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Oxford University plans to resume face-to-face teaching next academic year

Oxford University intends to use both face-to-face and online teaching at the start of the 2020/21 academic year.

Its vice-chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson, said that the institution had “every intention of resuming the life of the university next term with as large a student cohort as possible”.

This move is a contrast to the University of Cambridge’s plans – in a statement, Cambridge revealed that it would move all face-to-face lectures online until Summer 2021.

However, the university also said that “it may be possible to host smaller teaching groups in person”.

Oxford has used online teaching and assessment from April, and it cancelled graduations ceremonies between May and August.

It has now announced that a group was “drawing in widespread representation and expertise from colleges and departments” about how teaching could both resume and adhere to safety guidelines for its Michaelmas term, which begins on 1 October.

However, the vice-chancellor warned that “emerging” from the ongoing crisis “will be a slow and protracted process”.

In many ways universities, and especially this one, have come into their own during this crisis

– Professor Louise Richardson

Speaking to staff, Prof Richardson said: “In many ways universities, and especially this one, have come into their own during this crisis.

“There is also a growing appreciation of the critical importance of our research. It turns out that people cannot get enough of experts, after all.”

As well as Cambridge, both Manchester and Stirling Universities have announced that their Autumn terms will see online classes continue.

Oxford is taking part in the fight against Covid-19, and could provide an experimental vaccine as early as September.

Professor Adrian Hill, director of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, revealed early this month that his team’s “aim is to have about a million doses by September once we have the results of our vaccine efficacy tests”.

“Then we’ll move even faster from there, because it’s pretty clear that the world is going to need hundreds of millions of doses ideally by the end of the year to end this pandemic and let us out of lockdown safely.”

One of its leading epidemiologists also called for a more rapid exit from Britain’s lockdown this month, saying that Covid-19 is “on its way out”.

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