The Senate of the Cyprus University of Technology (TEPAK), in an extraordinary meeting held today, August 24, 2021, discussed how to conduct courses during the Autumn Semester 2021.
According to the official announcement of TEPAK, three complete proposals were presented before the Senate. After an extensive dialogue and in-depth reflection with the participation of all members, where the weaknesses and strengths of each proposal were evaluated, the Senate decided to adopt the proposal presented by the members of the Senate from the University School of Health Sciences.
According to all estimates, the very high transmissibility of the Delta mutation of the virus leads to an outbreak of cases, especially among those who do not have immunity through vaccination or disease. As a result, the number of those who will need hospitalization is expected to be far beyond the strength of the health system, which is now threatened with collapse. Therefore, it was decided to implement a protocol that creates security conditions for those who return to the University premises, does not contribute to the increase of cases and protects the health system and public health in general.
The best way to protect the individual and the health system is to be vaccinated and to acquire immunity from a very high percentage of the population (over 90% according to current data). However, according to data published by the Ministry of Health, immunity between the ages of 18-24 due to vaccination or disease is around 50%. The percentage is expected and we seek to increase, however, it is certain that on August 30, when the new students will arrive for the information week, and on September 6, when the physical classes start, we will not be at the point where the virus will have turned into endemic to be able to function in physical presence without strict protocol and measures.
With such a low level of immunity among the student population and due to the peculiarities of the operation of a University with scattered office buildings, halls, laboratories and other infrastructure in the center of Limassol, the planned restart of the University must be based on measures that are practically feasible. .
The announcement as it is:
Aiming at the reopening of our university with a physical presence, ensuring that all students without exception participate in the learning process in safe conditions for all and at the same time contributing to the general protection of the public health of the place, the Senate decided (briefly):
- All courses will be taught by teaching staff who have a certificate of vaccination or COVID-19 disease.
- All students register and attend their classes
- Students who have a certificate of vaccination or disease from COVID-19 disease participate in the courses with physical presence.
- Students who do not hold a COVID-19 vaccination or disease certificate will attend their courses remotely, in accordance with the arrangements described in detail in the decision.
- All final examinations will be done in person, with a safe pass, according to the current decrees of the Minister of Health.
The leadership of the University in the next few days will inform via teleconference both staff members and students about the protocol that has been decided and the practical arrangements. He will also have special meetings with the University Student Union.
The members of the university community, in the light of the decision of the Senate, are once again encouraged to proceed with vaccination utilizing the walk in vaccination center that will operate next Friday, August 27, 2021, in the building “Tassos Papadopoulos”. For expression of interest, here:
The protocol is followed in detail:
1) Offer courses, study and teaching
1.1 The courses will be offered with the physical presence of academics and students who have:
– a vaccination certificate for COVID-19 at least one dose, provided that three weeks have elapsed since the date of vaccination, or
– COVID-19 disease certificate valid for six months from the date of sampling of the initial positive diagnosis
– medical certificate proving that the person can not be vaccinated for medical reasons. These people will be able to come to the university premises with a 72-hour virus detection test (PCR or rapid) the financial cost of which is covered by the program of the Ministry of Health.
1.2 The following protection measures will apply:
– Use of mask indoors by everyone
– Use of hand antiseptic when entering and leaving the classroom by all
– Open windows (where available) for ventilation of closed rooms
– There should be an interval of at least 20 minutes between successive sections in the same room (it means that the windows, where they exist, will remain open).
– Every member of the community who is entitled to attend the University according to paragraph 1.1 to perform an optional virus detection test (PCR or rapid test) at least once a week.
– It is understood that, given the above protection measures and 1.1 above, the capacity of each room / laboratory remains normal.
1.3 For each course offered, under the responsibility of the course leader and utilizing the available distance learning tools, arrangements will be made so that all students have access to and participation in the learning process (eg posting notes of each course in moodle, online meeting with all students during office hours to discuss / resolve questions, up-to-date if possible and useful for the specific course or asynchronous course attendance, etc.).
1.4 Students who for any reason do not meet the requirement 1.1 above, regularly enroll in the courses, have access and participation in the learning process, both in the theoretical and laboratory part of each course, using the available distance learning tools , and the possibility of a weekly meeting via video conference with the teacher during his office hours to discuss and resolve questions. Students who have been vaccinated or ill have the right, if there are special reasons, to apply to the Rector's Council to participate in distance learning courses. It is understood that students who after the start of the courses, at any stage, meet the requirements 1.1 above can attend the courses with physical presence.
1.5 The participation in an internship / clinical exercise , when it takes place outside the University, is done for all without exception with a physical presence , based on the safe pass checks that are determined by the legislation in each case. Participation in an internship / clinical practice on the University premises as well as access by members of the university community or the public to university buildings to which vulnerable persons enter (eg Rehabilitation Clinic) is based on the conditions 1.1 and protection measures 1.2 are applied .
1.6 The final examinations are carried out in the physical presence of all students, with the presentation of a safe pass.
1.7 The possibility of distance learning and the arrangements described above will apply for the Autumn Semester 2021-22. The University is not committed to continuing to provide this opportunity in the coming semesters. In any case, a student cannot cover most of his / her distance learning program, especially with regard to degrees related to the exercise of professional rights.
1.8. Teaching staff who have not been vaccinated or become ill may not take up teaching duties during the Autumn Semester. The course (s) are assigned to another person and the relevant teaching load of the faculty member is transferred to the next semester. If this continues, other measures will be taken.
1.9 Administrative staff that has not been vaccinated or sick during the Autumn Semester can not perform duties that include activities such as student life and sports, student dormitories, student service center, library, etc. In such cases, temporary staff transfers are made under the responsibility of the ICC.
- Arrangements for people (students / teachers or teachers) who are forced to limit themselves
2.1 A person who has symptoms of COVID-19 disease, even if he meets the mark 1.1 above or has a negative test but is within 4-7 days from the onset of symptoms (or as provided by the protocol of the Ministry of Health), he should limit himself and avoid attending University.
2.2 A person who is positive in the examination, informs the University (in a way to be determined by the Safety and Health Group) and limits himself for as long as the state health protocol provides. It also informs the person in charge of the course for the purposes of academic facilities.
2.3 A person who has been vaccinated or ill, if a case of contact is found can continue to visit the campus normally. However, it is recommended to precede the virus detection test (PCR or rapid test).
2.4 A student who enters into self-limitation, either because he or she has symptoms or because it is a case, participates as long as necessary in the learning process by utilizing the available tools provided by each course.
2.6 In the event that a course instructor has to limit himself or herself either because he or she has symptoms or because it is a confirmed case, the following arrangements are sought in order of priority:
- Completion of courses that will be missed at a later stage before the end of the semester
- Temporary replacement and coverage of lectures by another faculty member or SPD (or other associate without financial burden for the University)
- Offer the courses that are affected remotely, for the period of time that will be needed and with the prior approval of the Rector's Council.
2.7 In case the student needs to limit himself / herself to days that affect the final or intermediate exams, arrangements are made by each course leader including the selection of the incomplete degree. The solution of the distance mid-term or final examination should be avoided and adopted only where deemed absolutely necessary.
2.8 In any case not described above, such as the case of a teacher or student who will need to be hospitalized for a long time, the Rector's Council is responsible for making decisions.
- Access to other University spaces and activities (beyond learning spaces)
3.1 All faculty members, research associates and administrative staff with a safe pass demonstration, as defined by state decrees, have the right of access to other premises of the University (office buildings, research laboratories, etc.).
3.2 Participation in student life and sports activities is allowed only to those mentioned in 1.1 above (vaccinated / sick / sick). The same applies to access to the Library's reading areas. The method of control is determined by the competent Service and is based on the procedures described in 4 below.
3.3 Accommodation in a dormitory is allowed with a safe pass check, as defined by the competent YSFE. Students who have been considered eligible for residency for 2021-22 and will choose distance learning, have the right until September 15, 2021 to cancel the contract they may have signed with a refund of any tuition fees they may have paid.
- Access control mechanism
4.1 A special Safety and Health Group is established, with the responsibility of coordinating and implementing, in cooperation with other executives of the University, the faithful implementation of the health protocols and decrees of the state as well as the relevant decisions of the University. Team members are:
- Costas Hoppas, IMO, Coordinator
- Neophytos Loukaidis, Senior Senior Officer, Deputy Coordinator in case of absence of ICC
- Antonis Vrasidas, Senior Officer of YSFE
- Gabriel Panis, Senior Officer of the Ministry of Education
- Katerina Fragoulidou, Senior Officer of YAD
- Dionysis Kazamias, Senior Officer Gr. Rector
- Emilios Antoniou, Safety and Health Officer
- The control of access to the course venues is as follows:
4.2.1 Every student who wishes to participate in the courses with physical presence during the Autumn Semester 2021-22, submits a relevant responsible declaration in electronic form and attaches the Digital Certificate of COVID of the European Union (EU Digital Covid Certificate) which shows either a vaccine or recovery from COVID-19 disease. The certificate is inspected by an individual designated by the Team and is destroyed within 48 hours of receipt. Alternatively, a student can inform about it, by attaching the certificate by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or go through the KEP of YSFE to show the certificate.
The relevant statements must be made before August 30 for new students who will attend the information week and before September 6 for students who will attend the first week of classes.
- Under the responsibility of the Safety and Health Team, the list of enrolled students of each course, which will be given to each course manager, will have a distinctive indication for the students who have been checked and are entitled to be in the classrooms.
- Each course instructor will be empowered to ensure that students in his / her class have the right to be in the classroom. It is understood that the lists should be kept up to date under the responsibility of the Safety and Health Team.
- Under the responsibility of the Safety and Health Team, a number of Administrative Staff members will be appointed who will be in the teaching areas of the University during the first 2 weeks of the courses of the Autumn Semester 2021/2022, to support our students and academics in implementing the decision.
- Everyone eligible to enter the University's learning and teaching facilities always has with them the European Digital Covid Certificate of the European Union (EU Digital Covid Certificate) which shows either vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 disease. It must also have proof of identification (political identity card or passport or student ID for students).
- Students and in general any person who during the audit is found to be on the premises of the University while not entitled, is removed immediately with instructions from authorized officials.
- A student who during the audit is found for the second time to be at the University while he is not entitled, is considered to be committing a serious disciplinary offense, is removed immediately with instructions of authorized officials and referred to the Disciplinary Committee (EIA) of the University, which meets within 48 hours to investigate the offense.
- Under the responsibility of the Safety and Health Team, all those who appear in the timetable as teachers will be checked, before September 6, 2021, that they meet the requirements of 1.1 above (vaccination or disease certificate).
- The access control to the other premises and activities of the University (note 3 above) is done as follows:
- For members of Academic (Faculty, SPD and EU) and Research Staff
- Every member of the Academic (Faculty, Faculty of Science and Technology) and Research Staff must have a safe pass in order to be eligible to enter other areas of the University. It must also have proof of identity (political identity, or passport).
- Safe pass checks for Academic and Research Staff may be conducted:
- The safety and health team and the authorized officials of the University
- The President of the respective department may at his / her discretion request a safe pass from the academic members of his / her department
- Academic managers (in terms of having a safe pass from their research associates).
- For Administrative Staff
- Every member of the Administrative Staff must have a safe pass in order to be entitled to enter other areas of the University. It must also have proof of identity (political identity, or passport).
- Safe pass checks for Administrative Staff can be performed by:
- The safety and health team and the authorized officials of the University.
- The Head or Senior Officer of each Administrative Service for its staff
- The Head of YAD or the Senior Officer of YAD for members of the Board in Schools / Departments / Rectorate
4.5 The persons who will be appointed for the above audits will be authorized by the ICC and / or the Rector.
4.6 The Safety and Health Team will determine any additional practical details for the implementation of the above decision.
- Facilities and information
5.1 The University will arrange, in consultation with the Ministry. Health and the Scientific Advisory Committee to prepare a plan that includes specific actions aimed at valid and reliable information of staff and students on all issues related to the pandemic, as well as a series of facilities, as follows:
– Walk in a vaccination center when a sufficient number of interested members of the university community are gathered for the 1st vaccination dose
– Rapid antigen detection point on a daily basis, so that vaccinated / sick members of the university community perform (optional) at least one test per week.
– Establish a team with health and behavior experts from the first weeks of the course with the aim of the university listening to and discussing the concerns of the university community regarding the virus, vaccines, etc.
For anything not described above, the Rector's Council is responsible for making decisions. It is understood that in the event that the epidemiological data lead to a new decree that dramatically changes the regulations, the Senate will be called upon to take relevant decisions.
TEPAK Senate Decision: Only vaccinated or sick students at the university from September
Students shout for the decision of TEPAK to accept only vaccinated or sick