Still important to avoid crowding during the autumn
LiU’s decision to return in stages to a more open campus during the autumn term remains in place, but the speed of the return will be influenced by how the infection continues to spread and how rapidly people get vaccinated. The most important thing now is to follow the guidelines set out to reduce crowding on LiU premises.
The signals coming from the crisis management team before the summer break were positive: “When the autumn term starts, we will be able to operate in about the same manner as last autumn”. However, even though the plan that was drawn up then remains in place, and the autumn term will start at “Pandemic Level 2”, the situation in Sweden remains complex with respect to the spread of infection and rate of vaccination. This has made it necessary to prepare for a more gradual removal of restrictions.
“One factor here are comments from Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Agency of Sweden in which he suggests that some restrictions may remain in place until Christmas, and it may be necessary to work from home for a longer period than we thought in the spring”, says Joakim Nejdeby, leader of the LiU crisis management team.
“It remains important that we all continue to act responsibly: stay at home if we feel at all ill, wash our hands often, and keep our distance. The Public Health Agency of Sweden has also emphasised how important it is that people get vaccinated.”
What may be the single most important measure is to avoid crowding in LiU premises in every way possible. The crisis management team would therefore like to remind everyone about the Beslut om riktlinjer för prioritering av tillgång till lokaler med anledning av smittspridning av coronavirussjukdom covid-19 (in Swedish) and in particular the part that deals with timetabling and room booking. The decision states:
“Teaching for groups with 40 students or fewer should be booked into rooms of the same size as normal. Booked rooms may be used in accordance with the recommendations that are in place at the time of use.”
The principle of “arm’s length distance” and a separation preferably greater than 2 metres between people in a room is still valid.
“A consequence of the advice from the Public Health Agency of Sweden and the LiU decision to follow this advice is that a room may only be used in a way that allows the recommendations about separation to be followed. In many cases, this will mean that a room can only be used at approximately 50% capacity, although it may be possible in some locations to keep to the separation recommendations. In this case, the limit of 40 people in any room during teaching will apply”, Joakim Nejdeby says.
“The management team of a course is to assess which premises are to be used in order to avoid crowding. If it is not possible to guarantee that the separation recommendations are followed, the alternative is to reconfigure teaching to a mode that uses remote methods, or find another solution. Since the conditions differ between courses and programmes, in such matters as the use of computer rooms and laboratory sessions, solutions will differ between them. It’s important that we inform our students about this”, says Joakim Nejdeby.
Another important question that remains somewhat unclear is how long LiU co-workers who can work from home are to continue to do so. A co-worker’s physical presence in the workplace has previously been decided in consultation with the immediate manager, while LiU at the same time will follow the government decision that governmental employees whose physical presence in the workplace is not necessary are to work home until 15 September.
“The Public Health Agency of Sweden has supplemented this with a recommendation that people are to work from home, if possible, for the whole of September. We can say that we primarily must work from home until 15 September, and should continue to do so for the whole of September. What happens after this is not known, and we will have to return to the question later. Everything depends on how the infection spreads”, says Joakim Nejdeby.
“These changes bring us one step closer to becoming an on-campus university, but we are not there yet.”
Translation: George Farrants
Last updated: 2021-08-10