Campus - 12.03.2020 - 00:00 

HSG to start parallel classroom and online teaching

From Monday, 16 March 2020, the University of St.Gallen (HSG) will offer its lectures and courses at the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D. Levels both on campus and online. For the time being, this will be applicable until the end of the spring semester on 24 May 2020. In this way, the HSG is complying with today’s recommendation of the Health and Education Department of the Canton of St.Gallen and thus wants to make a contribution towards the protection of students and staff, as well as towards slowing down the coronavirus.

12 February 2020. Students of St.Gallen’s universities should be able to participate in their courses through digital channels in the coming weeks. This is recommended by the Health and Education Department of the Canton of St.Gallen; this recommendation was published in a media release on 12 March 2020.

The University of St.Gallen is already prepared for this scenario. Basically, the aim is to maintain classroom teaching for as long and as comprehensively as possible. For those students and faculty who are unable or unwilling to come to the university owing to their current situation (illness, risk group), however, the HSG now offers online alternatives.

Live transmission and recording

This means that from Monday, 16 March 2020, the web-conferencing tools will be available in all the rooms. Lectures and seminars at the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D. Levels will be transmitted live and recorded. For the next three weeks until the break alone, this will affect approx. 1,050 courses and lectures. Faculty who are prevented from classroom teaching or have health-related reservations may completely switch to online teaching from Monday, 16 March 2020 and will be able to do so from their offices or homes with the tools available for this purpose.

Lectures/seminars/exercises (including block ones in the break) which cannot be offered online will be cancelled to enable students to be transferred to other courses. Appropriate solutions will also be found for the organisation of examinations; you will be informed of this in due time. The Senate adopted the relevant legal basis for this on 9 March 2020.

Adaptations in the Mensa restaurant, the Library and Unisport

In order to follow the measures determined by the authorities and to be able to keep the necessary distance, the following adaptations will be effected on the campus:

• The Mensa restaurant and the cafeterias continue to be open for the time being. However, the number of seats will be reduced as from 16 March 2020, and alternative locations for food and drink will be on offer.

• In the Library and in all the learning zones, the number of seats will also be reduced. To compensate for this, other rooms will be opened for learning purposes depending on possibilities and demand.

• Unisport will continue to be operational. However, sports with close physical contact (such as martial arts, dance classes) will be cancelled, and training sessions will be run outdoors whenever possible.

• The public lecture series will also be continued. However, faculty will inform the audience about hygiene measures and recommendations concerning risk groups prior to every lecture.

General protection measures

Basically, everybody is subject to the rule as from now that they are only permitted to enter HSG premises and participate in courses as long as they are healthy, irrespective of whether they have normal flu or coronavirus. Everyone who has a high temperature, a cough or breathing difficulties will have to stay at home until they have recovered.

The posters of the prevention campaign launched by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) are displayed in the sanitation facilities and in the buildings. In addition, disinfectant dispensers have been in place since 1 March 2020, and the cleaning of work surfaces and door handles has been intensified.

Information and recommendations have been posted in the building and on the screens and are available on a special page in the intranet, which is accessible to both students and staff. Instructions are issued by e-mail.

Additionally, various measures for the protection of staff were initiated at the beginning of this week, such as more flexible working hours (in order to avoid commuting during rush hours), spatial adaptations in offices, as well as increased opportunities for working from home.

A task force has been at work since the beginning of the spring semester to coordinate the measures for the University of St.Gallen. This task force is in contact with the office of the Cantonal Medical Officer and complies with its instructions and with the precepts and recommendations of the FOPH.

Photo: Adobe Stock / ahmet

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