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UCU response to Manchester universities moving learning online

6 October 2020 | last updated: 13 October 2020

UCU welcomed the decision taken by the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University to move learning online, but said Covid outbreaks could have been prevented had the decision been taken earlier.

Manchester Evening News reported that both universities will move to teaching entirely online from tomorrow until at least 30 October due to a very significant increase in Covid infections across Manchester. The situation will be reviewed on 23 October.

Over the past two weeks major outbreaks have been reported at the University of Manchester and at Manchester Metropolitan University.

UCU regional official Martyn Moss said: 'We have been calling for online learning to be the default position since summer and this is the right decision. Unfortunately, Manchester's universities are moving online to manage outbreaks that could have been prevented had they listened to us sooner. Hundreds of students that did not have to move into student accommodation are now self-isolating without their familiar support network.

'Manchester's universities need to make sure all students and staff are supported to stay off campus as much as possible and allow students to safely return home if they wish to do so. The universities also need ensure staff are given the resources to provide students the best possible remote learning experience under these difficult conditions and undertake careful longer term planning, instead of rushing to return to in-person teaching.

'It is clear the government needs to stop pretending university campuses are well prepared for this crisis, and tell all universities to halt in-person teaching to control the spread of the virus.'

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