Resolution 1/36/2021 – Preparation and operation of the 1st semester 2020/21
The operation of the 1 st semester of next academic year (2020/2021) will depend on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and, in particular, on the rules of physical distancing, which will be officially established by health authorities for higher education, in addition to the mandatory use of personal protective equipment (masks) and hygiene, cleaning and disinfection measures.
From an abstract point of view, there are three major possible scenarios:
b) Mixed teaching, with as many course units and course unit components as possible being taught in person, but with some course unit components having to be taught at a distance, as it involves a larger number of students and there are not enough classrooms or teaching staff to carry out the class breakdowns that would be necessary to meet the physical distancing standards that are established;
c) A third scenario, which nobody wants, corresponding to a worsening of the pandemic, in which the university would carry out its activities in the same way as the 2 nd semester of 2019/20, in which, with the exception of some laboratory components, fieldwork and traineeships, most of the curricular units would be taught at a distance.
The university wants as many course units and course unit components as possible to function in person. The only limit to face-to-face operation shall be that arising from compliance with safety standards set by health authorities.
Currently, in the context of the face-to-face exams that took place at the end of this semester of 2019/20, the safety norms in force for higher education, in addition to the mandatory use of masks and rules of cleaning and sanitization, imposed a distance of 1.5m to 2m. Existing indications, but not yet formalized, point to the maintenance of the mandatory use of masks and the rules of cleaning and sanitization, but to a readjustment of the rules of physical distancing, with the possibility of occupying on average half of the classrooms (although dependent on the topology of the room) and a distance of not less than 1m. Health Authorities should officially issue the rules that will apply to higher education in the next academic year (to be adjusted according to the evolution of the pandemic).
The University of Madeira has the month of September to adjust its operation to these safety standards. However, it should start preparing the timetables and the occupation of the rooms and service allocations, subject to adjustments to be made during the month of September, The objective is to define a set of guidelines and a model that is easily adjustable to any of the scenarios.
The main purpose of this document, approved by the management council, after hearing the presidents of the organic units and the pedagogical, university and polytechnic councils, is precisely to be a first step in the definition of a set of generic guidelines, to be adapted to each organic unit and study cycle, taking into account, namely, the number of students in each of its curricular years and teaching components.
Before, just a brief reference to a set of fundamental internal rules that remain in force, as well as some guidelines regarding the way the premises operate and the performance of non-teaching activities from September onwards.
l. Structures and standards in force during the pandemic period
Still in force:
a. The coronavirus prevention and control committee (Covid-19), as well as the University's contingency plan, including the procedures foreseen therein for acting on suspected cases;
b. The Infrastructure and Equipment Services Department, together with the coronavirus prevention and control committee, continues to be responsible for ensuring the implementation of health security measures, in defining the capacity and topology of classroom occupancy, the cleaning and sanitization of spaces, and the definition and dissemination of the rules of stay and movement within the university;
c. The guidelines established in resolution no. 1/23/2020, of the management council, which do not contradict the provisions of this deliberation, until further notice.
II. Premises and non-teaching activities
With regard to premises and the carrying out of non-teaching activities:
a. From September 1, the opening hours and rules of use of the various parking lots of the Institution will be identical to those in force in the pre-pandemic period;
b. Quinta de São Roque will be reopened from September 14th and specific rules may be defined regarding its use;
c. As of 14 September, the Jesuits' College building will operate at the same schedules and in the same manner as in the pre-pandemic period, safeguarding the necessary restrictions on movement and the prevention of gatherings to be announced in due course. Entry and exit of the main building will only be through the door leading to the parking lot, with identification on entry and exit, for registration of those present in the building (the identification of the members of the academy is made by reading your university card, by the electronic device at the entrance of the building);
d.Regarding the Penteada building:
i. Entry into and exit from the building shall continue to be carried out only through the main door, with identification on entry and exit, for the registration of those present on the premises (in the case of Academy members, teaching staff, researchers, non-teaching staff or students, identification can be made simply by reading your University card, by the electronic device that will be installed at the entrance);
ii. From September 1st the normal opening hours of the building are from Monday to Friday, between 7.30am and 11.30pm, and on Saturdays, between 7.30am and 7.30pm. Where required, teaching staff, researchers and non-teaching staff may have access to the premises outside the period mentioned above;
iii. As far as students are concerned, and with September being essentially devoted to evaluations, the restrictions currently in force will continue until September 28th ;
iv. As of September 28th there will be no restrictions on students' access to Penteada campus during the building's normal working hours, although it is recommended that this access occur only for teaching or study activities. The entry and stay of students in the building, on holidays and outside normal working hours, requires prior authorisation, which should be requested via firstname.lastname@example.org
e.The working hours of the canteen and bars in the Penteada building, in September, are the same as in July. It will be operational, as in the prepandemic period, from October onwards;
f. The bar in the Jesuits' College will reopen on 14 September, in a similar way to the pre-pandemic period;
g. The restrictions to which university residence will be subject will be defined in due course;
h.Events from September 14 onwards will be analysed on a case by case basis; Given that freshman initiation rituals provide events and actions, which are hardly compatible with the necessary physical distancing, after hearing the interested parties, it was consensual that at this time of pandemic such activities should not occur and therefore are not allowed in academic year
III. Teaching activities
The following is a set of guidelines and information to be taken into account in preparing for the next academic year (2020/21), and in particular for its 1st semester, to be adapted for each organic unit and study cycle, and to be updated as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and the recommendations that may be issued by health authorities.
a.Teaching should be in person, whenever possible;
b.According to the rules of physical distancing currently in force it will be impossible to have all the components of the curricular units taught in person (because there are not enough rooms, nor teaching staff, to carry out the class breakdowns that would be necessary);
c. Health authorities are expected to update the safety standards to be met by higher education;
d. The decision on which components of the curricular units can be taught in person and which ones have to be taught at a distance will depend, essentially, on the rules of physical distancing that will be determined by the health authorities for higher education (in addition to the mandatory use of masks and the appropriate cleaning and disinfection measures), on the capacity of the available rooms and on the existence of sufficient teaching resources and rooms for class breakdowns;
e. It is expected that certain theoretical components and even some theoreticalpractical components, namely of course units with many students, may have to
be taught at a distance, but that several of the theoretical classes, such as those of study cycles with fewer students, and most of the theoretical-practical, practical and laboratory classes, will be taught in person.
However, the decision as to which course unit components may or may not be taught in person will depend on the type of class and the number of rooms available.
The Infrastructure and Equipment Services Department will define the maximum possible occupation of each classroom, according to the rules of physical distancing in force.
In addition to the classrooms in Penteada, the use of some of the existing classrooms in the university premises, in Castanheiro, may be considered. However, students should not take classes on the same day, in Penteada and Castanheiro, to avoid the need for additional transportation.
f. The need for distance learning should also be considered in specific cases where the teaching staff are in a situation of risk, foreseen and proven by the competent health authorities, which prevent the development of their professional activity in a face-to-face way;
g.In order to optimize the classrooms occupation, three shifts of classes should be considered: the morning shift, between 8am and Ipm, from Monday to Friday; the afternoon shift, between 1.30pm and 6pm, from Monday to Friday; and the evening shift (especially for post-labour study cycles), between 6.30pm and 10pm, from Monday to Friday, and Saturday morning. Without prejudice to the possibility of the morning shift starting at 8am, as a guideline it is suggested that classes start at 8:30am, since many students have difficulty in reaching Penteada at 8am due to transportation;
h. In each shift, the same students should occupy the same class, in order to optimize/simplify the process of cleaning and sanitizing the rooms;
i. The components of the course units to be taught at a distance should take place on different days than the components of the course units to be taught in person. Naturally, the days of face-to-face teaching should vary from study cycle to study cycle, as a way to optimize the occupation of the rooms.
It is also possible to consider that both face-to-face and in-person classes can be taught on the same day, some in the morning and some in the afternoon, but in these cases a sufficiently long break should be provided, at lunchtime, so that the students can go home from university and vice versa, given that many of the students do not live in Funchal and spend a lot of time on the UMa/home route;
j. Whenever possible, classes should be avoided on Wednesday afternoons, so that the usual academic meetings can take place at that time;
k. Given the great need for coordination of schedules and rooms, namely in the 1 st semester of next academic year, a committee was appointed, chaired by the Vice-Rector for academic affairs and composed of the presidents of the pedagogical, university and polytechnic councils, and a representative appointed by the president of each organic unit. Said members, together with the degree directors (who should carry out a survey of the components of the curricular units that are envisaged for distance and face-to-face teaching), the secretariats of the organic units and the head of the Infrastructure and Equipment Services Department, are responsible for coordinating the process of defining the schedules and allocation of rooms, in the 1st semester of 2020/21;
l. The evaluation model to be followed in each course unit as well as the expected number of students and the dates of tests and examinations should be defined as soon as possible, for the timely organization of the spaces. This model should be defined together with the degree directors and the presidents of the pedagogical, university and polytechnic councils.
The management council trusts the members of the academy, teaching staff and researchers, non-teaching staff and students, in the certainty that they will be the guarantors of the implementation of the security measures issued by the health authorities and that they will continue to strive to ensure that the next academic year runs smoothly, and with the quality that the university has proven, despite this framework of uncertainty, regarding the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finally, the management council wishes all members of the academy an excellent and well-deserved holiday.
Funchal and Universidade da Madeira, July 29, 2020
The Management Council