The University of Sydney (USyd) is pushing back the start of Semester 2 by three weeks, with classes now set to begin on Monday 24 August. The semester will be 12 weeks long, a week shorter than usual.
The decision comes after weeks of uncertainty as to what would happen, following a campus closure for most of this semester, which has seen classes shift online amidst the coronavirus pandemic and enforced social distancing measures.
At this stage, it is unclear whether classes will return to campus or remain online, though pushing back the dates seems to indicate a potential return to some on-campus learning in Semester 2.
Staff have been told that plans for online teaching remain in place, as plans for the gradual recommence of face-to-face teaching are considered.
In an email announcing the delay to staff, Vice Chancellor Michael Spence stated that the reopening of campus will depend on “further health advice from the Australian and NSW governments.”
The move comes after the Federal Education Minister, Dan Tehan, publicly pushed last week for universities to reopen next semester.
The University has said the decision was made to allow further time for teaching staff to prepare online learning courses and to allow more time for prospective students to enrol.
However, the border closures, which have stopped tens of thousands of international students returning to classes will likely remain in place.
The University has previously announced that it projects a $470 million revenue loss from coronavirus-related enrolment drops this semester.
More to come.