This is how the autumn semester will play out
Institutional Communication Service
22 June 2020
The next semester will also be a bit out of the ordinary: while there is a strong desire for a return to normalcy and to be back on the campuses, the authorities have allowed the reopening by drawing up a number of conditions. USI values teaching in attendance so, despite the logistical difficulties, it has decided that the autumn semester will take place, as far as possible, on the campuses with the needed digital integrations that will be defined by the Faculties. The highest quality of teaching will be granted to everyone - even those who will temporarily not be able to join us in person - by extending the schedule and by adopting mixed teaching methods. Should the health situation deteriorate again, the semester will be completed and we will rapidly switch to online learning.
The Rectorate, together with a work group coordinated by Pro-Rector Lorenzo Cantoni, has given a lot of thought to how the semester will play out, drawing its decisions from the four principles that have guided us in recent months: keeping our academic community safe; seeking solutions that will give continuity to the institution, contributing to the stability of the social fabric; ensuring the academic offer even in such difficult and volatile times; complying with the decisions of the competent public authorities.
The academic community would like to be able to experience once again life on campus, but it is aware that a slightly different approach is needed to be safe.
First and foremost, USI has decided that
1. The autumn semester will, as far as possible, take place on the campuses.
- The federal authorities have authorised the opening of higher education institutions under certain conditions (https://www.sbfi.admin.ch/sbfi/it/home/attualita/coronavirus.html#-781884536)
- Switzerland is a safe place (and has been considered one of the countries that have managed the pandemic crisis most effectively: https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/switzerland-safest-country-covid-19-coronavirus-ranking/45820836)
2. Classes schedule will be extended to include - if necessary - also Saturdays.
Health regulations require a significant "social distance" to be maintained, which calls for the use of much larger classrooms with respect to the number of students. This requires an optimisation of the use of space.
3. Courses will take place in mixed mode: in attendance and online (usually 50% - 50%)
The availability of spaces does not allow, under the established requirements, to carry out all the courses in presence. Moreover, and more importantly, the situation is still very volatile, and it is possible that several people may not be able to attend courses on campuses for health and visa issues, due to decisions of their national authorities, or other valid reasons. The modalities and applications of this principle will be communicated in the near future to lecturers and students.
4. Those who, for legitimate reasons, will not be able to attend classes on campus will be given support online in order to complete the semester.
USI aims to ensure the highest quality of teaching and learning for all students, including those who are temporarily or for the entire semester unable to attend classes in person.