Universities ‘should aim to avoid face-to-face teaching’

The University and College Union (UCU) is calling on campuses to take measures to avoid a second Covid wave.

Universities in Scotland are being urged to keep campuses closed to avoid a second wave of coronavirus.

That’s the call from the University and College Union (UCU), which is urging campuses to avoid face-to-face teaching wherever possible.

Institutes are getting ready to start the new academic year on Monday, with some schools like St Andrews University continuing with reduced face-to-face teaching.

UCU president Douglas Chalmers said the union has written to St Andrews principal Sally Mapstone urging her to reconsider.

Mr Chalmers told STV News: “The independent advice of the SAGE group (the UK Government’s scientific advisory group for emergencies) is also that we should move online for any avoidable classes that do not have to be face-to-face, as some medical classes, for instance, may be.

“So we think that we can take measures now which will prevent measures later because, remember, if there is an outbreak, what will happen?

“See what happened in Aberdeen. There will have to be local lockdowns.

“Some towns are essentially university towns and when this happens, the students will get blamed and that is totally wrong.”