Opinion: Should universities move to remote-only teaching until COVID-19 is cleared?

THE Government’s guidance regarding the Coronavirus pandemic has been nothing short of chaotic. 

As the guidelines changed, even Government ministers and the Prime Minister himself started to get confused, with the PM publicly admitting he ‘misspoke.’

Businesses which want to stay open have had to bring in protection and procedures against Covid. But this isn’t beating the virus. 

SR News reported last week, 44 cases of Covid-19 confirmed at Sunderland University while Northumbria University reported a surge of over 700 cases in their first week back. 

However, institutions like the University of Manchester, the University of Sheffield and Northumbria University have moved to online learning as their default way of teaching.

While the government are set to put the north of England into tier three, essentially a partial lockdown, other universities remain open to in-person teaching.

While the general public aren’t allowed to mix outside their immediate household, it still seems completely justifiable to cram students into a classroom/teaching environment.  

There are a couple of problems with this.

First of all, the staff.

Ranging from teachers, janitors to general maintenance staff, those that are older will be put at further risk may not be able to fight off the virus as easily. So they could, potentially, pay the price with their lives.

Secondly, the students.  

Potentially, a student – encouraged by the government – could hop on board a bus or metro and find themselves alongside someone with the virus. They could then arrive at their campus and spread it without even knowing. 

In addition, if we look back at the 1918 Spanish Flu, which was similar in nature, the world’s leaders have still followed the same steps: lockdown. 

According to National Geographic, a study of the US census at the time found that death rates in the cities that locked down early were only half of those that didn’t.

If we truly want to beat this virus, instead of just rolling over, the government should implement another lockdown. We should learn from the past. 

While we retain the freedom to go out and do whatever we want, the more the virus is going to remain a problem. 

Like many people, I would like to return to what it was like before the virus as quickly – and as safe – as possible.

Post originally posted on SR News


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