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Sheffield's universities' decision to move only some teaching online do not go far enough, says union

7 October 2020 | last updated: 23 November 2020

UCU said steps taken by Sheffield's universities to reduce in-person teaching did not go far enough, and showed the government needs to change its guidance immediately.

This week, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University both said they will move more learning online. The University of Sheffield said all teaching will move online from Friday until 18 October. Sheffield Hallam said it will increase the proportion of online teaching, but keep some on-campus.

Sheffield Hallam has seen over 370 cases of Covid since the beginning of term and the University of Sheffield has seen 589 cases. The local area has also seen a dramatic increase in the number of people testing positive.

UCU regional official Julie Kelley said: 'The measures taken by Sheffield's universities will not do enough to help stop the spread of the virus. The University of Sheffield is pausing in-person teaching for a week, yet the quarantine periods last 14 days, and Sheffield Hallam is still continuing with some in-person teaching on campus.

'We have seen a huge increase in transmission in the local area and local outbreaks. Sheffield's universities need to make sure staff are given the resources to provide students with a high quality remote learning experience and undertake careful longer term planning, instead of rushing to return to in-person teaching.

'The piecemeal approach being taken by universities shows how dangerous the government's lack of planning has been. We desperately need a nationally coordinated response from government that moves working online to help lower the rate of transmission and stem this crisis.'

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