At a press conference on 23 September, the government and the Public Health Agency of Sweden announced that all restrictions regarding culture, sports, restaurants, and private events would be lifted as of 29 September. As a result, the University has now updated previous decisions made regarding its activities during the autumn semester.
On October 4, the University's entrances will be open during daytime (opening hours weekdays 8 am-6 pm) and most service functions will also reopen, such as the reception and the student center (weekdays 9 am-3 pm). Earlier during the pandemic, the entrances were open only to the University's staff and students.
No restrictions in lecture halls
Furthermore, there will be no general recommendation that only every other seat should be used in lecture halls.
“This means that our premises can be used fully, and this applies to common spaces as well as lecture halls,” says Maria Strand, chair of the coordination committee for pandemic-related measures at University of Gävle.
Return to campus during study period 2
Even though the University is now gradually opening up already in October, the previous decision that teaching activities on campus will be resumed during study period 2, from 7 November still applies.
To give teachers and course coordinators reasonable planning conditions, the vice-chancellor’s decision will continue to apply, which means that a general return to campus will not take place until in study period 2. The immediate change is that lecture halls and rooms can be used without restrictions as early as in October, and this makes it possible for more students to come to campus.
“Teachers are not expected to re-schedule already scheduled teaching just because our premises can now be used fully,” says Vice-Chancellor Ylva Fältholm.
At the same time, the Public Health Agency of Sweden points out that schools must be able to adapt their teaching activities to current infection rates, so regional restrictions may become relevant again.
A gradual return to campus for staff applies as early as October
As previously communicated, the Public Health Agency of Sweden's recommendation on working from home will be lifted on 29 September, and therefore the University has decided to begin a gradual return to work on campus for staff in October.
Each manager will discuss with staff how the work should be conducted with the best interests of the University in focus. At the same time, the discussion continues on how work should be conducted at the University in the long term after the pandemic. Approaches to flexible work, working from home and working on campus, are in focus.
“Our students will be back on campus to a greater extent as of November 7, so it is an advantage that staff will have had a month to return to campus and regular activities by then. At the same time, we will continue to use digital working methods that we have developed and that have worked well during the time that we have mostly worked from home,” Maria Strand says.
Written examinations on campus but no external conferences
Written examinations on campus can be carried out later this autumn. Students belonging to a risk group will be given the opportunity to take the exam in a separate room, if needed. This may apply, for example, to students who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
Internal conferences will be able to be held as of study period 2. However, conferences or events with external parties, such as labor market days, will not be held on campus during the autumn. Rental of premises will not take place during the remainder of this year, except for the vaccination that the Gävleborg Region arranges. This is because some premises remain water-damaged and, while waiting for the restoration, we need all campus for our own activities.
The Public Health Agency of Sweden’s recommendation to unvaccinated individuals:
Getting the vaccine is the best way to avoid serious illness and limit the spread of COVID-19.
If you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, special attention should be paid to people in a risk group and those aged 70 and over. You should take precautions to avoid infection yourself and to avoid spreading COVID-19. When possible, you should:
- keep a distance from other people
- avoid close contact with people in a risk group, and people who are aged 70 and over.
These guidelines do not apply to people under the age of 18 years, or to people who have been recommended not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 for medical reasons.
In general, everyone should keep paying attention to symptoms of COVID-19. If you suspect that you have COVID-19, you should stay at home and avoid contact with other people and wash your hand often.
The restaurant "Bakfickan" is now open
Högskolerestauranger AB (HÖRS), which operates on campus, has opened the so-called Bakfickan in Fårhallen. HÖRS follows the development and when it becomes financially possible, Café Prego will re-open too.
Text: Tommy Löfgren