Universities Discusses Plans For The Fall Semester

Universities Discusses Plans For The Fall Semester

Published August 14, 2020

Nico Borbely
Photo by
Julia Staples
Nico Borbely/Courtesy of University of Iceland email

Efforts will be made to ensure that all University of Iceland students will be taught on-site at least to some extent in the fall semester, RÚV reports. This was stated in an announcement by rector Jón Atli Benediktsson sent to students and faculty earlier today. It further states the semester will be primarily organized around online teaching, and it will be possible to transition fully to online teaching at short notice, as was done during the spring 2020 semester, if circumstances call for it.

“At the same time, solutions will be found to use the university classrooms for on-site teaching as much and as safely as possible given the circumstances,” it says in the announcement.

On Wednesday the government announced the relaxation of rules around distancing on university and school campuses. They will now be based on a distance of one meter, rather than two, with these rules being in effect for at least the next two weeks.

Vísir reports that both the University of Iceland and the neighboring private University of Reykjavík will also have to break up classes into these smaller groups in order to comply with the government regulations, which will come at increased costs.

“[This will mean] increased costs, work, and hassle. We need to teach for most of the day, and make use of the space at hand. This is by no means a simple task,” says University of Reykjavík rector Ari Kristinn Jónsson. There is talk among university administration of the need for additional funding from the government in order to finance the challenging implementation of these logistical changes. “We will have to cooperate well with the government in order to prevent universities from drawing the short end of the stick, so that we can continue to do our jobs as well as possible,” Ari continues.

Jón Atli Benediktsson’s announcement further stipulates that priority in planning on-site teaching and allocation of living space will be given to first year students. Efforts will be made to ensure that all students enjoy safe on-site instruction at least to some extent, for example in the form of discussion sessions, practical instruction, or clinical instruction. Individual courses, departments, and faculties will be responsible for the details of their on-site teaching. In the announcement students are thus advised to pay attention to oncoming messages from their respective faculties.

Lectures given in university classrooms will be streamed or recorded as much as possible to make them accessible online.

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