Many of the top universities in the UK have refused to return to full face-to-face classes in the autumn, despite government advice that they can lift all Covid-19 restrictions, local media reported.
According to The Sunday Times report, 20 of the leading 24 Russell Group universities said a proportion of undergraduate teaching will continue to be held online, which means they will offer blended learning to mix the online and face-to-face teaching for classes, seminars and lectures, reports Xinhua news agency.
Meanwhile, two-thirds of the 65 universities polled by the Times Higher Education magazine confirmed that most lectures would remain online for the coming academic year, but that they planned as much in-person teaching as possible.
They said the decisions were driven by the risk of coronavirus spreading in large lecture classrooms, as well as the educational benefits of blended learning.
Most universities said they would require students to wear masks on campuses. Some will also instruct students to socially distance.
Students may also need to be double jabbed to attend concerts, discos or other social events.
The decision has dismayed college students who coped with severe disruption last year.
Students in Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool have launched petitions calling for a full return to “normality in terms of teaching” and demanding fee refunds.
In Manchester, where some of the strictest lockdowns took place, nearly 10,000 have signed.
Claire Marchant, chief executive of the universities admissions service Ucas, said that online teaching might mean that universities could enrol more students.
It was predicted that top universities in Britain have to cope with a 10 per cent surge of applicants with A and A+ grades, compared to 2019, due to the cancellation of college entrance exams in the pandemic.
Most Covid-19 restrictions in England have been lifted last month as part of the final step of the British government’s roadmap out of the lockdown.