Message to the Students - May 2020

May 6, 2020


Dear students,

University activities are gradually returning to normal. The risk of contracting the coronavirus has been significantly reduced, but not yet been completely eliminated.  Accordingly, economic activity has not yet returned to normal scope. Under these circumstances, we must avoid taking hasty steps. We have chosen not to make a final determination at this time that the Spring Semester will be completed using remote teaching, because remote teaching is not a perfect substitute for classroom teaching, as is also evident from the opinions expressed by a large proportion of HUJI students in surveys conducted. We are aware that this state of uncertainty impedes the ability to plan for the near future. We have set out a series of arrangements designed to help deal with the situation:

1. Beginning Sunday, May 10, 2020, we will return to campus for certain teaching activities, including: laboratory classes, clinical teaching, hands-on training, and study tours.Announcements on this subject have been sent to students enrolled in the above mentioned activities. Students who are unable to come to campus will be exempt from the need to do so. Such an exemption will be issued based upon a personal reasoned request that the student submits to the course instructor. Special arrangements will be made to enable students who are unable to come to campus at this time, to make up classes. Additionally, learning spaces on campus (for independent learning individually and in small groups), including libraries, computer labs and other learning spaces, will also reopen on Sunday May 10, 2020, for all students, including those students who are studying remotely. In all cases, restrictions have been set in order to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection. Among other things, any person suffering from coronavirus symptoms is prohibited from entering the campus. Entry to campus is conditional upon reporting that the user is free of symptoms (please use WhatsApp at 050-3015903; at the entrance to campus, send the message 111, that will direct to the report form; at exit send 222). We have also set restrictions, all of which are detailed in signs posted at the entrance to each complex. These measures are intended to ensure the successful completion of the current semester, while addressing the requests that we have received from a large number of students to reinstate as many components of campus instruction as possible.

2. In courses in which distance learning is possible, learning continues in this format, at least for now. If a decision is made to return to in on-campus classes (as already stated, we have not yet made such a decision), this will be accompanied by the continued transmission of classes also through Zoom, so that students who are unable to come to campus can continue to participate in distance lessons. Students will not be required to physically be present in the classroom In courses in which there will be regular exams, those exams will be conducted on campus

3. We have instructed the academic units to consider ways to address special difficulties arising from distance learning, examining the possibility of reducing the scope of assignments, carrying out make-up lessons in laboratories and further arrangements. These arrangements will be determined in accordance with the relevant circumstances in each department, in consultation with Student Union representatives

We strive to strike a balance between our commitment to ensure the best instruction for all of our students, with an emphasis on ensuring equal opportunities, and our obligation to ensure that no harm is caused to students who, due to their situation or to their family members’ situation, are unable to come to study on campus at this time. I am grateful for the feedback that we have received from many of you. It helps us greatly in correcting mistakes and omissions. Please continue to critically examine our course of action.

Best regards,

Barak Medina, Rector