UiO – together united
This has been an extremely demanding week. Day by day, it became clearer that we had to increase our efforts to protect ourselves against the coronavirus (COVID-19). The seriousness of the situation was emphasised when the Government on Thursday introduced the most stringent measures ever in peacetime. Now, as a university and as individuals, we must do everything we can to contribute to the national and global «dugnad» that we all are part of right now.
UiO has gradually introduced various measures and prepared the organisation for what might come. We started several weeks ago with an enhanced hygiene regime. Early this week we cancelled events and lectures to prevent infection. We have also been preparing ourselves to offer a greater extent of digital education.
Nevertheless, the situation we are facing will lead to issues and questions that cannot all be answered immediately. When the government closed the entire sector on Thursday, it was unclear for some time what the closure would entail. A few hours later, we had clarification that it was primarily about closing the buildings. Employees and students should not stay on campus, with exceptions being made for short and supervised stays to retrieve any belongings left behind. We will of course secure the buildings.
Many have worked extra hard the last few days. We would like to extend a warm thank you to everyone for your formidable efforts so far.
It is not over yet. We are entering a very demanding time. On the same day that we asked all students and staff to work from home, the country's schools and kindergartens also closed.
Many people use the word emergency about what we are experiencing now. For sure, this is a major test of us as a university and as employees and students. Most likely, many things will not be quite as expected or as planned for the next few weeks and months. We do not yet have answers to all questions nor solutions to all problems that may arise, and for that, we ask for understanding and acceptance.
UiO must contribute to ensuring life and health, and to enabling the health care system to accommodate the growing number of people sick with the coronavirus. That is why we now enter into an agreement with our very central partner, Oslo University Hospital, to make available personnel. Volunteers are already signing up. Thank you! We are also providing equipment for infection control where possible. Those most vulnerable to the coronavirus must be prioritised. The word solidarity has undergone a renaissance. As has the word “dugnad”. This is such a great feeling in the midst of a very serious situation.
The next main priority is our students. We must make their current challenges as small as we can. This means that as far as possible they must receive their education and in general be taken care of. We are in the midst of securing and gathering more comprehensive information, and hope you understand that the work will take some time. UiO is a large and complex institution. We promise that much will be in place by Friday, March 20.
We have to offer digital education wherever possible. Some educators are already well underway, while others need more time. What we can promise is a big boost in this area. To some extent, there will be an initial period of try and fail – but again, we urge all students to bear with us. Going digital on such a large scale and in such a short time is a major challenge, but one that we will overcome as soon as we can.
Although UiO's buildings are now closed to most of us, we must also look after campus animals, plants and infrastructure that need care and protection during this difficult time.
Again, we ask for patience and understanding. Also that any impatience is directed at the university's management, not at hard-working teachers or colleagues. We are now developing many measures involving other sectors and they, like us, need time to work out guidelines and regulations for this unique and precarious situation.
Please refer to uio.no, where you will find regular updates, answers to questions and clarifications as soon as we have them.
We are happy and proud to lead a university that works so well and with such dedication. Many are putting in extra hours both early and late in order to help. At the same time, it is important to remember that some of us may be in situations where there are other people and other perspectives that require more attention than work in the time to come. We must all show consideration and understanding for that.
We are living in a challenging time, and much indicates that we cannot fully predict the future.
What we can promise is that we´ll all do everything in our power to get society, UiO and each other through this crisis.
Take care of yourself and others! And a big thank you for your efforts and dedication.
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Vårt ønske er at UiO styrker sin evne til samspill internt og eksternt. Målet er å utnytte den enestående posisjonen vi har som hovedstadsuniversitet i en av de mest kunnskapsintensive regionene i Europa.
I Rektorbloggen skriver vi om saker av stor betydning for UiO.