The upcoming academic year will start on October 18, 2020. It is already clear that the year will take place in the shadow of the Coronavirus.
The University has invested a lot of resources to prepare and make the campuses and classrooms suitable for hybrid teaching and allow campus life to exist, as much as is possible, under the existing restrictions. Our primary concern is to protect the health of everyone coming to the University and we require your help and cooperation in order for the academic year to take place under the guidelines we have created.
The 2020-2021 academic year will take place according to the following guidelines:
Studies for bachelor’s and master’s degrees will be held as follows (the number of students who can enter a classroom for a frontal lecture will be in accordance with Ministry of Health and “Purple Label” guidelines and will require maintaining social distancing and wearing masks):
· Frontal Lectures – small courses which will take place in classrooms on the University campuses.
· Hybrid Teaching – many courses will take place in hybrid classes, where the lecturer will teach the class in a classroom/hall with the permitted number of students in attendance. The remaining students will join the class via Zoom.
· Students who wish to be physically present in the classroom will be asked to register in advance via a dedicated app. Instructions regarding the app and its use will be sent out closer to the beginning of the academic year.
· Online Teaching - classes that cannot be taught in a hybrid format will be taught online via Zoom. Since online teaching is inherently different from face-to-face teaching, the University has been offering training and forums on the subject of teaching, learning and online learning for teaching faculty, in order to improve the online learning experience.
· Labs, workshops and practicums will be conducted face-to-face while adhering to social distancing and safety guidelines.
· Recording of Lectures – we intend to record all course lectures and to upload them to the course website. However, in courses that are not recorded, the lecturer must provide a solution for those students who cannot attend the lecture / take part in the course because of legitimate reasons. In any case, the use of recordings is for personal study only and must not be passed on to any other party under any circumstances.
· The Course Syllabus will contain a list of course requirements and an explanation as to how the final grade will be given. In the event that there is a final examination, it will take place online or physically on campus in accordance with the health guidelines in place before and during the examination period.
Information regarding the mode in which each course will take place appears in the course files and course registration system.
Solutions for students in high-risk groups
As we have done thus far, students in high-risk groups who are apprehensive about coming to campus will be provided individually with solutions that will allow them to continue their studies as optimally as possible. We ask that students in high-risk groups contact the Office of the Dean of Students for further details in order to create the best possible plan for them.
Students who require study accessibility should contact the Office of the Dean of Students.
Important: Following the Succot vacation, and in accordance with Ministry of Health guidelines approved by the Government, we will let you know of there are changes to the above.
Please follow announcements on the BGU website and digital media.
Research - It is important to emphasize that research will continue as planned, including graduate student research.
Throughout the campuses, there are spaces for independent online learning that comply with social distancing regulations, so as to better facilitate online meetings and access to online classes, especially for students who cannot study from home.
Libraries will be open for research and study and available in accordance with “Purple Label” guidelines.
Cafeterias throughout the campuses will be open in accordance with “Purple Label” guidelines.
1. The University is committed to protecting the health of its students and faculty.
2. The University will act to prevent and reduce the spread of and infection by the virus, including via the following:
a. Only students and faculty will be permitted to enter our campuses.
b. The University will act to enforce social distancing and mask wearing rules.
3. Returning from abroad – those returning from abroad (students and faculty) will not be permitted to enter the campuses for at least 7 days from their arrival in Israel.
4. Isolation in the student dorms will not be permitted, with the exception of overseas students and those with special permission from the Office of the Dean of Students.
5. “Red Cities” and “Restricted Zones” – entry to campuses will be permitted in accordance with Ministry of Health guidelines, and instructions for educational institutions.
6. On receiving information that a confirmed Coronavirus patient has been located on the University’s perimeters (via the Ministry of Health or self-declaration via the online form), the University will carry out an epidemiological investigation and the data sent to the Ministry of Health. Anyone who has been in contact with a confirmed Coronavirus patient will receive instructions to isolate himself, to self-report to the Ministry of Health and to await their instructions.
This coming academic year will be different and challenging. We have learned lessons from the last semester and I hope that these will be reflected in the guidelines we have prepared and the huge investment we have made to improve our teaching infrastructure. Please follow instructions both on and off campus so that we can hold the academic year in the best possible way.
I wish you and your families a Shana Tova, a year of good health, a year of interesting and challenging studies, a year where we look out for others as we look out for ourselves and a year where we return to a more normal way of life.
With wishes for good health for all of us and with the hope of seeing you on campus during the upcoming school year,
Prof. Chaim Hames