Distance and spacing will be in effect until further notice when the autumn semester begins, and the University will continue to follow the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Sweden. The maximum number of places available in lecture halls is 50 (excluding teachers) and individuals should be at least 1.5 metres apart. Efforts must be made to ensure physical spacing (social distancing) in all activities to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. However, there is no maximum number for reading places or other seating in corridors and dining halls; all that is required here is adequate distance.

A comprehensive document setting out recommendations was sent to all campus management offices before the summer and, following intensive efforts during the summer, most of the measures have been implemented in time for the start of the semester. Many of the measures are the same at all campus areas: signs, roll-ups, tabletop signs and digital screens with information about what we can all do to reduce the spread of infection. 1,700 litres of hand sanitiser have been purchased and will be divided up into 175 holders, each containing 2.5 litres, placed strategically around all the University’s campus areas.

Student kitchens open

Most campus areas will close their group rooms – available rooms will show in the system when students try to book. In some campus areas, other rooms are locked because of the risk of infection, but students can access corridors and lecture halls in connection with on-campus teaching. However, it is highly desirable that students study at home as far as possible, as physical spacing means less room and fewer places are available for study on campus. For example, only a third of the seats in the restaurant at Ekonomikum are available and similar restrictions are in effect throughout the University.

As regards the student kitchens on campus, a decision has been made to retain all the microwave ovens previously available.

“Well, we thought that if we removed half the microwaves, it would just lead to longer queues at the student kitchens, which would increase the risk of infection. We simply have to hope that the students will keep their distance. Here at Ekonomikum we have moved the microwaves into a large room where they are placed well apart and we have also opened a lecture hall where the students can eat their food,” says campus coordinator Peter Götlind.

Tents for collecting access cards

The question of how students should collect their campus cards has sparked lively debate and the solutions chosen vary. However, many campus areas will receive all their new students in tents outside entrances. One request from all campus areas is for students to upload a photo for their campus card themselves, both to reduce queues and because the number of staff available to help with this is limited. Campus opening hours have been restricted and in certain campus areas there are guides to point students in the right direction.

The University also hopes that everyone – students and leachers alike – will make sure to keep the necessary distance from one another during the laboratory sessions that have to take place on campus. This is a situation where people otherwise can easily end up too close to one another.

“One very positive thing at this difficult time is that we have really shown our ability to work together, because when it comes down to it, we’re all very keen to find solutions and want things to be the same in all campus areas,” says Peter Götlind. “And everyone understands and accepts pretty well that things aren’t the way they usually are,” he adds.

Open letter from Vice-Chancellor to all students