The announcement comes after students were urged not to return to campus without exceptional reasons earlier this month.
In an email sent out to University sports clubs yesterday, Benthe passed on the unfortunate news:
“According to the latest government guidelines, teaching should be delivered online until at least mid-February. However, it is likely many programmes will remain fully online until the Easter Break.
“This means that as it stands, we are expecting that most club activity won’t be able to start until then.”
As in previous lockdowns, the only exception to these rules is the Newcastle University Men’s Basketball Team firsts, as they are classed as “elite” and therefore allowed to continue.
Benthe expressed further concerns about the safety of clubs and their members. In the email, she insisted she was aiming to have activity back as soon as the government guidelines would permit.
She continued: "We are aiming to give you safe activity as soon as it’s possible within the guidelines we’ve all been dealt."
Benthe urged club members to continue to connect, support and challenge each other as they have done throughout previous lockdowns.
Newcastle University Sports Services have also had to make changes to their Semester 2 plans. In a tweet, they announced that they are unable to open the Sport and Fitness Centre as planned until at least mid-February, following the latest national restrictions.
Speaking to The Courier, Benthe revealed that, after working alongside the Sports Services and the University, a full refund would be given to students that have purchased a Sports and Fitness membership this academic year. More details are expected in an email from Newcastle Sports Services to members within the coming days.
When the Sport and Fitness Centre is able to re-open, it will be available free of charge to all students for the remainder of the academic year.
The National Governing Body of University Sport, BUCS, have released a statement confirming that they have cancelled the proposed league and knockout programme for 2020-21, and that they won’t be running any events prior to 1st March 2021.
When asked about the BUCS announcement, Benthe told The Courier:
“Whilst the cancellation of the proposed programme for Semester 2 is a bitter pill to swallow, I am glad to see that a decision has been made by BUCS. This decision puts the safety and wellbeing of our student-athletes and those around us at the forefront.”