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November 15, 2020 - 10:03h] Director’s Notes. Situation at November 14, 2020. COVID-19

November 15, 2020 - 10:03h] Director’s Notes. Situation at November 14, 2020. COVID-19

Dear friends,

we have just spent another intense week, with rumours, often contradictory or inaccurate information and watered down hopes for many people who are having a very hard time with COVID-19, a disease that gives no break. The first message is always supportive for all of them. Cheers!!

However, it seems that little by little the curve is flattening thanks to the huge sacrifices we are all making together and even there are news indicating that the first vaccines may be available early next year. However, we cannot relax because we also receive warnings of a potential third wave around Christmas… Uncertainty is already a constant in our lives and the only thing we can do is continue working and preparing different scenarios for the coming months.

In fact, according to the current agreement of the Interuniversity Council of Catalonia, and at least until November 30, all university teaching is virtual and only internships and assessments will be maintained as an exception, always maximizing protection measures. At the School, in order to comply with the provisions of this agreement, we have adapted by applying various measures, some of which we have recently strengthened. On the one hand, we have extended the classrooms in “cinema” mode for those students who have internships and have to go to the School in the first year subjects (the other courses already had it); we have opened Space 24 so that students can take online classes; computer equipment has been left on loan when needed; teaching classrooms have been equipped so that teachers can take classes in streaming ; a modest ICT Plan has been drawn up to provide teachers with basic equipment for remote classes; ventilation systems have been installed in those classrooms that require it and, finally, QR codes have been placed in all the classrooms in order to make them traceable to their use.

All these measures taken at the School (among others) allow us to keep it open but, personally, it saddens me to see that all our efforts and our contribution to society, with individual and collective renunciations, they are not enough to contain this pandemic more quickly. I think that all of us (Students, PAS and PDI) are doing a good job, with a great sense of responsibility at a collective level and with a magnificent predisposition to make the spaces of the School safe spaces.

In fact, since September 1, we have accumulated 44 positive cases of COVID19 at the School, 13 of which correspond to the last two weeks. The highest peak occurred in mid-October, and the data show a clearly downward trend since then. It is very relevant that none of the positive cases were transmitted in our facilities proving, once again, that, if we comply with the corresponding measures, the classrooms are safe. We thank you for your continued efforts to ensure that there is no transmission within the School and remember to report any incidents related to the pandemic to .

Another of the measures carried out at the School has been the recommendation to carry out assessments test remotely, if the Coordination of the subjects considered it feasible. And it is worth mentioning that the recommendation has been very well received because this week, which is when the bulk of the partial assessments took place, almost 75% of the exams were taken online. The best indicator to conclude that the logistics of the remote exams have gone well is that the incidences reported to the Exam Support Group have been drastically reduced (thank you for your support). We understand that last years’ experience and information available at TAAIESE helps us all to have a major knowledge about online exams.

As for face-to- face exams, these have been a quarter of the total. We are very thankful for the work of many people who have made it possible: the team that has taken care of all the logistic and got operational all the QR codes of all the classrooms on the first thing in the morning of last Monday at the School; the Concierge team that has done organization and control tasks; the faculty staff who has been involved and has been understanding with the limitations; and the Students who have shown empathy, patience and discipline in following the instructions received.

Despite the organizational challenge of facilitating logistics and simultaneously supporting two very different types of exams, in general everything has worked very well, being a positive experience for the final exams. In addition, the influx of students in the face-to-face exams has been used to carry out a CO2 measurement campaign in the areas with the highest occupancy and, in the absence of definitive conclusions, the first results are very positive. All this leads us to be able to anticipate that the cohabitation of face-to-face and non-face-to-face examinations will be the model that will be used for the final examinations, unless the Health restrictions are tightened.

And speaking of the future, I want to explain how we approach the development of two major festive events of the School that, unfortunately, have had to be postponed.

On the one hand, we have the Graduation Ceremony that you remember that for several years now it has been a mass event, which becomes a great celebration for the almost 3000 people who gather at the Terrassa Exhibition Center and who normally had place at the end of November. This time we resist transforming it into a telematic event (it will be the last option). We are very sorry that, for many, this is the last act and memory of the ESEIAAT, it cannot be done in person to enjoy, even minimally, the personal warmth. Thus, we move the Graduation Ceremony at the end of February or early March with the desire that for those dates it can be in a face-to-face format, obviously respecting all the corresponding measures. At the beginning of January, the exact situation will be assessed and a specific decision will be made.

On the other hand, we have the End Year Lunch that we usually did in July. In this traditional event, in addition to practicing a long-awaited socialization that we all now miss, we took the opportunity to pay a well-deserved tribute to colleagues who were retiring. They are people who have been adding their grain of sand daily for many years so that the School is what it is right now, and who have participated directly or indirectly in the training of thousands of engineers from dozens of previous promotions. This year these classmates have had to retire without being able to say goodbye to the classes in person and from the Management we believe that, in one way or another, we have to transfer the warmth of an emotional tribute. That is why we will place to February-March to do an event that, although it will probably not be a lunch, should serve as public recognition.

In any case, from this humble writing, I would like to send a first message of gratitude and congratulations to everyone, because with them and from them goes part of the School’s history. They take away many, many memories, but I am convinced that they are not nearly as many as the memories they leave us here with us. If you have the opportunity, congratulate them and wish them good luck in this new stage, they have won well:












And if I take this message to share the jubilee of our retired colleagues, I can’t help but send a huge hug to the family of Dr. Lorenzo Alvarez, who passed away soon two weeks ago. Professor and father of professors, professor at the UPC and Director of the School from 1983 to 1986, we will keep his memory, rest in peace.

The current situation catches us (globally) tired and not yet recovered from the personal and emotional aftermath of the first wave. There is a certain collective discouragement in society in general. We are certainly carrying on our backs a few months of this historic year 2020 which have been very, very intense. But we are very clear that in the ESEIAAT community we must move forward, taking care of ourselves, defending ourselves, helping each other, persisting, working together intensely and flagging the sense of responsibility that characterizes us. Our work is very important as we are responsible for the future of future generations who must learn that adaptation and overcoming are two core values of engineering. We must not lose hope and at one time or another we will see on the horizon a dot that will be a prelude to the light at the end of the tunnel.


A huge hug to everyone and take great care!!


Xavier Roca

Director of the ESEIAAT

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