Image: Wikimedia Commons/ Pany Goff

Coronavirus cases force European universities to reduce in-person teaching

Rising number of new coronavirus cases across Europe has meant several countries have reduced the scale of their in-person teaching in order to reduce transmission.  

France has shut down restaurants, bars and non-essential shops, meaning all university teaching has moved online apart from practical work.  

French universities have become hotspots for new infections with public health authorities blaming universities for failing to control the virus.  

Despite French universities wishing for face-to-face teaching to remain, their pleas weren’t met, according to Times Higher Education. 

Though Germany’s lockdown doesn’t directly affect universities, many have already moved the majority of their teaching online until the winter. 

A spokesperson for the German Rectors’ Conference stated that “universities feel encouraged in their preventative planning and will probably expand the portion of digital lectures as much as possible”. 

Especially for our first-year students, for whom everything is new, for international students far away from home and for students in vulnerable situations, we will try to facilitate social contact

– Vrije Universities in Brussels

Belgium has been the European country most affected by the pandemic, meaning most of its universities having to move online.  

Nonetheless, some Belgian universities have worried about the mental impact of isolation on students. 

In a statement, the Vrije Universities in Brussels stated that “especially for our first-year students, for whom everything is new, for international students far away from home and for students in vulnerable situations, we will try to facilitate social contact”. 

Switzerland are not taking the blanket policy approach to lockdown like many other European countries, but are instead banning face-to-face teaching from 2 November.  

In Italy, the universities and research minister Gaetano Manfredi has argued for no national campus shutdown, with restrictions being determined on a regional basis.  

According to Times Higher Education, the University of Bologna will see students receive a mixture of online and face-to face classes with an app to regulate numbers.  

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