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University of Alicante publishes the basics for COVID-19 protection for the start of the academic year

A comprehensive protocol that mainly details preventive measures for teaching activity and how they affect each of the university groups

 

 

Alicante, Wednesday 9 September 2020

Following the guidelines recomm4ended by the relevant health and academic authorities, the University of Alicante (UA) has prepared an Action Protocol for the beginning of the academic year 20/21 with all necessary preventive measures to start the academic year to face the current epidemiological situation safely. The document contains the basics of preventive care which focuses on health aspects related to the teaching activity, and is structured according to the special features of each university group. It also includes a series of preventive aspects of a structural nature that have been implemented by this academic institution since the beginning of the pandemic.

As stated by Vice President for Campus Facilities and Technology Ferran Verdú, in charge of the UA Medical Service, the aim of this protocol is to answer basic questions such as what to do before going to the University, how we will face everyday in the classrooms and laboratories, what aspects should be taken into account if symptoms appear and what are these symptoms, and how our institution is prepared for these eventualities.

As a general rule, we recommend users not to enter the university premises if they have symptoms compatible with Covid-19, if there is a positive diagnosis, or they are in a period of preventive isolation. Once on campus, keeping a safety distance, use of hydrogels and disinfectants and use of masks in all university spaces is mandatory.  

In order to complete this health protocol, the University of Alicante has emailed a notice to all students and academic staff with all the instructions to carry out the academic activity safely.

 

What to know before you go to campus

Before attending the Campus for the first time this course is important to use appUA, to be informed of the university centres organisation, location, onsite class schedules, since the organization and development of teaching is based on a dual teaching model, in which a part of the students will follow the classes with physical presence in the classroom, according to the rules of distance and occupation and the rest will follow the class synchronously through a virtual classroom system.

As already reported, classrooms have been adapted with monitors and graphic tablets that enables synchronous teaching of lectures to the students in the classroom and those connected by virtual classroom.

In addition, a new application has been added to UACloud (DUAL TEACHING) that allows teachers and students to get information about the organisation, location and schedules of their face-to-face classes, in order to ensure that their attendance and access to the virtual classroom is allowed.

Tutorials for the dual teaching application are available and continuously updated at: https://web.ua.es/es/aula-virtual/.

 

Organisation of common spaces

Horizontal and vertical signs have been installed in all the on-campus buildings in order to delimit the areas and direction of traffic, as well as the points of hydroalcoholic gel supply.  Entrances and exits must be organised using the doors duly marked and maintaining the recommended interpersonal distance. Staying in corridors, passing areas and other spaces of common use will not be allowed in order to make access in the classrooms, seminars and laboratories easier maintaining the recommended interpersonal distance.

The layout of the classrooms has been restructured to guarantee recommended interpersonal distance of at least 1.5 metres and to comply with current regulations.  Students must go directly to the classroom and use the seats marked with a green sign a few minutes before the class starts.  Students must use the same seat throughout the whole day classes, whenever possible.  Out-of-class time must be spent in open spaces, at libraries or common rooms enabled for this purpose.  Once classes have ended, students should not remain on university premises.

In common spaces such as social clubs, sports area, UA Museum, etc., the specific regulations in force will be applied.

In general, the capacity of the teaching laboratories will be limited to one person per 5 m2 and masks must be worn at all times.  Additional measures are recommended such as avoiding the exchange of objects, constant cleaning of material and spaces, avoiding direct interpersonal contact, ensuring adequate ventilation and ensuring air conditioning without air recirculation.

Both classrooms and laboratories will have dispensers with alcohol-based preparations available and all spaces are subject to daily cleaning and disinfection for areas of common use and more frequent contact surfaces.

Also, with classroom material shared among teachers, such as the keyboard or mouse, hand disinfection and teaching materials will be maintained with the use of alcohol-based preparations.  Additionally, other cleaning elements available in reception offices may be used by teachers.

When the material is shared between students of the same group or different groups during laboratory practicals or similar, there will be specific instructions integrated into the development of each activity, where students will be active agents and participants.

 

Action in case of symptoms

In the event that symptoms compatible with COVID-19 occur during your stay on university premises, you should immediately inform your teachers, in the case of students, or the Medical Service, by calling at 965 90 95 95.

The protocol has set up isolation rooms at different points on the campus where the person with compatible symptoms will be sent, always accompanied by technical or health personnel from the Medical Service from where they will receive appropriate assistance.

The protocol responds to the Agreement of 19 June 2020, by the Regional Government, on prevention measures against COVID-19, modified by the Decision of 17 July 2020, of the Regional Health Public Health Minister, which gives powers to the Department of Innovation, Universities, Science and Digital Society, in coordination with the Department of Public Health, and the universities of the Valencia Regional Government, for the development of an action protocol for the beginning of the academic year, always respecting the university self-governing status.  The document prepared by the University of Alicante is an adaptation to the specificities of the facilities and teaching organisation of the University of Alicante centres, from the document prepared jointly by the five universities and the regional departments.  

 

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