COVID-19: Teaching continues as usual

The Public Health Agency of Sweden and the Swedish government have announced new step-by-step measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infection. The infection rate in Sweden is increasing slightly, though from low levels. The first stage of measures is in effect from 8 December.

“The government has made it clear that it is important that we continue to teach on campus,” says Vice-Chancellor Anders Hagfeldt. “The restrictions now being introduced in stage 1 are not primarily intended for higher education. It is important for the students that we carry on as usual.”

The Public Health Agency of Sweden writes on its website: “Educational institutions such as universities and other higher education institutions, folk high schools, higher vocational education and municipal adult education can conduct their activities as usual, but should avoid large gatherings and take measures to reduce crowding.”

Since the prerequisites for teaching and conducting research differ within the University, it is up to each head of department to make any necessary adaptations to avoid large gatherings or crowded spaces.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has also indicated that it will be providing more information to higher education institutions and other adult education institutions.

Universities cannot demand proof of vaccination

The Swedish Agency for Government Employers has concluded that public authorities cannot demand proof of vaccination from either employees or the public, and Uppsala University is of the same opinion.

This means that the University needs to conduct its activities in a way that protects against infection as far as possible by following the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Sweden but without requiring proof of vaccination.

  • Exams will continue as planned since students taking exams are already spaced out to prevent cheating. The possibility of offering exams at several alternative times will be investigated.
  • Do what you can to avoid crowding.
  • Note that teaching sessions are not considered public gatherings but thesis defences that are open to the public are.
  • The University will continue to be restrictive about large public lectures and events, such as public lectures and gatherings with more than 100 people present. According to the Swedish Police website, proof of vaccination is not required at public meetings and events held indoors for fewer than 100 people.

Anders Berndt

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