LSE to move classes online amid COVID-19 pandemic

The London School of Economics (LSE) has announced that it will teach its classes online from March 23 until the end of the academic year.

The School’s Director, Dame Minouche Shafik, has taken the measure as a “precaution.” Dame Minouche says that the decision was taken as part of LSE’s “commitment to support our community and prepare accordingly.”

The message to staff, sent on March 12, continues: “All teaching activity for taught undergraduate and taught postgraduate students will be delivered online from Monday 23 March, or before where possible for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year.”

A spokesperson for LSE told London Student that the campus will remain open during this period uner the current plans. This includes the LSE library and halls of residence.

But LSE did not rule out that the campus could be closed in the future. Speaking to Times Higher Education, a spokesperson for the School said that it is prepared to take “additional necessary steps, such as a campus closure, if we are advised to do so by Public Health England (PHE) to do so in the future.”

The School said that the decision was made “as a precaution, and to provide clarity and reassurance to the LSE community in exceptional circumstances.”

Exam Season

The closure will affect the exam season, and Dame Minouche encouraged staff to “consider the possibilities and practicalities of working flexibly and remotely. Arrangements are ultimately at the discretion of leaders in local areas,” she said.

Addressing exam season, Dame Minouche explained: “Colleagues are advised that there will be flexibility in terms of the assessment that you decide to set, with a range of options available. Assessment methods will be at the discretion of academic faculty, and will need to be signed off by the chair of [a] departmental teaching committee.”

Nearby universities are taking similar measures to delay the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, over the exam season. King’s College London says that instead of assessing students using conventional unseen examinations, “alternative arrangements” will be made where possible.

Public Health England says that anyone who may have contracted the virus should avoid GPs, pharmacies, and hospitals. Instead, you may use the 111 online coronavirus service to assess your risk.

Will is London Student's Features Editor. He has recently completed a BA History at SOAS, and you might find him hiding in a library around Bloomsbury.

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