Cambridge has become the first university in Britain to cancel all face-to-face lectures for the 2020-21 academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, Professor and Senior-Pro-Vice-Chancellor Graham Virgo, said, "Given the likely need for continued social distancing, we have decided to suspend mass lectures in person for the next academic year. Lectures will be available online; this system is already in place in some University Departments. Lectures are only one part of the rich education that Cambridge offers and freeing space in lecture halls will allow us to concentrate on delivering small group teaching, lab work and practicals."

Though, said the University, small group teaching – supervisions, seminars or individual tuition – will continue in person as much as possible. Virgo noted the University was hard at work to offer a wide range of activities to build up community life, even amid social distancing.

Last week, California State University announced that it will hold a virtual fall semester and keep classrooms closed, becoming the first major U.S. college to cancel lectures for the fall. Smaller universities and colleges are taking similar measures as uncertainty rises during the pandemic.