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Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance

Teaching and learning in the Faculty of Education during COVID-19

Last updated: 13 January 2022

This web page provides the latest guidance from the Faculty of Education about on-site teaching and learning.  Further information about remote working and returning to work is also available.

Our principles

The Faculty is committed to providing all students with the very highest quality teaching and learning possible. While ideally this would be face-to-face, the Faculty has since the start of the pandemic implemented a range of remote learning and teaching tools to support blended learning. While the COVID-19 coronavirus remains prevalent and a significant threat to public health, it is important to balance our instinctive desire to undertake in-person learning with the need to protect the health, safety and well-being of staff, students and the communities with which we work.

As the situation continues to evolve, the guiding principles which underpin our decision-making are:

  • Empathy
  • Efficiency
  • Effectiveness
  • Equity

How decisions are made

The University of Cambridge has published extensive guidance on learning and teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, including for the current academic year.

Each Faculty and Department has been asked to develop guidance and teaching timetables that reflect its own situation, given that space and capacity across the university varies. The Faculty is asked to make decisions based on:

  • The latest University advice
  • The risk assessment to each building
  • The types of courses it operates
  • Available space for teaching and learning

It is also required to ensure that students who are remote can still access education.

Following this broad guidance, Faculty policy is agreed together by course leaders, office heads and the Faculty’s senior leadership team. The main operating principle is ensuring fair and consistent provision across all parts of our community as much as possible, while accepting that each course involves different specific needs. Guidance is constantly monitored, reflecting the fluid nature of the situation, any significant changes in national or University guidance, and local NHS data and decision-making regarding the pandemic.

The Faculty’s approach is reported to the University’s safety office, which, through its Safe Space Team ensures all Schools, departments, faculties and non-schools institutions are compliant with safe and appropriate occupation of buildings. Guidance is implemented with the support and advice of this central office.

Current guidance

Opening hours

Monday to Friday 06.30 – 20.00
Saturday 09.00 – 17.00
Sunday 09.00 – 17.00

General safety measures

The Government’s Higher Education Covid-19 Operational Guidance indicates that face coverings ‘should’ be worn in teaching settings from 4th January 2022. As a result, the University asks all staff, students and visitors to the Faculty to wear a face covering in publicly-shared spaces, including classrooms.

  • Shared spaces, such as graduate computing rooms, and classrooms, must be kept well-ventilated by opening windows and doors, and these should be closed after use.
  • Enhanced handwashing/sanitisation is still encouraged. Supplies of hand sanitiser are placed next to entrances and exits, and in communal areas.
  • The Faculty is being cleaned regularly. Classrooms have cleaning materials (trigger sprays and cloths) for DIY use and users are encouraged to use these at the beginning and end of every session.
  • Shared spaces, such as graduate computing rooms, should be kept well-ventilated by opening windows and doors and these should be closed after use.
  • Higher-risk areas are limited to the number of people who can use the facility at any one time, e.g. the lift and washrooms.
  • Any student or staff member showing major or minor symptoms of COVID-19 should not enter the Faculty and should complete the University’s Covid-19 monitoring form. PGCE students should also follow the Covid-19 guidance on their course Moodle pages.
  • Please also follow the NHS Covid-19 guidance on the NHS website and the University’s Stay-Safe Cambridge guidance on the University website.
  • The complete list of safety measures being implemented at the Faculty and across the University of Cambridge is available through the website of the University’s safety office.

Timetabling, room capacities and face-to-face teaching

During the Michaelmas term, all students were being provided with a blend of face-to-face and remote teaching and learning, reflecting the need to implement safety requirements in the context of Faculty capacity.

During January 2022, we have reluctantly taken the decision that there will be no face-to-face teaching. While we remain fully committed to the provision of face-to-face teaching as much as possible, the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant has led to a very significant increase in Covid-19 case numbers and hospitalisations, which is set to peak by the end of January. If we do not take action during January to minimise opportunities for transmission, by temporarily suspending face-to-face teaching, current rates of infection are likely to lead to significant staff and student absence, with substantial numbers of students, teaching and non-teaching staff having to self-isolate. This would lead to disruption of teaching and learning, including cancellations of lectures and seminars. The health and safety of staff, students, and our community, remains the Faculty’s priority.

This position will be reviewed on the 28th January 2022, immediately after a Government review of restrictions.

Students can access detailed timetabling arrangements, as well as any other specific COVID-related guidance pertaining to their course, through Moodle.

Based on current projections regarding the peak of the Omicron variant, we anticipate face-to-face teaching will be possible again later during Lent term 2022 if/when cases and hospitalisations have declined. When we do resume face to face teaching, most courses are timetabled on the assumption that students will be sitting 1m apart and rooms have been set up accordingly. As an exception to this rule, students on PGCE courses are expected to be seated 2m apart (every other seat left vacant). This is because the entire cohort of 280 PGCE students are not just living and working in the University, but are entering a wide range of schools, where precautions vary, and they can potentially act as vectors of the virus.

Library

Education Library services are all delivered via the Library Moodle site: For the latest information on booking study spaces or borrowing print books via Click & Collect, select the relevant icon under Library Services and read the FAQs.

We are continually reviewing the services that are possible within the constraints of the risk assessment for the Library and have recently extended study space hours from 2 - 3 hour slots. You can book a conversation with a librarian via Click & Connect or just email the Library Team with any questions you have (library@educ.ac.uk).

Additional information

Read further information about returning to work and remote working at the Faculty. Further information about specific courses can be found on the relevant Moodle page.

University-level guidance is available from the University of Cambridge website: