NEWS The Swedish Government has given universities the go-ahead to conduct teaching on campus from the autumn semester. “This relatively early announcement from the Government and the Public Health Agency of Sweden about the autumn is highly appreciated,” says Vice-Chancellor Hans Adolfsson.
Umeå University’s premises have, with some exceptions, been closed to students since 18 March and teaching has been carried out remotely. The purpose has been to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
On Friday 28 May, the Government and the Public Health Agency of Sweden held a press conference where they announced that upper-secondary school pupils, university students and other students at adult educations can return to their places of study from 15 June. This means that schools and universities will be able to conduct teaching in a more normal way this autumn semester.
“Today’s announcement is important news for this autumn. It means that students, universities and university colleges can prepare to return to somewhat more normal campus-based teaching again,” says Matilda Ernkrans, Minister for Higher Education and Research.
“But everything will not return to normal this autumn. Universities have a responsibility to adapt their teaching to reduce the spread of disease. Some teaching may need to be conducted remotely also in the near future,” she says and emphasises that students also have a huge personal responsibility, to maintain their studies but also to stay at home when experiencing even the mildest symptoms of disease, keep the distance and wash their hands often.
How this new information will affect Umeå University is something Vice-Chancellor Hans Adolfsson wishes to return to later.
“But it is a positive announcement nationally. Umeå University has both planned to continue with online teaching and return to campus-based teaching. So, getting a clearer decision from the authorities is highly welcome,” he says.
The University has previously urged all students to plan for returning to campus when the autumn semester starts. This also goes for international students who are advised to apply for a residence permit and prepare to join Umeå for this autumn semester.
This announcement is valid until further notice, but if the situation should change, the Government is prepared to take further actions. Hence, we cannot rule out that online teaching could become the norm yet again if the situation should require such a change.