COMMENT. To help reduce the risk of infection, the University of Gothenburg is preparing to continue with distance teaching and having staff continue to temporarily work from home during the autumn semester 2020. Distance teaching will be the primary form of teaching at least through October 31. Staff will begin the autumn semester continuing to work from home. Dean Agneta Holmäng comments on the decision from the Vice-Chancellor.
“The vice-chancellor has announced the decision that the autumn semester will continue with working from home and distance teaching. I know this will be challenging but, based on the fantastic efforts I have seen so far from our staff, I am confident that, together, we will be able to continue managing this situation. At the same time, we need to be prepared for new decisions from responsible public authorities. If the government changes its recommendations, teaching can gradually revert to regular forms.
The main rule, though, is that we will continue distance teaching at least through the end of October. The vice-chancellor’s policy decision applies generally to the entire university, and we are now examining how we can adapt this decision to our own conditions and requirements. The dean is able to allow exceptions for teaching and assessment components that are impossible to conduct online. Naturally, these physical meetings will also follow the safety measures that apply to reduce the spread of the virus. These types of exceptions will be discussed with department heads and the teaching organization here at the faculty and decided on by the dean.
We continue having regular meetings within the faculty with university management and with other higher education institutions to discuss various mutually relevant issues, follow developments and find good solutions. One such issue is our first-semester students, where we hope to find a way to be able to welcome them to campus in smaller groups and under organized forms. If it is possible, we would like to help our new students gain a grasp of the context that is so important when starting a long educational program. I will be back in touch when I know more on how we will arrange this.
Living in a world struck by a pandemic is both trying and tedious. Try to plan where you focus your energy so that you can pace yourself for the entire journey. Vacation is not far off, and even if we will not be able to travel as freely as we are used to, the time off will give us a chance to rest and recover for the autumn ahead.