Guidelines for Students and Employees during the Interruption of Classes from 9 to 21 March
Why did the university decide to suspend classes?
By: CU Public Relations Office
The university poses a risky environment: students from different places and countries meet for classes; they communicate with each other, attend social events, and travel around the city. Students may attend several lectures in a given day, often in different places, and then go to Mlynská dolina or attend a social event. Thus, in one day a student can be in contact with hundreds of other people, and the risk that they will come into contact with someone who is infected becomes higher every day. The dormitories at Mlynská dolina house a significant number of people in a relatively small space. Epidemiologists have recommended that we prevent a high concentration of people in one place, as this would cause significant security, logistical, and organizational problems should an outbreak occur. While the virus does not appear to be dangerous to young and healthy people, most of them travel home every week and could infect their family members and home communities. The crisis team agreed that it would be better if classes were cancelled before the number of cases increases. Although less vigorous measures were initially planned on Friday, information on new cases and suspected ones motivated us to act as quickly as possible. On Saturday all the available information was evaluated in consultation with the relevant experts and authorities. On Sunday a crisis meeting was held, with the participation of top experts in epidemiology, and it was decided that students would be sent home before the first cases appeared at Mlynská dolina and all (or part of) the student community there was put into quarantine. We want to protect the health of our students as well as their family members and, of course, our employees.
We realize that this decision has made life difficult for many of you. Many students only learnt this information after returning to Bratislava, and others are expecting to sit state exams. We are trying to deal with all individual cases so as to minimize the negative impact of this emergency. However, we believe that the benefits of taking this step will significantly outweigh the discomfort it has caused. After all, it is in everyone's interest to slow down the spread of the virus. It is also important that studies are not interrupted: teachers will remain in contact with their students and give them instructions by e-mail on what to do individually in the absence of classes. We do not yet know how long this period will last, but we believe that we will be able to return to normal as soon as possible.
We have received a number of questions from you about the situation, and we have tried to summarize the answers in the following points:
- The suspension of tuition applies to both full-time and part-time students as well as continuing education students.
- The suspension of tuition means that all exams, state exams, certification procedures (attestations), consulting hours, and similar things are cancelled. For individual questions, please contact your teachers via e-mail.
- During this period, all libraries and study departments will be closed or will operate in a very limited capacity (see your faculty's website).
- The suspension of tuition applies to all faculties and university centres, including the Jessenius Faculty of Medicine in Martin, the Centre for Continuing Education, and other bodies.
- Students living in the dormitories are advised to return home temporarily. However, this recommendation does not apply to international students or those who have nowhere else to go. The purpose of the measure is to reduce the number of people at the dormitories to a minimum. In the event of an outbreak at a dormitory, a mandatory quarantine may be imposed which those accommodated there will have to abide by. Please follow the instructions of dormitory management, who are continuously evaluating the situation. It is highly likely that we will be forced to tighten measures further.
- The dean of the faculties shall determine the guidelines for teachers on their way of providing tuition. Teachers should advise students to undertake self-study, distance learning, or another appropriate method of individual tuition over the next two weeks.
- Staff of the university's rectorate will receive guidance from their superiors. Some of the employees will work from home, go on compulsory vacation, or have leave from work granted to them. Employees doing shift work to ensure continuous operations and those whose presence at the university remains necessary will continue to work at their designated workplaces.
- All planned events from 9 to 21 March are hereby cancelled, including the University Drop of Blood donation drive (9 to 18 March), the Coronavirus: Myths and Facts professorial lecture (11 March), the Pharmacists’ Career Days event (10 to 11 March), the Centre for Continuing Education conference (16 to 17 March), and all meetings of academic senates, collegiums, and other university bodies. Please avoid mass gatherings and places where large numbers of people congregate.
- Please abide by all hygiene recommendations and keep checking your university e-mail addresses as well as the university website and university social network pages.
The situation shall be reassessed in two weeks, and it shall be decided whether the suspension of classes will continue or whether classes will resume.
Thanks everyone for your cooperation and understanding. Together we will get through this situation.