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January 11, 2021 - 16:54h Director’s Notes. Situation on January 11, 2021. Final Exams –COVID-19

Dear friends,

I hope all of you and your families have enjoyed, albeit a little, the last few vacations. Unfortunately, the health situation has forced us all to celebrate a very different Christmas and, very especially, those colleagues who have suffered, or are still suffering, the direct consequences of the disease. The first message of the first communication of the year should be for all of you, sending you a very strong virtual hug in order to convey the encouragement and support of the whole community. A lot of strength!

Last week we received a message from the Rector indicating that the UPC maintains the planned measures that affect the end-of-term exams, following the instructions for correct mobility.

In fact, the measures and restrictions for the prevention and control of COVID-19 announced on January 4, effective from January 7 for at least 10 days, establish the extension of the measures in force since October 13, in relation to university teaching. There have been no changes in relation to university assessments and exams can be scheduled in person or online.

It should be noted that both options are valid and are allowed by the Procicat, being the power of the teacher coordinating the subjects to decide the format of the assessments. This is the option that was explained and debated in the Standing Committee on December 22, 2020 and that the School adopted. Obviously the particular decision of the coordination’s’ of subjects will vary depending on the typology of the contents of the subjects, the typology of examination and the experience of the evaluation in remote of the previous term. But in any case, the 2 options are valid, maintaining the relevant measures.

And in this sense, remember that throughout the semester we have already undertaken multiples actions in order to minimize the risks of contagion following the recommendations that have been made from the health authorities and from the Rector's Office. Thus, the classes of theory and face-to-face problems have been suppressed to avoid continuous mass displacements, those practices that were considered highly formative or that could hardly be made online have been done in person, and only those partial exams have been on the face-to-face format, which for one reason or another, has been considered essential

All this has finally involved a 0% attendance to classes in large groups, around the reduction of up to 60% attendance in internships, a reduction of up to 25% attendance for the midterm exams of November 2020 and a forecast of only 20-25% of face- to- face exams in the January 2021 assessment period.

This last data means that only about 250 students on average per day will have to come physically to the set of buildings of the School, that is to say, approximately 6-7% of the total number of students and will be distributed in 4 time slots of 'exams per day.

I want to emphasize again that all the actions carried out previously have drastically reduced the total number of student trips throughout the semester, focusing and prioritizing these minimum trips to laboratories and evaluations that require it. And this has had a good result because, with data in hand, right now the School classrooms have proven to be safe. Even when partial face-to-face examinations were conducted during the highest peak of the second wave, in no case has there been a contagion within our facilities.

And we want this statement to continue to be valid with the collaboration of everyone. So far, the combination of hand cleaning, mask, proper ventilation, and especially collective responsibility has worked efficiently. Let’s continue like this, please.

In this line I want to make a few reminders:

  • Hydroalcoholic gel is available at all accesses to the buildings as well as to the classrooms.

  • There are QR codes on all the tables enabled to be occupied during the exams. We ask that you respect the disposition and occupation, as well as that you mark the QR when entering and leaving each exam (very important).

  • A study of the ventilation (fieldwork) for each classroom has been done in order to optimize it with the minimum possible cold. However, given the current weather situation and considering that during the exams doors and part of the windows will be opened to ensure the renewal of the air, we recommend that you wear appropriate clothing for the temperature of this time of year.

  • For remote exams, remember that the PDI has the Support Group active for non-face-to-face exams. This group can help you resolve previous PDI questions about remote assessments and help resolve any real-time setbacks during the exam if necessary. (email and telephone 937398712).

  • The subjects with scheduled face-to-face exam must have alternatives planned (plan B online) in case the situation changes suddenly and thus be able to react with minimal repercussion.

  • There is a Protocol to follow for face-to-face exams. Please read the document carefully.

For the good of everyone's health, this protocol must be scrupulously respected and, in particular, it is very important to avoid congestion in the corridors. That is why we ask that, whenever possible and with the corresponding communication via ATENEA, students are expected outside the buildings and that teachers go out to look for the different groups’ minutes before the start of the exam. This will ensure more orderly and secure access. Once the exam is over, we ask that everyone leave the buildings as quickly and responsibly as possible.

In particular for students, but also for PDI and PAS, and from a practical point of view, it must be borne in mind that the new measures restrict the entry and exit of each municipality throughout the days of the week, with certain exceptions such as moving to take a college exam.

To avoid any problems, it will be necessary to adequately justify the trips demonstrating the need. To do so, during the exam period students must bring the following 3 documents (on paper or in digital format):

  • self-responsible certificate ( link ),

  • registration document (available at e-secretariat ),

  • exam schedule (which can be obtained here ).

As it has been said in other statements, in the event that an exam is taken in person and a student is unable to do so for a justified reason, the student must notify the faculty responsible for the subject and if the impossibility is related to COVID (positive, pending PCR, quarantine ...) it will also be necessary to communicate it to documenting it in the best possible way, to monitor it and activate the alternative measures. The teaching staff responsible for the subject must decide, in each case, how to adapt the assessment of the affected students, in the same way as they would in the event of any serious illness.

In conclusion, we know that we are still in a time of maximum uncertainty, dizzy on a roller coaster of rising and falling curves, a raging sea with second and third waves, vaccination campaigns at the beginning, closures and openings of various establishments, growing economic crisis, etc.

We are aware of the accumulated fatigue of this course and the past and obviously we remain very concerned about the health situation. But we ask you to make one last effort to close the autumn semester and be able to face the next one with a little more peace of mind, if the weather and vaccination allows it.

The only thing I can assure you is that we will continue to work hard for the good of our community. I sincerely wish that we all have a better 2021 and that the effort we are all making together will bear fruit. We will do our best to make our desire to train our students come true so that they become the engineering professionals they deserve to be.

A huge hug to everyone and take good care!!

Xavier Roca

Director of the ESEIAAT


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