“The problem that the Spanish university has had is that the preventive measures adopted so far in the context of the pandemic have been to restrict capacity. It could only be done in person if a minimum distance of 1.2 meters was maintained between students in phases 0, 1 and 2 of the pandemic or 1.5 meters in phases 3 and 4. This has meant that many students have not been able to step on the University in two years due to the difficulty in complying with these standards, with all that this entails from the point of view of deterioration of training and the quality of teaching, “said the rector of the ULPGC, Lluis Serra Majem.
In their commitment to being present from the first day of the new course, the ULPGC rector’s team urges the Government of the Canary Islands to support the resolution in which they are working and which they plan to publish on August 30, to update the prevention measures of the Covid-19. In the aforementioned document, the level of interpersonal distancing in pandemic levels 3 and 4 is reduced to 1.2 meters, and at a distance of around half a meter, in the rest of the phases.
«The great challenge is to summon a presence much greater than that dictated by the regulations of the Ministry of Universities and Health, which ultimately do not have many competencies over the ULPGC, and we are committed to the return to educational normality in our University, always with a series of strict measures such as the mandatory use of masks indoors, ventilation in classrooms, giving priority to large, outdoor spaces … “, said the rector yesterday, after the meeting of the Scientific Committee on Health Emergency against Covid-19 in the Canary Islands.
The masks will be mandatory and provide a proper tracking system to stop possible outbreaks
The possibility of providing the university community with FFP2 masks is even being considered when pandemic levels make it advisable, according to Serra Majem. “For low levels of incidence the hygienic mask would be enough, but in the higher phases, we would use the FFP2 and the University is studying facilitating them in the case of being in phase 3 or 4 of a pandemic at the beginning of the course.”
The rector of the ULPGC and a member of the aforementioned scientific committee, pointed out the need to end the reluctance to return to normality that exists in some academic sectors. «With this resolution that we are just finalizing, it is intended to contribute to facilitating the maximum possible face-to-face activity. Also assuming that if necessary, at high alert levels due to not being able to meet these distances, hybrid training could be used, but for us it is the last resort ».
Serra assures that “educational presence is the solution to control the pandemic”
The document includes measures such as the obligation for people who have not been vaccinated to notify them in order to assign them to a differentiated space. They will also establish student location systems to facilitate traceability in the event of possible outbreaks and make the corresponding traces. In this sense, the rector announced that, in collaboration with the Canary Islands Health Service (SCS), they will create their own tracker systems within the University to act in case of detecting positive for coronavirus.
«The experience accumulated during the previous year in non-university education makes us convinced that where our students are best is in educational centers. When the classes ended, and with them the exhaustive controls in the field of education, it is when the contagions have been triggered, not during the school year, therefore the educational presence is the solution to control the pandemic and not the other way around ».
Lluis Serra ended with an appeal to the Ministries of Universities and Health and the CRUE to promote the return to presence in the Spanish university system next year. “We must change this very conservative view of the situation of the pandemic to the heights in which we are, and even more so when our forecasts are that more than 95% of the university community will be vaccinated on September 9. Being vigilant, and reinforcing protection, we cannot remain impassive in the face of a deterioration of the training that will take its toll on us in the long run ».