Bergamo July 29th, 2020
I hope you are all well, and so are your family and friends.
As we all know, UniBg has never stopped and we are working strongly to organise all safety measures and behaviour codes necessary to start the new academic year with the greatest trust and tranquillity.
So-called “phase 3” will start on August 1st, 2020 and will carry on throughout February 2021, a phase which needs us to be flexible and reactive, as we don’t know yet how the contagion situation may develop: of course, we all hope that there won’t be a new upsurge, but for this to be true we must all behave in an informed and responsible way, especially in the first semester of academic year 2020-2021. Visit the related page.
Concerning this topic, we have prepared a document with all the necessary information.
It is published on the website and I strongly suggest you to read it carefully: Management of Phase 3.
We have decided to develop the document following 4 fundamental guidelines, which must be our key points of reference:
In any case, we must remember that anything defined in this document may undergo immediate variations in case of a (certainly not welcome) worsening of contagion risks. The flexibility I was mentioning earlier makes sense exactly in relation to possible pandemic development, which at the moment we can’t predict.
Reading your emails and listening to your worries, I am well aware of the University life aspects that you are most fond of. Hence, I can here briefly, but clearly anticipate the main topics expressed in this document, those that I’m sure you are most interested in.
As anticipated in my previous communications, didactic activities will be articulated in different ways: lessons may be held in class (for courses with less than 50 students), in remote learning (for courses with more than 50 students) or, for courses with a high number of students, it will be possible to include mixed didactic activities following a rotating schedule.
We have been obliged to determine a maximum number of 50 students because classroom capacity, considering the minimum distance of 1 metre and the necessity of avoiding gatherings as specified in national guidelines, will be drastically reduced.
In any case, our classrooms are currently being equipped – undergoing hardware and software updating work – so that all ‘in class’ activities can and must be offered also ‘in remote’, so as to ensure that even students who cannot be physically present in University – for example, foreign or in mobility students, or off site ones – will not miss any lesson.
For student-workers, or those who cannot attend for other valid reasons, it will also be possible to access a recording of the lessons.
In the first days of September, we will publish on our website detailed information on which courses will be held in class, which in remote learning or in a blended mode: criteria for this decision will be based on the number of students attending each course.
As from next September 2020, regular exams will be held in class, in full respect of distancing and of classroom capacity, and following a precise procedure.
Due to organizational complexity of these exams, I must warn you that, to take an exam, it will be mandatory to be registered: non- or late registration, or unjustified absences to an exam for which you have registered to, will not be tolerated.
In any case, for those students who have valid and documented reasons preventing them from being present in person – I’m thinking, particularly, about students with disabilities or students in international mobility who cannot come to Italy – there will be the possibility of taking exams ‘in remote’.
The experience of graduation exams held in remote mode has been sufficiently satisfying and positive, but it can’t be denied that physical absence of candidates and Commission of course modified the experience of a ceremony, so important for graduating students and their families.
Thus, we have decided that master’s degree discussions and bachelor’s degree awards will be carried out in presence, starting from academic year 2020-21 autumn session, including the ones scheduled for September, i.e. the autumn session for Engineering graduations and the extra-ordinary session reserved for bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and master’s degrees in Clinical Psychology.
Of course, to ensure that all procedures are carried out in full safety, we must adopt different measures from the traditional ones, including:
The option of remote mode graduation will be allowed for students with documented reasons preventing them from participating in person, and each individual Degree Commission will decide whether to authorize this choice or not. In particular, students with disabilities or DSA (learning disorders) may ask to take their graduation exams in video connection, sending a motived application to the Students Office. If necessary, the ordinary graduation session period can be extended; to facilitate the conclusion of their studies for all involved students.
Even in this case, our wish to accommodate your requests, reinstating ‘in class’ graduating sessions, is limited by the virus development: if there should be an increase in contagion risk, we would immediately go back to remote modality.
Instead, concerning public award of graduations which were held online in March, April and July 2020, I can confirm that we are organizing the ceremony and that we will inform you as soon as we have all the necessary answers to be able to organize procedures. Unfortunately, as the current uncertain situation imposes precise limitations and safety measures, creating great difficulties in the organization of such events, this year it will not be possible to celebrate the usual Graduation Day: I’m truly sorry about this, but I’m counting on reinstating it as soon as sanitary conditions will allow it.
I also wish to point out to future graduates that UniBg has approved the University Open Badge project, in cooperation with BESTR-CINECA. BESTR is a Digital Credentials platform to enhance the skills acquired within the Italian academic system and, thanks to different types of digital certifications, allows to officially recognise students’ skills, knowledge and abilities, in a sure and verified manner. These certificates can be directly inserted in the students’ curriculum and are certainly useful for the professional world. Through this, we are hoping to help you, concretely and effectively, to build your future.
Training activities can be carried out in person only if the following conditions are guaranteed:
These conditions must be respected for the whole training or internship duration; if they are not respected or if fundamental safety and hygiene regulations are not guaranteed, ‘in person’ training and internship activities will be suspended.
Whenever not possible to carry out ‘in person’ training, ‘remote’ mode, online training can be adopted.
If even this solution was not feasible, it will be possible to agree with the tutor on an alternative training activity – laboratory, remote learning activities, case study,... – and a written report, to ensure achievement of specific learning objectives and the relevant CFUs.
Didactic activities, which require the use of scientific campus laboratories, will be organized, as much as possible, in person fully complying with indications to reduce to a minimum the risk of contagion. In case you have to use shared equipment, please remember to wear gloves.
STUDY MOBILITY AND ABROAD TRAINING
Students’ mobility abroad, both within the Erasmus+ program or following mobility programs established and supported by the University, is authorized only if:
Study rooms are to be used for didactic activities and exams. When not in use for these purposes, they cannot anyway be used for individual study, as it would be impossible to adequately and efficiently program room sanitisation.
The topic of contributions is often present in your messages, and understandably so, as we are all going through an economically difficult moment. Last July 21, I have had a meeting with your representatives, together with the General Director and the Financial Director, to discuss together the issue.
We have tried, when possible, to accommodate your requests, because we fully understand some families’ difficulties, and are very keen that our students, notwithstanding the current crisis, can carry on (or begin) their study path in our University. In particular, thanks to the new, freshly deliberated, Students contribution Regulation, the broadening of no tax area to € 23.000 will ensure exemption to many students who have the necessary requisites; this broadening will also benefit students with an ISEEU between € 23.000 and € 30.000 (falling under the requisites of Law 232/2016), as the calculation base for omni-comprehensive contribution will be reduced.
We could not, actually, forget to pay attention to an emergency, which, in the latest months, has transformed form sanitary to economic for many families. In fact, the new Regulation includes the fact that families who have recently been through economic difficulties, can present their current ISEEU and thus be reassessed based on their current economic condition, and be allowed total or partial exemption.
Furthermore, as University of Bergamo applies a tax percentage of 5%, instead of the 7% determined by law, students and their families will benefit from a further contribution reduction.
The complete Regulation including modifications adopted in terms of taxation can be found on the website: Regolamento per la contribuzione studentesca a.a. 2020-2021 (Regulation for Students contributions). Also, on the Tasse e agevolazioni (Taxes and benefits) page, you can find further useful information.
Basically, listed below are the main points we have agreed upon today in the Academic Senate and Board of Directors meetings:
Beyond these decisions, which I hope may be useful to all of you, I wish to inform you, as anticipated to your representatives, that next September we will be publishing an announcement for the assignation of benefits to increase technological equipment and connectivity, to ensure that students can attend online lessons, without any serious technical difficulties.
Dear students, I think by now it is clear that the first semester of the next academic year will give us a further opportunity to experiment new ways of staying together and to define, based on practice and not just theory, which can be the best solutions to ensure that our academic community can carry on being what it has always been, i.e. a University with full attention to human relations, careful of students needs and, at the same time, able to advise and guide as a scientific authority, a small ‘society for shared thoughts’, able to act mainly thanks to dialogue and synergies developed within it.
In this respect, I’m also asking all students, who already know the strong relational inclination of our Institution, to welcome, if and when necessary, the new, freshly enrolled colleagues, making them feel ‘in good company’: which is also your company, as you have been with us through this particularly difficult spring, and now you know how to live in this hybrid reality, half way between ‘presence’ and ‘distance’.
The collective effort which will be required next autumn will be exactly to try and carry on with our respective activities, ensuring continuity of our characteristic excellence, but based on a different mindset, and then to carry out this excellence: I am sure that we will be able to accept this challenge, and answer it in the best possible way!
Talking about wars, Albert Einstein used to say, “a new kind of thought is essential to the survival of humanity”. Even though Covid-19 is not a war – although many have compared them – I do believe that Einstein’s lesson should be taken to heart also in this time of ours, so alienating and uncertain: we must try and transform our thought, making it able to prevent, through the correct behaviours and appropriate safety measures, illness, contagion, and pain. Only in this way, we can be certain of carrying out a salvific change for all of us. Only in this way, we will be able to say that we all took care of each other.
I embrace you all in the hope, getting stronger and closer every day, to see you all soon,
Prof. Remo Morzenti Pellegrini