Heriot-Watt University suspends face to face teaching from Wednesday 18 March

Published:

The University is to stop face to face teaching at its UK campuses from Wednesday 18 March in response to the challenges presented by the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.  Teaching in Dubai is currently suspended following measures imposed in the United Arab Emirates. Our Malaysia campus continues to remain fully open.

In a joint statement issued to UK students and staff, the Principal and Vice Chancellor Prof Richard Williams and President of HWU Student Union Kieran Robson Renner said:

“We are taking this action now to anticipate the likely future developments in this pandemic so that student learning can continue. We are confident we have a plan in place to ensure students can progress to the next stage of their programme and graduate on time.

The wellbeing of our community is our top priority. We currently have no known cases of coronavirus at any of our UK campuses and you will be informed if this situation changes.”

The University campuses, services and resources such as the library and Halls of Residence remain open. In Edinburgh, the campus and research park is fully open and this includes the Oriam Sports Centre, GRID building and other partners and businesses on the site such as the Marriott hotel, who operate independently of the University.

The University has been working with the Scottish Government and Health Protection Scotland since the emergence of the outbreak and is continuing to follow the official guidance very closely. The current health advice states our campuses can safely remain open for students and staff. However, in recognition of the concern expressed by members of the student community, a decision has been taken not to penalise those who choose to stay away from campus on Monday 16 and Tuesday 17, before face to face teaching stops. Further guidance and advice to staff about work attendance and related protocols will be issued shortly. Staff should check the internal Coronavirus microsite for regular updates.

The focus for academic staff will now transition from face to face teaching to online supported learning, and student education is expected to continue through this period of disruption. Students will receive further information on arrangements for learning and assessments on Tuesday 17 March, and on Thursday 19 March an update will be issued on examination timetables. The University is suspending campus-based exams and further details about online assessments will be provided. Students should check MyHWU Portal for the most up to date advice and information.

The joint statement from the Principal and Student President continued: “We are listening closely to the concerns of students, staff and members of our University community as we take urgent decisions within the context of this unprecedented situation. We remain confident that by working together, the Heriot-Watt community to which we all belong will be a cohesive team. It is important in this stressful period we continue to support each other, our families and friends.”

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