Leaders of the University of Szeged informed the university citizens in a video about the measures taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection. Prof. Dr. Klára Gellén, Vice-Rector for Education highlighted the most important information on distance education while Prof. Dr. Csaba Lengyel, Chair of the Coronavirus Operative Committee introduced the changes affecting the Albert Szent-Györgyi Health Center. Dr. Judit Fendler, Chancellor of the University of Szeged, informed the university citizens on measures to be taken regarding employees.
Information regarding education.
’As a result of the state of emergency declared on the 11th of March, the University of Szeged switched to a distance education and learning system on the 23th of March’ - said Prof. Dr. Klára Gellén, Vice-Rector for Education. She added that the University of Szeged was prepared for the introduction of the distance education system. ’We provide our teachers and students with all the necessary support and assistance so that our students can continue their studies more efficiently. Innovation and online education development have been of crucial importance at the University of Szeged so far, thus there are online learning materials already that can be made available to our teachers and students through the distance learning system. In addition, the teaching staff of the University of Szeged is constantly preparing online learning materials’ - said the Vice-Rector for Education.
Prof. Dr. Klára Gellén also added that online communication between students and lecturers has been ongoing from the 23rd of March, 2020, and that lecturers are given all necessary tools to hold students accountable. Not only do they use the CooSpace interface as their primary scene for communication, but they can also use all the tools that are methodologically effective in teaching the given subject.
’We would like to ask all our lecturers to strive for the use of more varied and effective methods, as it is now vital that students can complete the requirements in this virtual community. We are constantly providing the teachers of the University of Szeged with the content, distance learning materials and online methodologies that continue to serve as the basis for the effectiveness and consistency of education. It is also critical that we share good practices, which is also possible in CooSpace’ - emphasized Prof. Dr. Klára Gellén.
The Vice-Rector for Education also pointed out that it is of utmost importance that the University of Szeged provides appropriate information to its students and teachers. In order to ensure that information flows well within the vast virtual community, information scenes have been created. Students are informed centrally by the university, and there is also a chatbot available for students, where any further questions can get answered. All the faculties, departments and institutes of the University of Szeged are well prepared for distance education in a way, that they developed action-plans which are executed in a planned, scheduled manner.
In addition to CooSpace, Modulo and Neptun can also be used for communication and administration. Prof. Dr. Klára Gellén asked the students to conduct their official affairs electronically at all times, by sending their scanned documents to the relevant department and administrators.
Regarding the schedule of the semester she said: the spring break originally timed to April would start sooner, otherwise the schedule remains unchanged. In case of a change, all students will be informed in a timely manner.
Concerning the institutions of public education of the SZTE, Prof. Dr. Klára Gellén added that distance learning was started last week at the University. The SZTE also provides the conditions in this area in order to ensure a smooth education and to enable students to learn as effectively as possible. Distance learning can be implemented in all four public education institutions of the University of Szeged.
Almost all university students moved out from dormitories, but accomodation is continuously provided for 300 international students. It goes without saying that students who already moved out will not be charged with monthly dormitory fees. – She emphasized.
Research activities are uninterruptedly being conducted at the University of Szeged. Doctoral students who completed the complex examination are allowed to visit university buildings, in small groups of maximum 5 persons at a time, said Prof. Dr. Klára Gellén.
In conclusion, the Vice-Rector requested teachers and students to visit the information scenes where they would receive all the necessary information.
Changes concerning Albert Szent-Györgyi Health Centre
Prof. Dr. Csaba Lengyel, chairman of the University of Szeged Albert Szent-Györgyi Health Centre highlighted that the Health Centre is well-prepared to deal with the epidemiological situation arising from the spread of coronavirus.
‘When the threat of an epidemic appeared, we set up the Coronavirus Operative Committee back in January to address the situation in a comprehensive way, from medical, legal, administrative, technical and IT aspects at the same time. It is of crucial importance that these areas cooperate since this is the prerequisite of a smooth and effective patient care. The main goal of our operation is to provide patient-care both for infectious and non-infectious patients. We mainly focus on emergency healthcare treatment in the current regulatory system as it is important to minimize the contact between doctors and patients - said Prof. Dr. Csaba Lengyel.
A Centre for Epidemics has been established in the facilities of the so called Hospital II. of Albert Szent-Györgyi Health Care Centre in order to ensure the epidemic patient care. 100 beds to the Department for Communicable Diseases, and 15 beds to the Emergency Department are provided for patients suspected or diagnosed with upper respiratory infections. Besides, we can provide Emergency Health Care as well as CT in these facilities. In this newly established department there are 27 intensive beds supported with artificial respiration apparatus. In addition, 2 operation rooms for infectious patients have been installed. Departments operating in the facilities of Hospital II have been relocated' - said Prof. Dr. Csaba Lengyel.
The Chairman of the Health Care Centre added that a second health centre has been installed in Vasas Szent Péter street, where rheumatologic and psychologic treatments and blood sampling in prenatal care are also provided.
'It is crucial to act accordingly the epidemic regulations in all cases, and we also ask our employees to do the same. This may change dynamically. The most important things are to work properly, to pay attention to each other and to continue to do our jobs with proper communication and cooperation' - he emphasized.
Finally, Prof. Dr. Csaba Lengyel expressed his gratitude to all who has been involved in health care so far, as he said 'decisions and their realizations were made in an exemplary manner.'
Measures on Employment
Dr. Judit Fendler, chancellor of the University of Szeged, emphasized that for the University it has highest priority to maintain all employment relationships.
- We do everything within our power to ensure that every employee can keep his/her position at our institution and that all salaries are being paid. Remote work has been ordered, employees have received notification about this via our circulars. Occupational duties are to be performed on the basis of the instructions, guidance given by the direct superiors. Work is going to continue, everybody is expected to fulfill his/her duties. It is of utmost importance to maintain the functioning of our Institution, and in this process we do count on each and every employee. The IT background needed for this is going to be provided for everyone – explained the Chancellor.
Dr. Judit Fendler also stressed that recently, a strong IT background was required to create all necessary conditions for the transition to distance education and remote work. It is also very important to comply with all public procurement regulations imposed by the maintainer. This also means that the University possesses all equipment needed to handle the current situation. The University of Szeged keeps the university citizens updated on the measures taken.