University of Leeds to Shift to Online Teaching on 27th April

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The University of Leeds has made the decision to transition to full online teaching and learning from Monday 27th April, the date students were due to return from the Easter holidays break.

This decision was related to the increase in cases of coronavirus in the UK and emails were sent out to students and staff to inform them of the decision.

More information can be found at the University’s website. There are no known cases of coronavirus on campus as of 7pm 13th March and students are advised to follow the Government’s advice on the issue.

Update: 8:15pm on 14th March 2020

The University of Leeds posted on Twitter that from Monday 16th all classes over 300 students will move online.

From Tuesday 17th, all classes over 200 students and by Monday 23rd at the latest, all classes that are attended by over 100 students.

Classes with fewer than 100 students will continue to be delivered face-to-face including seminars with appropriate social distancing. The University has said they will review this policy early next week.

The University will be updating all students and staff over email, social media and updating their Coronavirus website.

University services such as libraries, halls of residences, and The Edge will remain open.

Update: 6:30pm on 14th March 2020.

Main Takeaways:

The University intends campus to remain open, even as it shifts to online teaching.

Leeds Ball in June might potentially be postponed or cancelled as plans to ban mass gatherings of more than 500 people are being drawn up by the government.

Teaching and learning will begin transitioning to online from Monday with priority given to larger lectures.

Current plan means campus will largely continue to operate as normal for the next two weeks.

International students should report any illnesses to schools and this will be counted as an authorised absence. More information below.


There are support services available at LUU and the University of Leeds.

The risk level nationally remains high. As of 9am on 14th March 2020, there were a total of 37,746 people who have been tested for COVID-19 in the UK, of which 36,606 were confirmed negative. There have been 1,140 people who have tested positive for coronavirus and 21 of those have since died.

As of 9am on 13th March, there were 645 cases in the UK with 7 confirmed cases in Leeds and 4 in Bradford. As far as we know, there have been no confirmed cases amongst staff and students on campus.

Teaching will continue over the next two weeks as the University of Leeds makes a transition to online teaching with larger lectures being given priority.

Undergraduate students in the School of Philosophy, Religion and History Science were told that this was the case for some lectures from Monday. In the School of English, it was reported that one teacher has decided to move all of their teaching online immediately.

PhD students were told in an email that there are “currently no plans for University closure”. However, staff are “contingency planning should this become the case”. This would mean that currently campus would continue to remain open despite the transition to online teaching.

However, one supervisor was quoted saying that a shutdown was “very likely” and said that “updating lab books, doing thesis writing, image or data analysis” was not necessary in the next few weeks as these could be done at home. 

Staff and PhD students were also told to make sure their contact details were updated through the Employee Self Service and that your supervisor or line manager knows you are working off campus and is able to contact you. International travel on University business is not permitted.

The official University advice in an email stated that “you should not need to work from home unless you have a specific reason for doing so and discussed your circumstances with your head of School or service”.

For online sessions, attendance will be monitored, and Schools will expect engagement with online activities. Students who might not have the necessary devices or access to internet for online teaching are urged to contact their Schools immediately.

You are not expected to attend online classes if ill. At this stage, the University hopes that examinations will go ahead as planned according to their website but there is currently no information on how the changes might affect graduation ceremonies in the summer.

If you are an international student and concerned about the state of your visa, here is the following advice from the University:

Will being ill affect my visa?

If you are staying at home, you should  report your illness to your school. Your absence will count as authorised and there will be no problem with your attendance record if you are following government advice.

If you have any questions about your visa, please contact the advice team in the International Student Office by emailing internationalstudents@leeds.ac.uk

We understand that this situation may affect students in different ways and you may need practical help, emotional support or expert advice. View our information about campus support services.

If the University closes, will it affect my visa?

We will continue to keep the situation under review but, at present, and in line with government advice, we are continuing to operate as normal wherever possible.

If you have any questions about your visa please contact the advice team in the International Student Office by emailing internationalstudents@leeds.ac.uk

We understand that this situation may affect students in different ways and you may need practical help, emotional support or expert advice. View our information about campus support services.

UPDATE: 8pm on 13th March 2020.

The University of Leeds has now updated its website on coronavirus to provide more information.

On the website, the University said that “the health and wellbeing of our staff, students and visitors are our priority” and assured students that “teaching, research and events on campus are currently continuing as normal”.

The University has approached the escalating situation with coronavirus “to stay in step with advice and guidance from the relevant health authorities, in particular the NHS – specifically Public Health England (PHE)” according to its website.

Therefore, it has decided to seek to halt all in-person teaching and non-laboratory work and shift to online. They have said they will transition as far as possible to online delivery over the final two weeks before the Easter holidays which start on 27thMarch. They will give priority to the online delivery of large lectures.

There is currently no information on examinations as of 7pm on 13th March. On the website, the University says:

At this stage, we hope that examinations will proceed as planned. If this changes, we will update you with further information.

The University plans to regularly update students on any changes. There are pages for frequently-asked questions for students and staff.

The University also has an email if you have any comments or suggestions for the website content at coronavirus@leeds.ac.uk. This address is for website content suggestions only and they cannot provide advice and responses to individuals.

Leeds University Union has a support page for students on the issue with information on support services available, how to report discrimination related to coronavirus, as well as information on other LUU services. If you have any queries or concerns, get in touch with the Help and Support team by emailing helpandsupport@luu.leeds.ac.uk or calling 0113 3801400 and they will be able to provide advice and support.

As of 9am on 13 March 2020, 32,771 people have been tested in the UK. Of these, 31,973 were confirmed negative and 798 were confirmed as positive. 10 patients who did test positive for COVID-19 have died.

However the government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has said they believe the actual number of people with coronavirus in the UK to be somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 on 12th March. The government has raised the risk level in the UK to high.

Leeds North West MP Alex Sobel has launched a website to gather a database of people “to help with voluntary work that may become necessary, such helping ensure elderly people have the supplies they need at home, so that we can best be prepared if needed.”.

This is the government’s advice on 13thMarch on what to do if you have symptoms:

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough

This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.

We will not be testing people who are self-isolating with mild symptoms.

It must be noted that a high temperature and a cough are symptoms common with many diseases and therefore if you express these symptoms, this does not necessarily mean you have coronavirus.

However in order to ensure the safety of those around you, the government’s advice is to stay at home for 7 days.

This is further governmental guidance on what to do if you have confirmed or possible coronavirus.

  • if you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, do not leave your home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.
  • this action will help protect others in your community while you are infectious.
  • plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home.
  • ask your employer, friends and family to help you get the things you need to stay at home
  • stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home if possible.
  • sleep alone, if possible.
  • wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser.
  • stay away from vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, as much as possible.
  • you do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.