HoD News - 14 August 2020

2020.08.14 | Niels Haldrup

Head of Department Niels Haldrup

Dear colleagues,

Let me provide an update of the preparations for the start of the semester under the restrictions we face as a consequence of COVID-19.

Earlier this week, you received information about the teaching format for each course taught in our programs. Directors of studies, coordinators and lecturers are now having a dialogue about the specific details of each course, and I anticipate that we will have a complete overview of the various teaching formats early next week. Thanks for your flexibility in these preparations.

As I have previously said, the University, Aarhus BSS, and departments work with general and local procedures along a number of dimensions to account for the circumstances. At the local level, we have a task force including Aarhus BSS Building Services, the heads of departments, and the heads of secretariats from ECON and MGMT in order to define local guidelines and directions for Campus Fuglesangs Allé. At the department level, we are in a close dialogue with LSU (Karina Skovvang Christensen) and the occupational health and safety representative (Søren Staunsager). Via Karina and Søren, we attempt to account for input in the form of concerns and suggestions from department members.

Many questions have been raised regarding the logistics and technicalities about streaming of lectures. Streaming will be an important element in the teaching format this autumn to ensure that all students can attend lectures in a streamed or in physical form given the capacity constraints. The necessary equipment is now being installed in all lecture rooms and auditoriums, and instructions in using this equipment will be prepared in various formats. We expect that detailed instructions and information can be provided next week.

Also, clear directions for the indoor traffic at campus are being prepared, including the traffic in hallways, the entrances and exits to and from lecture rooms and auditoriums, how to deal with lecture breaks, and students’ general access to study areas, canteens etc. This planning and the logistics are subject to the sanitizing and social distance requirements to ensure that campus remains safe for both students and faculty members. Furthermore, it has been decided (at departmental level) that face masks shall be at the disposal of department staff in order to secure that staff can (voluntarily) wear face covering when a need is felt in addition to the generally required social distancing measures.

The University senior management team has approved a common preparedness to handle symptoms or COVID-19 infections amongst employees and students. The specific handling of cases of infection takes place under the auspices of locally based task forces at the individual faculties. At Aarhus BSS the COVID-19 task force consists of a head of department, a director of studies, and representatives from BSS Building Services, BSS Communication and external relations, as well as an advisor from the dean’s office. The task force takes immediate action if cases are recorded amongst students and informs the department heads directly. Employees who are found to be infected by COVID-19 or have symptoms should contact their nearest leader and follow the general guidelines for employees. The head of department together with the head of secretariat and the involved directors of studies will decide on the immediate consequences of observed cases. 

We hope that the situation develops positively such that the university can open in accordance with phase 4 of the reopening plan for the society.

I wish you and your families a nice weekend. Stay safe in the nice summer weather.

Best regards,

Niels Haldrup

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