Monday, 26 October 2020

UNYP initiates strong anti-Covid measures as classes begin next week

4 September 2020

This week, the University of New York in Prague will be the first university in the Czech Republic to welcome students for the Fall semester. UNYP has kept Covid-19 and student safety in mind throughout the opening preparations. The University has decided to invest in anti-Covid preparations in the context of a long-term outlook and a positive change for the university, while taking into account the flexibility that students will need throughout this pandemic and beyond.

In addition to new touchless hygiene stations and plexiglass installations throughout the university, UNYP has invested in an e-textbook library with 400,000 books. Perlego will supplement UNYP’s existing digital online libraries, and the physical library collection of more than 17,000 books in English. The new Perlego subscription will make the UNYP campus safer by reducing student traffic in the library and physical contact with the books, and will have environmental benefits as well.

One of the principal measures taken by UNYP is the installation of high-tech Logitech MeetUP video and sound equipment in every classroom. This enables students and teachers to have a seamless online and in-person class experience, allowing students who are quarantined or unable to attend to follow along synchronously with their classes, and not miss a moment. UNYP has fully prepared for in-person learning, online-only learning if necessary, and an in-person/online hybrid method, which will give students flexibility while ensuring that they receive the same standard of education, no matter their physical location.

“Our priority was to make sure that we can accommodate the safety of our students, their individual safety preference levels within the scope of the pandemic, and the Ministry requirements, while also delivering the first-class education that our students expect,” comments Sotiris Foutsis, UNYP’s General Manager. “Our students demand the very best of us, so our only objective was rising to meet their expectations, and the delivery of seamless education in a safe environment where each student could feel comfortable learning. Through that vision, our team at UNYP worked to make these measures possible and welcome students back one month before any other universities in Czech Republic. We also fully understand that in this pandemic, the universities have a duty to reduce the risk and limit the spread of infection while on campus, so we are doing our best to educate our students on safer behavior outside the classroom. We are using online orientation seminars, emails, posters and campus TVs to help educate them, and request their active participation in the safety of the overall UNYP community by following less risky patterns of behavior.”

The key UNYP anti-Covid measures can be found here:

Academic & Campus Measures

• New high-tech cameras and sound equipment have been installed in all classrooms, allowing students to choose whether they wish to attend the class in person, or synchronously online.
• Training sessions for professors with the new classroom equipment to optimize the classroom experience.
• A Perlego e-textbook library of 400,000 books with licenses for all students and faculty, to reduce library congestion and physical touchpoints
• Mandatory mask use for all students, staff and faculty in the building, including in classes.
• A high-quality, washable UNYP mask will be available free for every student, faculty member, and staff member.
• Single-use masks will be available at reception in cases of necessity.
• Face shields will be made available in specific cases where required.
• The Counselling Centre, Writing Lab, and Statistics Tutoring will provide online services for students.
• Class breaks will be staggered in order to ensure classes finish in due course, and therefore minimize congestion in public spaces between classes.
• Windows will be opened during class where possible. Students are advised to stay in class during breaks.
• To maximize the distance between students choosing to attend classes in person, full use will be made of the auditorium and larger classrooms.
• Each classroom will have several portable plexiglass separators available for optional, individual protection.
• Video conferencing and other applications to minimize face-to-face meetings.
• All staff and faculty have been given licensed educational Zoom accounts.
• A security guard will be present at the building entrance to help and support efforts to keep everyone safe at UNYP.
• Any person who demonstrates Covid-19 symptoms will be politely asked to temporarily leave the premises as a precaution.
• Two digital infrared thermometers will be available at reception to allow body temperature to be measured in the event of concerns. Students who wish to proactively check their temperature can do so upon request.
• Single-use gloves will be available for free at reception.
• Plexiglass barriers have been installed in some high-traffic locations and offices to help students and staff feel safe.
• Additional cleaning staff have been hired, and will rotate throughout the building all day to disinfect classrooms, handles, and other surfaces.
• Plastic cups have been removed from water fountains. Students and faculty are asked to bring their own cups or water bottle. Packaged, single-use cups will be available at reception for free upon request.
• New touchless hygiene (disinfection) stations have been placed throughout the premises on every floor.
• Hand sanitizing gels can be found in all classes and restrooms.
• Single-use surface sanitizers are available in all classes to wipe down desks or furniture before and after use.
• All permanent staff will be rotated in order to prevent the potential shutdown of key UNYP departments in the event of positive Covid-19 cases among the UNYP community.
• Access to the Café will only be permitted from the outside of the building. This will avoid external visitors in the building and ensure that all Café customers are monitored when entering the premises.
• Usage of the elevator will be restricted to a total of 3 people. We recommend using the elevator only to go up, and to take the stairs going down.
• Informational posters around the university with information on symptoms, preventative
measures, and mask maintenance.