On 27 April, the Vice-Chancellor decided on the university's COVID adaptations for the first period of the semester – from 30 August until 29 September. After that, the hope is to be able to return to campus step by step – depending on what the pandemic allows, of course. The Department of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention at Region Västerbotten has been consulted in reaching this decision.
"During these testing times, we have managed to show that we are good at keeping the spread of infection low at the university and still maintain high standards. That's worthy of great praise. When the autumn semester starts, we must continue to strive towards that, and I believe and hope that we can together hang in there for another few weeks," says Vice-Chancellor Hans Adolfsson.
Starting the autumn semester
Hans Adolfsson, Vice-Chancellor.
"Our priority as a university is to enable education and research to be conducted throughout this pandemic, and for our students to be given the opportunity to complete their studies as planned. Simultaneously, the well-being of our staff is important," says Hans Adolfsson.
From the start of the autumn semester, teaching is made possible with physical attendance for beginner students on study programmes provided that the activity can be conducted in a disease-preventative and safe manner. This is to ensure that these students are given as good a start to their studies as possible.
For all other teaching and for all examination, the same adaptations apply as were used for spring semester 2021. That is, that teaching and examination should take place online whenever possible.
Consequently, this means that teachers who teach beginner students on study programmes are given the opportunity to work from campus to the extent necessary to plan and carry out teaching. If you work technically or administratively and are needed in the premises to meet the new students, you are also given the same opportunities.
For remaining staff, the first weeks of the autumn semester will resemble what you have experienced during the spring semester with work from home to minimise the number of people on campus and virtual meetings.
It is likely to still be important to maintain ample distance to others this autumn. Hence, to reduce the risk of crowding when more people will visit campus, you should avoid visiting university premises unless necessary and make sure to follow the guidelines and general advice of the Public Health Agency of Sweden when you are there. Meetings must still be held online and events that cannot be held online needs the be postponed for now.
The Umeå University Library opens up its study spaces and group rooms again to provide students with better access to the resources offered by the libraries.
Per Ragnarsson, deputy University Director.
"The reason behind this careful approach is the current uncertainty regarding how fast vaccination can be carried out and how the infection rates will develop. The plan is to reach another decision in August regarding the period after September, and hopefully it will be easier to make a prognosis at that point. Even if we understand that the conditions for planning education for this autumn semester are tricky, major parts of the university can still benefit from relaxed restrictions," says Per Ragnarsson, chairperson of the Crisis Management Team and Deputy University Director.
Working from home extends throughout summer
At the same time as a decision regarding the autumn semester is reached, the university's current measures and restrictions are extended until 29 August, which means that most of you will continue to work from home this summer too. However, staff who plan teaching are given the opportunity to work from campus between 8 and 29 August – if necessary. All details can be found in a new decision covering summer 2021. On 30 August, the autumn semester decision takes over.
Support can be found
Chef, personal vid Personalenheten Lars Nordlander, Human Resources Director.
"This pandemic is, and continues to be, a huge challenge. Hence, finding out that you need to carry on working from home can be tough. It's important that you know that there is help and support to be found in this situation, for you and students that you may come across," says Human Resources Director Lars Nordlander.
Staff can turn to the occupational health care services, Feelgood, or their manager for support. More information can be found on Aurora.
If a student is in need of support, you can refer the student to the Student Health Service, and when it comes to study-related support, the Academic Resource Centre at the University Library can be of assistance. All information and contact details can be found on umu.se/en/student.