The pandemic caused by COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact in all areas, and at University, it has forced us to carry out, in a very short period, major changes in each of the facets of our activity.
In the period of "new normality", the duration of which is difficult to predict, the obligation to comply with the preventive and protective measures imposed by the health authorities leads us to design a series of action guidelines with the aim of maintaining the highest degree possible attendance that is compatible and respectful with these measures. Since we must not forget that the University of the Basque Country / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea is, above all, a face-to-face university.
Taking into account the above, the guidelines listed in this document for the 2021-2022 academic year aim to offer guidelines to preserve, as far as possible, the face-to-face nature of teaching at the UPV / EHU, but adapting it to scenarios of social distancing, limited capacity and adoption of hygienic-sanitary measures.
The adaptation measures for teaching will be modulated according to the criteria established at all times by the health authorities, and will be intensified or relaxed based on their recommendations; for this reason they will be flexible and modifiable. In all cases, they must strike a balance between quality university education and the protection of the health of students and staff.
Students will know in due time and, in any case, before the start of the enrolment period of the 2021-2022 academic year, the general organization of the course and the subjects. At the beginning of the course, they will have access to updated teaching guides adapted to the "new" normality. Regardless of the learning scenario in which they operate, students will receive the necessary supervision from their teachers. Mentoring, which can be carried out through online tutorials, will be very important. In any event, as to the way tutoring is carried out, the agreements (instructions, circulars etc) in force at each time must be complied with (https://www.ehu.eus/es/web/iip/tutoretzen-araudia).
On the other hand, regardless of their professional activity or family situation, in the case of students who, due to exceptional personal circumstances, such as sick or hospitalized patients, cannot continue their studies in person at UPV/EHU, the departments should make the necessary academic and pedagogical adjustments in the subjects in which they are enrolled, to ensure the continuity of their studies under such situations. In this sense, as regards academic issues, they must comply with the agreements (instructions, circulars etc) in force at each time (https://www.ehu.eus/es/temas-acad%C3%A9micos).
In the case of face-to-face assessment tests, the means deemed appropriate for the tests to be carried out in the same options as the rest of the students will the implemented, in all cases in compliance with the decisions referred to the link above. This will apply to both individual as well as groups of students under the conditions described above.
The guidelines for planning the 2021-2022 academic year continue implementing the successful face-to-face teaching and training perspective, that is, preferably face-to-face, but may be complemented by online classes and asynchronous sessions. The 2020-2021 academic year has shown that the university community is capable of maintaining teaching and learning activities with the support of distance education strategies and tools, and can take advantage of this acquired knowledge to face the 2021-2022 course in a situation of "new normality". The new normality may evolve towards full presence or involve a decrease in it in periods of confinement, if they occur.
We must also remember that our university is made up of twenty Centers with very different characteristics and needs, so the planning of the next course should not necessarily be the same for all the Centers, not even for all the degrees of the same Center, nor for all their courses. Additionally, the organization of the course in the “new normality” scenario foreseen and described here is reviewable, since, if there were a new confinement, we would be forced to return to online teaching, through eGela and other online platforms.
PROTECTION MEASURES TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT
Law 2/2021 of 29 March on emergency prevention, containment and coordination measures to address the health crisis created by COVID-19 establishes a general obligation of a precautionary and protective nature that continues to directly affect the planning of the 2021-2022 course at UPV/EHU. As for the teaching centers, it states “the adoption of the organizational measures necessary to avoid crowding and ensure that students and workers can comply with the indications of distance or limitation thereof, as well as personal prevention measures, which are indicated by the health and educational authorities.”
In addition, the documents “Prevention, hygiene and health measures for universities for the year 2020-2021” of the Ministries of Health and Universities, approved by the Public Health Commission on 11/03/2021 https://www.mscbs.gob.es/profesionales/saludPublica/ccayes/alertasActual/nCov/home.htm establishes as key prevention measures, the following:
- Limiting contacts by maintaining a distance of 1.5 meters and avoiding agglomerations
- The proper use of masks and hand hygiene as basic measures to avoid transmission, including respiratory hygiene
- Allowing for frequent ventilation of spaces and cleaning of the center
- Disallowing the presence of people who are in quarantine or in isolation at university premises.
In order to ensure compliance with the existing rules to deal with COVID-19, the UPV/EHU sets the following mandatory requirements:
- Agglomerations must be avoided. A number of alternatives are proposed:
- The entry and exit times of different levels and/or groups should be staggered as far as possible.
- It is recommended that the maximum classroom capacity should not exceed 50 persons. This will take into account the options detailed below to organize the teaching that each center will design according to the characteristics of its degrees.
- Students who participate remotely in a subject or in a training activity will preferably be located outside the school to avoid congestion in common areas, classrooms and libraries.
- Staff and students of UPV/EHU must necessarily wear a mask. Hygienic, surgical or other protective masks, such as FFP2, shall be allowed where the Prevention Service instructs the university staff to use them under certain circumstances. With regard to hygienic masks, it is recommended to use reusable models that meet the technical specifications set out in Order CSM/115/2021 of 11 February establishing the conditions for informing and marketing such masks.
- As a general rule, a minimum distance of 1,5 metres between persons in all facilities of the centre shall be respected.
- Adequate ventilation of the classrooms will be performed in the teaching-learning activity.
- In order to limit, as far as possible, the movement of students within the schools, students will preferably use the same class, and within it, they will sit in the same place, if the characteristics of the subjects and spaces allow it.
All protective, cleaning and disinfection measures contained in the operating measures of the UPV/EHU centres shall apply.
It should be noted that these measures might be modified according to the decisions taken by the health and educational authorities. In this respect, the operational measures of UPV/EHU centres will always be in place.
In particular, if there were positive developments in the health situation and the regulatory framework allowed it, the operating measures of the centres would be adapted as soon as possible to gradually recover the highest percentages of presence.
Our university is characterized by face-to-face teaching. Therefore, should the measures established by the current legislation allow it, the centers will take measures to increase classroom face-to-face teaching as much as possible. It is envisaged that there is a need to combine face-to-face and online learning, but it is recommended that online learning should not be taught in more than 2 subjects per group and four-month period, or man than 15 credits in the case of Master’s degrees, which means that a full course cannot be taught in the online modality.
We must remember that our university is made up of twenty different centers with very different needs and characteristics, so the planning of the next course may not be the same for all centers, for all degrees of the same center nor for all levels of the same degree.
We must emphasize that this document proposes the organization of the school year in a situation similar to that given in the year 2020-2021. However, the organization may be modified in case there is another confinement, in which case we would return to online teaching and would use the videoconferencing took made available in eGela. In this situation, all teachers should use the resources available to ensure the development of their subjects, without prejudice to others than can also contribute to an adequate learning by the student. On the other hand, the situation may improve, and if the health authorities confirmed that the disease is controlled and the existing legislation applied in this regard was annulled; total face-to-face teaching would be recovered.
TRAINEESHIPS: LABORATORIES, WORKSHOPS ….
When planning subjects and activities with a high practical content, instructors will try to:
Optimize the time spent in laboratories: e.g.,carry out the preparatory part and the closing part of the practice in a normal classroom and enter the laboratory the time necessary for experimentation.
If there is no possibility of developing the entire practice in person, prioritize what cannot be worked remotely and look for alternatives for the rest.
EXTERNAL CURRICULAR AND EXTRACURRICULAR TRAINEESHIPS
The curricular external traineeships will be maintained in the same terms that are established in the verified memory of the title and in the existing agreements with the collaborating entities.
When organizing external curricular and extracurricular traineeships, the measures established by the organizational units, companies and entities in which they are to be carried out must be respected at all times.
If it were necessary to limit the number of contact hours in the collaborating entity due to compliance with sanitary measures, contact activities will be combined with an adequate volume of other activities (projects, reports, training programs, etc.) that may be evaluated and that guarantee a sufficient acquisition of skills.
If physical presence in the collaborating entity is not possible, efforts will be made to ensure that the training objectives are maintained with remote activities carried out with the collaborating entity, provided that the entity facilitates it. The calendar and methodology must be agreed with the external tutors.
If the health situation worsens and the authorities prohibit its implementation, UPV / EHU would propose complementary learning possibilities.
In the case of curricular traineeships and clinical traineeships, the acquisition of the competences may be completed through the development of alternative training activities, provided that the appropriate conditions are met. In this case, the internal tutors will intensify their work of monitoring the practices. When it is not possible to adapt them to a non-classroom learning typology, the University may extend the period of completion intensively in those periods where the health situation allows it.
For the long-term external traineeships of regulated professionalizing degrees, the recommendations and agreements reached by the conferences of deans will be followed, trying to adopt the solutions proposed by said conferences, so that the skills acquired by students are similar throughout the state.
In the case of extracurricular traineeships, the unfinished practical credits would be validated through the completion of online complementary courses: transversal competences; digital identity; resources for employment.
Whenever the measures provided for in the existing rules allow this, the centers will plan the evaluation in person. In any case, given the exceptional and unpredictable circumstances in which we find ourselves, it is recommended that all students take a continuous assessment approach, where there are different tests and exercises that are administered throughout the lecture period that enable the sequenced evaluation of learning. In addition, in all subjects a non-face-to-face assessment alternative will also be made available should the need arise. In this respect, the recommendations contained in EHU edonondik and EHU edonondik/ebaluazioa will be in force.
In any case, as regards evaluation, remember that the current decisions on academic topics (instructions, circulars, etc.) must be followed (https://www.ehu.eus/es/temas-acad%C3%A9micos).