The beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year has been driven by the current situation of the worldwide health crisis. Therefore measures are being taken to handle the return to face-to-face teaching, in a different way by university institutions and countries.
Some universities have chosen to continue with distance learning, maintaining a minimum number of lecture hours. At the same time, they prepare their classrooms to guarantee security and distance, emphasizing the importance of the face-to-face educational mode. Others would have already adapted their model to concentrate the totality of their teaching in a non-presential way.
From a fully online model to a hybrid one of e-learning and face-to-face teaching, we will show now how the new academic year is taking place at the different universities around the world.
The new academic year at Spanish universities has been proposed to alternate online teaching with face-to-face classes, highlighting the mandatory use of the mask whenever the safety distance cannot be guaranteed. In addition, the figure of a COVID responsible in each university has been proposed, which must coordinate the heads of each faculty on campus. These people will be in charge of carrying out the tracking in case there is a case within the university community.
In the event of symptoms among students and teachers, they shall be quarantined until they are tested PCR and the result is negative. In the case of a student, he/she will have the right to receive the teaching in a non-presential way, adapted to the specificities of each subject.
Classroom windows should be kept open as much as possible, or each classroom should be ventilated for about 10/15 minutes between classes.
Depending on the impact of the pandemic, as well as the measures taken by each of the countries and corresponding university institutions, we can identify different models of university education that will take place during the next course:
In the case of France, a position similar to that of Spain would have been taken, since universities also bet on a mixed model. In Italy, the Ministry of the University supports the return of the students to the classrooms, combined with distance education in those cases where the classrooms are expected to be overcrowded. In the case of Germany, it is evolving as new figures about the pandemic becomes known.
About the return to universities in the UK, some universities like Cambridge would have already announced that their classes will be online throughout the year, although others will have chosen this model only during the autumn. The situation is similar in some universities in the United States, where Harvard, for instance, would have already announced that all their classes will be online starting next year.
MCH returned to face-to-face activity in June, always taking into account all the necessary hygiene and distance measures to develop teaching, ensuring the safety of students and teachers.
In July, MCH got a new classroom, fully equipped and larger than the previous one, which allows the attendance of all MCH 2020 students and ensuring, in turn, compliance with the social distancing measures, as well as other health measures required to deal with the COVID-19.
We must not forget that the epidemic situation is still ongoing, that is why, from MCH, we are taking special care on complying with all the measures decreed by the health authorities at the same time that we maintain our commitment to do everything possible to ensure that teaching is done in a face-to-face manner.
Next MCH edition, that will start in March 2021, will allow interaction between future MCH participants and also the availability of material necessary for the development of the academic year, always complying with safety and hygiene measures.
Therefore, we will continue readjusting our conditions to this extraordinary situation. Once again, we would like to thank all those who are making it possible for MCH to continue teaching in the classrooms.
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Dr. José María de Lapuerta and Andrea Deplazes
phone:+34 910 674 860
Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid
Avda. Juan Herrera 4. 28040, Madrid. Spain