Coronavirus: East London universities announce plans to suspend face to face lectures

A file photo of students at a university graduation ceremony. Picture: PA

A file photo of students at a university graduation ceremony. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Universities have announced plans to suspend face to face teaching as the grip of the coronavirus crisis tightens.


Queen Mary, University of London, in Mile End, the University of East London (UEL), which has campuses in Stratford and Beckton, as well as CU London in Rainham Road North, Dagenham, all plan to take action.

A statement on Queen Mary’s website says: “Our staff and students’ welfare is our top priority.”

Its students are not expected to attend lectures at its campuses or buildings, which currently remain open, from March 23. Its facilities, including the library, are still open.

The university plans to start teaching remotely and has offered international students the option of returning home.


Queen Mary students studying overseas have been given the same choice.

UEL has suspended all its spring term face to face teaching and assessments until May 1.

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The university is due to roll out online lessons from Wednesday, March 18. New students starting summer term courses on May 4 have been told their places have been deferred until September.

A statement on UEL’s website says: “We are home to many thousands of students from London, from across the UK and from around the world, and we maintain a duty of care to every member of our student and staff community.”


UEL has also set up a university-wide committee to monitor the situation, following advice from the government and healthcare authorities.

Coventry University’s outpost in Barking and Dagenham, CU London, is also keeping campuses open but is planning to suspend teaching in person from Friday, March 20.

It has vowed to move lessons and “all but a small number” of assessments online.

“While all of our locations will remain open, this precautionary measure will significantly reduce face-to-face interactions. We will be working hard to minimise disruption to staff and students,” a statement on its website says.

The Department for Education has launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education.

Staff, parents and young people can call 0800 046 8687 or email from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday.

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