Dear Sirs and Madams,
Teachers, Students and Administrative Staff,
Thank you very much for the honour of remaining the University’s Rector for the next term. The high turnout and the number of votes of support show that despite the difficult time our community is together, we are close, we are heading in the same direction. Wonderful. This is important, especially now. An epidemic with its organizational difficulties and fears, the University’s huge investment front, surrounded by daily political scuffles.
Elections to the University Senate are ahead of us. I have already written about it, but I will repeat it again. This election is no less important than choosing a Rector. Due to legal regulations, there will be no people in the Senate who were in it during the previous two terms. I will enter this body as a Rector due to my function. Choose the other members of the Senate wisely, vote for people whom you would entrust with the keys to your own apartment, who know how the University works, who are committed to its life.
We have quite a long epidemic ahead of us. I will try to present our plans, or rather intentions for the near future.
Now everyone has become a bit of an epidemiologist and everyone has a different theory. The facts are that active “closure” of the society caused a flattening of the disease and death curve. We are in the so-called “Prevention paradox”, where lack of events resulting from epidemic prevention can be misinterpreted – as no threat. We must remain vigilant. Regardless, the economy should move forward in small steps. You can also see that Covid-19 is relatively mild to healthy, young people, being an absolute destabilizer of the health of the old and the sick. From here, one can draw cautious conclusions as to the University’s strategy, as long as people do not suddenly and massively stop social distancing.
It is likely that universities will be open in some form after May 24. Certainly, we will not conduct classes in the previous mode, rather we will organize sessions to complete the semester. There is a draft regulation in the Ministry of Health that allows for 40% of classes to be conducted remotely, and we will include this in the annual completion of the academic year. The situation is extraordinary, and we must be flexible. This will allow you to credit classes and start the examination session. Also, practical skills will be recognized on the basis of credit for the subject, provided that they have been thoroughly discussed by the lecturer.
So, in June, we could run test exams – keeping all safety procedures in place. At the beginning the LEK state examinations for Medicine students – in subjects covered by the LEK. And at the turn of June and July – KET. The second KET would take place either during the summer or in September, depending on the circumstances. In other courses – it would depend on what the Deans determine.
We will immediately publish several Directives precisely regulating on-line exams – both in various subjects as well as doctoral and diploma exams. Practical exams will be passed as oral exams – e.g. based on medical history, etc.
These are our intentions. We are determined to finish the semester, preferably on time. A reserve option is to extend the semester.
We are also preparing for recruitment. Matura exams must take place, the results will be known in the second half of the holidays. It cannot be ruled out that new students will start learning online. It is also unlikely that clinics will be entered in October unless mass testing for COVID-19 and specific antibody levels is introduced, which is also possible.
Summer vocational placement training is a problem. We have decided that the academic year will be credited “conditionally” with the need to complete this training later. We are still analysing the details.
We are asked about tuition fees. Unfortunately, the costs of the University are unchanged – we pay the employees, maintain our buildings. The budget does not allow us to contribute to the epidemic.
I am thinking about employees and students living with the chronically ill and elderly. You must be extremely careful, and you can count on the flexibility of the University.
Dear Sirs and Madams,
We are trying to handle the reality. After a period of high uncertainty, today we have basis for planning the future. Of course, these are just plans.