Student and Staff Wellbeing

Message from the VC: Covid-19 update (16.3)

Message from the Vice-Chancellor: limiting face-to-face contact (16 March)

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Chris Day has written to the University community about limiting face-to-face contact within the University.

We are aware of the growing anxiety around the coronavirus outbreak and that many of you will be trying to decide whether to stay in Newcastle or go home over the coming weeks.

We appreciate that you will be concerned, especially those of you with underlying medical conditions, and we are also aware of the additional worries and uncertainties for our international students.

Essential Face to Face Teaching Only

I have been meeting with my senior colleagues daily and we are writing today to let you know that from tomorrow we will be limiting face-to-face contact within the University until the end of the academic year.

This means that apart from a limited number of exceptions such as students on clinical placements, there will be no face-to-face teaching or assessments. We will be looking creatively at how we can deliver teaching remotely and working with both students and colleagues to ensure that the safety of all comes first.

In taking these decisions we have listened to the student voice and your Students’ Union President Katie Smyth has been key to these discussions.

At this time, the University remains open, although it is likely there will be some changes in other services. You will still be able to access on-campus support and resources beyond the remote learning and teaching support we plan to provide.

As far as possible from Tuesday, 17 March,


  • The majority of lecture and seminar based teaching will be delivered remotely as far as this is possible.
  • As above, we recognise there will be exceptions where remote delivery is not possible, for instance laboratory work.  I am sure you will appreciate that it will take time for teaching materials to be re-purposed in this way and as soon as this information is available we will let you know.


  • We will also be using alternative approaches to assessment and will develop our plans over the next few weeks. This will be a priority and further information on the different types of assessment will also follow.
  • Exceptions may also exist within Faculties (for example, assessment of competencies for final year Medical and Dental students) and where these occur, communication regarding arrangements will come from the relevant Faculty / Head of unit.

This is an unprecedented situation.  However, your education and safety are our top priorities and we will endeavour to continue to provide you with everything you need to continue your studies.

We are firmly committed to supporting your remote learning.  Meanwhile please regularly monitor the University’s Coronavirus webpage and emails for updates.

We want to assure you that whether you choose to stay, or return home, the University will continue to support you as best we can.

Best wishes

Professor Chris Day FMedSCi

Vice-Chancellor and President

Newcastle University