Cambridge has become the first university in Britain to cancel all face-to-face lectures for the 2020-21 academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic, after 800 years of welcoming students to its cloisters, quadrangles and classrooms.
It likely won't be the last, as the virus threatens the foundations of the traditional student experience, and the finances of universities around the world.
Cambridge said that all lectures will be held virtually and streamed online until summer 2021. It said it may be possible to hold tutorials and other teaching in small groups - a key part of the university's system - when the new academic year starts in October, as long as social distancing can be followed.
The university, which has about 12,000 undergraduate students, said in a statement that "the decision has been taken now to facilitate planning, but as ever, will be reviewed should there be changes to official advice on coronavirus." The pandemic has already upended student life. Cambridge sent students home and moved all its teaching online in March as the U.K. went into lockdown, and exams are being held