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University to suspend face-to-face teaching on campus from Monday

Face-to-face classes to stop from 23 March.

In the wake of a University of Sydney (USyd) student being diagnosed with COVID-19 and rising concerns about the coronavirus across New South Wales, USyd is set to cease face-to-face teaching on campus from Monday.

With many USyd classes already online, the Crisis Management Committee at the University has officially announced that the university will accelerate this move with this fixed date.

In an email to staff, Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence reports: “For units of study with labs, studios and other practical course components, online or remote arrangements will be put in place or will be suspended to later in the semester, or the year.” But “some clinical placements and workshops will go ahead.” As of yet, it is unclear which placements and workshops these are.

The email continues: “in addition to normal leave entitlements up to 10 days special leave will be available to staff to support them in dealing with the impacts of COVID-19.”

Facilities, including libraries, computer labs, research and study spaces will remain open to students and staff while increased cleaning protocols continue.

The decision follows weeks of uncertainty regarding campus and the coronavirus, alongside increased student pressure on the University to shut down. At the time of publishing, a student petition to Vice-Chancellor to Michael Spence calling on the University to close has almost 5000 signatures.

This week has already seen the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) cease in person appointments, the University of Sydney Union (USU) cancel revues, and the unprecedented shift to an online election in May for new Student Directors.

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