The Public Health Agency of Sweden has announced that it will still be important to maintain distance and meet in small groups during the summer and beginning of the autumn. Similarly, it will still be important to stay at home and get tested if symptoms arise. A return to on-campus teaching is to take place gradually and with consideration for the local spread of infection and the rate of vaccination. The Swedish Government also maintains that all government agency employees are to work from home to the extent possible until 15 September.
Hans Adolfsson, Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University.
Photo: Mattias Pettersson
"It is positive that higher education is prioritised in the reopening of society. We are certainly looking forward to filling our campuses with students and staff again. At the same time, we have an important role of safeguarding the health and safety of our students and staff, and we will hence await a more stable situation before we reach a decision of a full return to on-campus education and other COVID-measures," says Hans Adolfsson, Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University.
On 27 April, the university decided that summer courses should be taught online and that a gradual return to campus is to take place during the autumn semester. This for instance means that beginner students on study programmes are given the chance to have teaching with physical attendance and that staff who are needed for this can work in university premises when deemed necessary. Based on the information that the university has been provided with from other authorities, the university's decision matches the new recommendations well. Consequently, both decisions remain in place without change.
A plan for the rest of the autumn comes in August
In mid to late August, the Vice-Chancellor is planning on making a new decision regarding the start and remaining part of the autumn semester. For that purpose, the university is in continuous dialogue with the Department of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention at Region Västerbotten.
If the situation in August allows for reduced restrictions and more presence on campus already in September, the university will make sure that can happen so that those who need to conduct activities on site can do so as soon as possible. However, there will be no demands that the organisation must switch over with short notice.
"As a university, we have learnt to be adaptive and find new solutions during this pandemic, but I'd like to point out that we will not be setting any unreasonable demands on teachers needing to switch teaching methods during September. Nevertheless, in some cases it would simplify to be able to conduct activities on campus, so if the situation allows, we will of course open up for that opportunity," says Hans Adolfsson.
Demands on working from home
The Government urges all government agency employees to work from home and this remains in place until 15 September. This means that only employees whose presence is necessary for the organisation are to work in university premises. Since the university's current decision is valid for longer, this in fact applies until 29 September. Even if exceptions need to be made for certain teaching staff and other members of staff who need to be present in the premises, the basic principle is still that all work tasks and activities that do not need to be conducted at the workplace are to be conducted from home. The decisions regarding the summer and the start of the autumn semester also state dates for when certain staff can work at the workplace. Consult with your manager if you are uncertain.
Read about the valid dates for working at the workplace (headline "Working from home")
Read a summary of autumn semester measures due to COVID-19
If you have questions or comments about the university's information or handling of COVID-19, please contact the Crisis Management Team on firstname.lastname@example.org.