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UiA makes adjustments due to rise in infections

The national increase in coronavirus infection rates means that UiA is introducing new measures to help students complete their exams and get home for Christmas.

University of Agder - Campus Grimstad (top) and Campus Kristiansand

University of Agder - Campus Grimstad (top) and Campus Kristiansand

Currently, the rate of infection in Agder is relatively low, but UiA wants to be prepared ahead of any further outbreak. The situation has worsened in our region as well, and it will not be long before the number of infected people increases sharply.

“UiA follows the government’s call to consider implementing precautionary measures. It is important that we all limit the number of close contacts”, says Rector Sunniva Whittaker.

The University of Agder has set strategic crisis management, which has adopted new measures as of Friday 6 November, and is in contact with the host municipalities Grimstad and Kristiansand about the measures.

For UiA, health and safety are the main priority, followed by the students’ progression. An important part of the latter is the exam.

Updated guidelines and information about the coronavirus

Teaching and exams go online

Students whose teaching or exam arrangements are changed, will be notified by their course coordinator/teacher as soon as practicable. Exam arrangements will also be updated on Studentweb, and students whose examination arrangements are changed will be notified via SMS.

New measures:

  • All teaching from and including 11 November will be completed online. Exceptions are:
  • Lectures that are also live-streamed can continue as planned. Students who want to attend the lectures in person, can do that.
  • Teaching that requires equipment or other facilities on campus will continue as planned (e.g. laboratory work, performing arts, and the like)
  • Students in practice placements follow the measures at each individual practice place. Students who have difficulties completing their internships must get in touch with their subject teacher or contact person.
  • All exams from and including 23 November are conducted as home exams. Exceptions are made for courses that require equipment and other infrastructure on campus.

“In this way, we also meet students’ requests for predictability and the opportunity to limit physical presence on campus”, says Rector Whittaker.

Reducing contact between employees

UiA introduces the following measures for employees:

  • The proportion of employees working from home will be increased. The scope and implementation will be decided in the individual faculty/department by the faculty and department directors.
  • The general rule is that meetings at UiA must be conducted online. Meetings with more than 10 people or that gather participants from different units must be conducted online, unless otherwise is approved by the faculty/department director.
  •  All UiA’s academic and social events with more than 20 participants or which gather participants from different units must be carried out online or  cancelled/postponed.
  • Only strictly necessary business travel can be undertaken. It must be approved by the faculty or department director. Travelling between campuses must be limited. Employees and students who return from areas with high infection rates are asked to be extra-vigilant for symptoms.

“The purpose of these measures is to limit the number of close contacts, also at work. If the measures increase the possibility that we can complete the spring semester as planned, it is well worth the effort”, says University Director Seunn Smith-Tønnessen.

Mental health

Concerns that the students’ mental health will be affected by exposure to the stress of the pandemic, was the reason the issue was raised in the Storting on Thursday 5 November. The Minister of Education and Research has appointed a national committee to propose measures to look after students’ mental health.

“With the same purpose, we have appointed a team at UiA that will work quickly to implement measures to support the UiA students’ mental health”, says Rector Sunniva Whittaker.