Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Due to the epidemiological situation, the Rector of University of Life Sciences in Lublin (ULS) introduced measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus among the community of ULS. The Rector defined the general principles of the functioning of universities, libraries, dormitories, culture and sports center and the applicable rules of biosecurity 1, 2 .
From October 1, it was possible to conduct practical classes in compliance with the principles of biosecurity.
Unfortunately, due to the worsening epidemic situation in the country and at ULS related to COVID-19, in accordance with the decision of the Rector of ULS from October 15, all didactic activities at the ULS at full-time and part-time studies, postgraduate studies, training courses, and doctoral studies were conducted using distance learning methods and techniques from 17 October3. Moreover, on October 17, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MSHE) issued a regulation on the suspension of teaching at universities in Poland4. According to this regulation in red zones the classes could be carried out with the use of distance learning methods and techniques, regardless of whether it was provided in the curriculum of education. According to MSHE regulation only the last year classes that cannot be carried out with the use of distance learning methods and techniques could be held in the university buildings. Pursuant to the regulation, the Rector decided on how to conduct education. In connection with the above, the Rector of ULS extended the on-line teaching at the ULS until further notice5. At the request of the Faculty authorities, the Rector consented to the implementation of clinical rotations by 6th-year students. Clinical rotations were conducted from November 9 to the end of the winter semester in accordance with the principles of biosecurity.
On December 4, on the website of MSHE, the updated recommendations were published: „Environmental guidelines for the activities of universities in the academic year 2020/2021 in connection with the state of the epidemic in Poland”. According to these recommendation from December 14, 2020 until the end of the winter semester 2020/2021 implementation of selected practical classes in the traditional mode in the university buildings, i.e. exercises related to access to laboratory infrastructure, clinical internships and research related to the preparation of diploma theses were possible. On the basis of these guidelines, the Rector of ULS issued an ordinance on conducting classes from December 14 until the end of the semester6.
In accordance with the MHSE guidelines on partial restoration of the university’s activities and the ordinance of Rector, the Dean of FVM, after consulting the persons responsible for the modules, asked the Rector for consent to carry out some of the teaching hours in the university’s facilities. In the opinion of the faculty authorities and persons responsible for the modules, conducting laboratory and clinical classes was necessary for students to obtain practical skills within some subjects. The persons responsible for particular modules proposed the implementation of teaching hours within 2 modules at 1st year (animal anatomy, chemistry), 4 at 2nd year (animal anatomy, animal physiology, biochemistry, animal nutrition), 4 at 3th year (clinical and laboratory diagnostic, pathophysiology, microbiology, pharmacy), 7 at 4th year (pathomorphology, diagnostic imaging, toxicology, internal and infectious disease of horses, milk hygiene, hygiene of slaughter animals and meat), and 7 and 5th year (internal diseases of dog and cats, surgery of dog and cats, reproduction and surgery of farm animals, birds diseases, food hygiene of animal origin, andrology, veterinary prevention) . The dean of the FVM posted the implementation timetable selected didactic classes in the traditional form on the faculty website. Practical classes, were conducted in the period from December 14 to January 29. Students of individual years had several days of classes. At the same time, classes at the Faculty’s facilities were carried out by students from 2 courses, e.g. 1st and 5th year. 1st year students had classes in the Collegium Veterinarium building while 5th year students in the clinic buildings. Such organization of classes was aimed at minimizing the contact between students of different courses and limiting the number of students in individual buildings. Practical classes were conducted in groups of 14-17 persons, while clinical rotation in groups of 2-3 persons.
The Faculty authorities have developed the rules for the organization of classes:
The above instructions were posted on the website of Faculty.
Moreover, the authorities of the Establishment were obliged to indicate a room in each building where classes will be held, to which the person who will develop disturbing symptoms will be directed. These rooms were properly marked and equipped with disinfectants and personal protective equipment.
While organizing classes, the appropriate number of participants was taken into account, allowing for a distance of 1,5 m in the rooms, airing the rooms at least every hour during classes, providing students with disinfecting fluids and disposable gloves, disinfecting all touch surfaces in the classrooms between classes and in common parts of buildings (door handles, handrails, etc.), preventing accumulation by prohibiting sitting on shared benches in educational buildings. All employees (including support staff) and participating students were required to measure the temperature before the class and cover their mouth and nose.
Pursuant to the Rector’s ordinance, it was possible to conduct credits/examinations remotely – in the form of videoconferences or via the remote learning platform. The academic teacher responsible for the subject made the decision on the choice of form, organization and verification date, and the method of student identification. At the request of the persons responsible for the subjects, the Dean established a list of credits and exams that are not subject to remote verification. The decision was made after the person responsible for the subject presented the schedule of the exam and the principles of biosecurity.
For the duration of the classes, the dormitories were properly prepared to admit students (with social distancing and biosecurity principles).
The Rector issued relevant decisions regulating the payment for accommodation in student dormitories due to the epidemiological situation related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus 7, 8.
In the summer semester 2021/21, the rules for didactic activity will be the same as in the winter semester9. After consultations with persons responsible for modules FVM authorities will prepare a timetable of teaching activities conducted on site and remotely for individual courses.