Comenius University News

Winter semester at the university: How we go on in September?

A new academic year is approaching and a lot of questions are coming up. Are we going back to normal life, will we continue with on-line teaching or do something in between? The university wants to be ready.


11. 08. 2020 13.10 hod.
By: Public Relations Office

Staff members at the university usually enjoy holidays at this time, but this year is different. Not only because the exam period has been extended in some faculties and the timetable for the activities of many workplaces has also been shifted. We are opening a new academic year in September and there are many questions. Are we going back to normal life, will we continue on-line teaching or do something in between?

The university wants to be ready. In mid-July a meeting was held with experts in crisis management – Branislav Tichy who coordinated the project of a container town for homeless people at Bratislava's Golden Sands during the pandemic for the Municipality of Bratislava, and Martin Kralovic, an expert in crowd safety management who designed the structure of operational management in a permanent crisis headquarters. At the meeting we identified a basic framework of measures that we should focus on depending on the evolution of the situation.

We continue with our preparations. On June 30, 2020 the representatives of management of CU and the directors of our two largest dormitories met with experts in the field of epidemiology – Assoc. Prof. Margita Spalekova, Head of the Institute of Epidemiology of Faculty of Medicine of CU, and Assoc. Prof. Alexandra Brazinova who during the pandemic led the information line of the Regional Public Health Centre in Bratislava (she also works at the Institute of Epidemiology of Faculty of Medicine of CU). Our main goal is to be ready for the return of students and teachers to lecture rooms and dormitory rooms. The university is a huge complex with more than 26,000 students and staff, several thousand of them coming from abroad.

The second meeting was devoted to ensuring prevention before arriving at dormitories and during enrolments. We have identified key tasks, many of which require cooperation with several ministries and offices, the modification of internal regulations and dormitory regulations. We will meet again in a week, the main theme will be safety and hygiene standards during teaching, measures regarding our dormitories and the possibility of hosting mass events. The first, traditional, should take place on September 21, 2020 in CU Aula – opening ceremony of the academic year, if the situation permits. Just as at the beginning of the pandemic time, we will adapt the life and rules of the university to two fundamental objectives: to protect the health and to provide education to our students.

A return to a perfectly normal regime would be ideal, but given the evolution of the situation in Europe we probably need to prepare for restrictions. At some larger faculties or faculties with large numbers of international students we are likely to recommend hybrid teaching that will allow the highest possible participation of even physically absent students. In the first phase we showed that we can improvise and adapt. We have a lot to build on and now we're going to follow up on that.