New study year brings uncertainty to universities

How is it planned to organize studies at higher education institutions? Riga Stradiņš University (RSU) and Daugavpils University spoke to Latvian Television August 8 about the new study order. 

Issue of books and student cards following a previous sign-up. Lectures only for first-year students social sciences. The rest is remote until October 5. In such circumstances, the new study year will begin at RSU on August 31 .

“Not everything will take place on-site. It will be partially remote. We're trying to put everything together right now so there is no crowding, so that the breaks between lectures don't overlap for several groups of students,” said Agnese Lielā, spokeswoman for the RSU Department of Studies.

There will be marked seats for students, following a two-meter distance. Workshops will be organised on-site so that there are only half of the usual number of students – only 6 people. However, all this starts from October, although new recommendations for universities developed by specialists from the Ministry of Health and Education provide that studies should be carried out on-site from August.

For Riga Technical University (RTU) this means changing the approach immediately. Because studies are still ongoing in this university and will continue until August 14, and the new year will start exactly one month later on September 14. There will also be foreign students.

"The university will certainly support self-isolation if needed. If the student has decided to spend two weeks isolating himself in dormitories, then we will be able to provide it. We have a sufficient number of dorms in various places in Riga," said Ilze Birzniece, director of the RTU Studies Department.

“We draw different scenarios, because the situation at this moment is not encouraging that everything will be as good as it is now,” said Birzniece

At Daugavpils University, studies will also start in person, but with an exception.

“For those commuting constantly, the training will take place remotely. As for Erasmus exchange students, we are considering the countries from which students can enter Latvia and do not need to be quarantined for two weeks, then they can take this opportunity and come here,” – said Deputy Rector of Daugavpils University for Development Janis Kudiņš.

University of Latvia (LU) is still deciding how to teach students in COVID-19 conditions. And although the ministries recommend that universities start work on site, universities are also preparing a plan “B” if the rate of infection in the country grows again.

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