This year has been full of doubts due to the global pandemic by covid-19. Companies and Institutions around the world have seen how their routines has totally changed. They have had to adapt to the new health protocols announced by governments around the world. A situation of uncertainty in which we find no exception. Now, the start of the academic year is coming and we know how the situation in Spain will be for Erasmus students in the 2020-2021 academic year.
A summer of uncertainty
During the months of February and March the coronavirus arrived in Europe and changed our way of living. In Spain, on the 16th of March, the classes were suspended and the teaching started via online. Both teachers and students had to adapt to a new way of interacting in online classes. Months later online classes have become routine, teachers have adapted their lessons and exams to make remote learning part of this new normality.
Last July it was provisionally announced, keeping in mind that, depending on the impact of the pandemic they could revoke their decision. After the summer, the return to the classrooms would be done in person, it might be the possibility of doubling shifts to reduce the capacity. However, this summer we have seen how nightlife became one of the main sources of infection affecting mainly to young people. This situation has generated even more uncertainty, especially in for Universities, which they did not have a definitive protocol until the end of the summer, when the measures to contain the virus has been presented.
This week, the Secretary of Universities, José Manuel Pingarrón, replacing the Minister Manuel Castells, announced the adjustments that universities will undergo in order to start lessons in Spain and how the University will be for Erasmus students in Spain next year.
Mandatory mask and other safety adjustments
The mask is one of the most trendy items since the beginning of the pandemic. It has always been surrounded by controversy. In a few months we have suffered a serious shortage to finding an infinite number of them. Even reusable cloth masks have become an accessory to our way of dressing. Of course, this is the most obvious measure taken, students and teachers must wear the mask at all times.
In addition to this measure, these are the other safety adjustments that explain what the University will be like for Erasmus students in Spain:
In classes, social distance of 1.5 metres will be mandatory. This rule is totally limiting for many classes, especially in the first years, when all students of the same grade are studying the same subjects. The number of students enrolled is much higher than the capacity of the classrooms. In these cases, measures must be taken to provide online education that guarantees the health of all students.
In more advanced subjects, especially the optional ones, this problem could be greatly reduced, since the number of enrolments is greatly reduced as courses progress. This could be of great benefit to Erasmus students who had to get at least 60 credits and they are usually in their third or forth year of studies. Therefore, they have the possibility to enrol in subjects where the number of students is low, so social distance can be kept.
Fresh air and ventilation
Classroom ventilation and air renewal has been put on the table as one of the important points. Studies on virus transmission show increasingly mature results, but some discrepancies in transmission are still found. However, we know that transmission is less effective in outdoor environments, where air renewal is constant, so the recommendation has been made to ventilate for at least 10 or 15 minutes between each class as well as at the beginning and end of the day.
When students develop symptoms of disease, they will have to remain isolated in their home until they know the result of the test. In the case of a positive result, they must remain in isolation until 3 days after the end of the clinical picture and a minimum of 10 days from the start of the development of symptoms. The student who is in quarantine has "the right to receive the corresponding teaching in a non-presential way, always taking into account the idiosyncrasies and specificities of each subject".
Campus tracing and covid responsible
When a positive result is confirmed at the University, their contacts must be studied, those who have been less than 2 metres away without mask, for at least 15 minutes, since 48 hours before the onset of symptoms. These contacts will have to undergo a PCR test and be quarantined for 14 days regardless of the result. Universities must designate a covid responsible to manage the application of the Health recommendations and update the safety protocols.
No double shifts
It is going to be very different the situation of Erasmus students in Spain for 2021 than previous years. One of the most debated proposals at the beginning of the summer was the possibility of doubling shifts. This possibility would allow to fragment class attendance into smaller groups. Finally, it was considered unfeasible, stating that "it would imply an unbearable overload for teachers".
These are the measures that explain how the University in Spain will be for Erasmus students next year. Measures that are under constant health supervision and could be updated according to the progress of infections. From Erasmus Play we recommend to strictly follow all the recommendations to stop this pandemic and thus be able to enjoy your Erasmus in a safety way.