Rector's letter to students
The holidays are slowly coming to an end. In less than a month we will start a new academic year. I hope that we will be able to return to traditional teaching and that the epidemiological situation will not thwart our plans. In a letter addressed to rectors of Polish universities, the Minister of Education and Science announced a return to classroom teaching as the basic form of education. As of August 15, 2021, the temporary restriction on the operation of universities in connection with the prevention, counteraction and eradication of COVID-19 was lifted. The repeal of the current legislation means that the validity of student and doctoral cards will be extended until October 14, and the provisions of the Act of July 20, 2018 will continue to apply in the process of education and the conduct of examinations.
Pursuant to Article 67(4) of the aforementioned Act, part of the learning outcomes covered by the programme of studies may be obtained through classes conducted using distance learning methods and techniques. In the opinion of the Ministry, as well as the Chief Sanitary Inspector, the limits set out in the Regulation of the Council of Ministers of 6 May 2021 will not apply to the teaching activities of universities. (Journal of Laws, item 861). Detailed arrangements will be announced to you in the short term in the form of a Regulation of the Rector.
Whether we can return to traditional teaching depends to a large extent on us. The daily increase in infections foreshadows the arrival of the fourth wave of coronavirus. Forecasts referred to by epidemiologists predict that the incidence curve will rise rapidly in September. The Prime Minister's Medical Council believes that the pandemic will peak in October-November, with 20 000 new cases per day. The increased incidence of the infection will not only be due to the seasonality of the coronavirus, but will also be influenced by the return of children to school.
I appeal to you to use the national, widely available vaccination programme against COVID-19 out of concern for yourselves and your loved ones as well as your fellow students at the University. I extend the same appeal to university teachers and administrative staff. For the time being, we do not make the right to be present within the walls of the University - for classes, clinical training and internships - conditional on being vaccinated. I share the view of the Ombudsman that the solutions adopted by some universities, which are an expression of concern for the life and health of the academic community and the provision of safe conditions for studying and accommodation in halls of residence must not impede the constitutionality of protected rights - the right to education. However, I do not rule out the possibility that in the near future a legislative initiative will be taken to provide a legal basis for preventive measures during the pandemic. It is the duty of the rector and the university authorities to ensure safe study conditions and to care for the life and health of the academic community - students, academic teachers and administrative staff.
I would like to appeal to those of you who have not yet been vaccinated to do so without delay. Let us give ourselves a chance to meet again in the academic year.
Rector of the University of Opole