Complete shutdown of UK universities due to Covid-19 ‘impossible’

University vice-chancellors have told the government they cannot completely shut down if the coronavirus outbreak worsens because thousands of students would be left with nowhere to go.

The higher education regulator for England, the Office for Students (OfS), wrote to all universities on Monday, requesting ongoing information on the number of confirmed and suspected cases of the virus on campus, as well as details of how institutions are responding to them.

It is understood that any decisions about whether to instruct universities to close would be taken by the Department for Education (DfE). A spokesperson for the OfS said universities should “continue to follow advice from DfE and Public Health England”.

However, vice-chancellors cautioned that the makeup of universities made their complete shutdown impossible.


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