be no immediate shift for teaching to move completely online, with its ‘blended learning’ approach set to continue.

The University, however, said it will confirm its approach tomorrow, Tuesday 3 November.

This follows the announcement of upcoming lockdown measures to take effect in England from this Thursday, 5 November.

Today, the University of Bristol met with Public Health England and Bristol City Council today to conduct its regular institutional risk assessment process in relation to COVID-19.

Following the meeting, a spokesperson for the University of Bristol said: ‘It was noted that, overall, our university institutional risk is now slightly lower than it was, and no changes to the measures currently in place are required from a health perspective.

‘On this basis alone, we would not vary our current balance of in-person and online education or our approach to research activities.’

Over the course of Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the University recorded another 101 cases among staff and students.

Sunday’s increase of 17 confirmed cases among students and no additional staff infections was the lowest in more than two weeks, though this rose to another 22 students and three staff members on Monday, 2 November.

This announcement follows calls earlier today from Bristol University’s Students’ Union for the University to ‘show leadership’ and move all non-essential in-person teaching online for the rest of TB1.

In their statement today, the spokesperson for the University referred to the guidance issued by the Government on 1 November and said that Bristol University is ‘mindful that the Government has made it clear that even during lockdown universities should stay open, along with colleges and schools.’

The announcement also acknowledges that the Department for Education's guidance is that ‘universities and adult education settings should consider moving to increased levels of online learning where possible.’

It states that the University is ‘awaiting more detailed guidance on this.’

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Clarifying their position, the spokesperson said: ‘We will take this into account in our decision-making, along with local institutional risk assessment and wider staff and student feedback.

‘We hope that the further guidance from DfE will be received in time to inform our decision, but recognise that an early clarification of our approach during the lockdown period will be important to help us all plan. We will therefore confirm our approach tomorrow.’

Featured Image: Epigram / Lucy O'Neill

What do you think about the statement issued by the University today?