PSU will start the academic year in a combined format
The Council of Rectors of the Penza Region universities discussed the coming Day of Knowledge and the way the training will be organized. The meeting took place at Penza State University on 19th August.
In the new academic year, PSU students will study both in a traditional classroom format and in a distance online format.
Thermometry points will be organized at the PSU entrance control posts, at the entrances to educational buildings and residence halls. The University has a mask mandate. PSU will provide all students and teachers with reusable masks.
“At the moment, the procurement procedure is underway,” commented Dmitriy Artamonov, First Vice-Rector. “Plastic screens have already been purchased for teaching staff; they will protect their faces during classes. Gloves for staff, antiseptics, bactericidal lamps, non-contact thermometers are also being purchased."
Additionally, it is planned to install vending machines with disposable masks in the buildings.
The First Vice-Rector of PSU emphasized the importance of the mandatory cleaning of all university premises, common areas, residence halls with the use of disinfectants. For the purpose of efficient operation of ventilation and air conditioning systems, their planned cleaning was carried out.
“It is very important in the current situation. Along with the repair and construction work, landscaping, fire and anti-terrorist security measures, this year added a crucial aspect - sanitary and epidemiological measures”, added Dmitriy Artamonov.
The university will take measures to prevent the students from gathering and to maintain the maximum possible social distance.
“As for the organization of the educational process in the first semester, now the schedule of classes is being adjusted, where lectures and practical classes that do not require the use of any equipment are grouped. Such classes will be held on separate days and will be implemented in an online format through Zoom and using the Electronic Information Educational Environment of PSU. Laboratory and practical classes will take place as usual, in classrooms. The schedule is drawn up in such a way that the full-time study of faculties will be distributed in a checkerboard manner among the days of the week to minimize the possible simultaneous accumulation of students”, said Viktor Mekhanov, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs.
“We have considerable experience in distance teaching and learning. We are developing our database of online courses. Moreover, there is an opportunity to refer to the materials of other leading universities", explained Alexandr Guliakov, Rector of PSU.
The discussed measures and forms of work are, of course, preliminary and can be adjusted in accordance with the epidemiological situation in the region.
According to the recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor (Russian Agency for Health and Consumer Rights), teachers over 65 years old and teachers with chronic diseases should not be allowed to conduct full-time training. “Measures are being taken to organize distance work for these categories of teachers: we are going to redistribute the workload, adjust the schedule, and provide equipment for distance work,” added Viktor Mekhanov.
According to the decision of the Rector, all departments will be equipped with at least two multimedia workplaces, so that, if necessary, teachers will be able to conduct online classes from their workplace at the University.
“We have significantly increased the resource capacity of the servers, and we have purchased new equipment for this purpose. Distance learning, when many users are connected at the same time, creates a heavy load on the network”, explained Alexandr Guliakov.
The Day of Knowledge
Festive events will be held for first-year students. At the same time, the mask and social distancing mandate will be met. Institutes and faculties will greet new students in a ceremonial atmosphere.
“At the same time, all first-year students will gather in different classrooms. A live broadcast from the PSU main building will be organized for them. The Rector will congratulate the students and address them with welcoming words. Albeit remotely, everyone will be able to become part of the traditional rituals of the Day of Knowledge. But we are not going to reveal all the surprises of the festive scenario”, said Dmitriy Artamonov.
After the general ceremonial part, students will communicate with directors and deans. A lesson will be held for them on how to use the Electronic Information Educational Environment.
“Students should be able to use the electronic environment from the very beginning so that their immersion into the educational process will be quick,” the First Vice-Rector emphasized.
International citizens will be admitted to the educational process after 14 days of isolation with a test for COVID-19.
“PSU has a large number of international students. During the vacation period, 347 people who did not leave for their homeland are living in apartments, 194 people - in residence halls. A significant part of international students from the countries with closed borders will begin their studies in a distance format. Most of the students, primarily from Asian countries, will start arriving in September. Special rooms have been organized for them in the residence halls, where international students will live under observation for two weeks. These are premises in residence halls, with separate entrances, designed for 65 people. In this regard, international students will arrive according to schedule", Dmitriy Artamonov informed.