Image: Nick Birse

Queen’s University Belfast to reinstate online learning in January

Most classes at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) will be taught remotely as of January 2022 due to Covid-19 anxieties.

According to their website, QUB made adjustments to how their courses are delivered, “having reviewed the developing public health situation” as a “precautionary measure”.

The rules include a minority of exceptions, going ahead on campus for “teaching that is practical in nature (for example, lab sessions, clinical skills etc.)” and for “face-to-face teaching that is essential for professional accreditation”.

Study spaces, the library, and support services are to remain open at present but postgraduate students and staff have been directed to work from home if possible.

However, they have stated that: “the assessments taking place during the week commencing Tuesday 4 January will proceed as planned, with enhanced social distancing in place”.

QUB offered students living in university accommodation a choice to “pause their contract for the month of January” if they plan to stay elsewhere.

Covid exists and will continue to spread but ultimately life has to go on.

– petitioners against distanced learning

A petition has been launched, requesting the QUB Board of Governors to change these plans before the term starts – it has gained over 1,400 signatures thus far.

Organisers say: “This is not fair on students who have yet again paid for accommodation and tuition fees expecting a more normal university experience and threatens yet another year of disruption to the lives of students, who have seriously suffered two academic years.

“Covid exists and will continue to spread but ultimately life has to go on.

“University students are at a crucial point which massively influences how their life continues much more so than that of other age groups and generations.

“Therefore the impact even a ‘precautionary measure’ such as this could have is significantly more damaging than helpful and should not go ahead.”

In a statement to BBC News NI, a spokesperson for fellow Northern Irish university, Ulster University (UU) stated: “We are monitoring the situation closely and any adjustments to our semester two operations will be made following the executive meeting and any associated guidance on Wednesday”.

 

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