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University students told not to attend classes during coronavirus outbreak will learn online

© Joe Pepler/Shutterstockuniversity of glasgow
The University of Glasgow

Scots students are being told not to attend classes and will learn and sit exams online to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Two universities have told students not to go in while the rest are escalating online learning and cancelling face-to-face teaching.

Glasgow University announced yesterday it had three confirmed coronavirus cases. It is understood two are students and one is a member of staff.

There are 300,000 students at Scottish universities and colleges, many due to sit exams next month.

They will be taught remotely with online lectures. Course work and exams will also be taken online.

The decision follows discussions between universities and colleges and Further and Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead on Friday.

The University of West of Scotland and Glasgow Caledonian University are advising students not to go onto campus.

A Universities Scotland spokesperson said: “Universities are working to move teaching and assessment online.

“University exams are due to start in mid to late April, for most universities, which gives institutions time to put new arrangements in place.”

Shona Struthers, chief executive of Colleges Scotland, said: “Colleges are planning to remain open and the sector is preparing for the prospect of significantly expanding its online learning.”

Glasgow University said three people tested positive for Covid-19 and have been advised to self-isolate.

A spokesperson said: “The university will remain open, although face-to-face teaching will cease from Monday.” The campus will remain open, including the library.

A St Andrews student tested positive for coronavirus after visiting Switzerland, the university said on Friday.

A spokesperson for the University and College Union, which represents lecturers and academics, said: ‘The piecemeal approach we have seen so far is doing little to inspire confidence.

“Universities should be looking to close as many of their core functions as is possible to safeguard staff and students’ health.

“We need guarantees that nobody will be punished – financially or academically.”