Measures adopted by the University - last updates
Dear students, dear colleagues,
These have been very complex months, of strong worries and as much determination.
My thoughts go above all to those who have gone through the COVID-19 disease and to those who, unfortunately, have lost loved ones.
Like the entire Italian University, we have shown a great sense of responsibility by focusing on the safety of our colleagues and students above all, temporarily quitting face-to-face teaching and sociability among people with different backgrounds and competences who are and always will be, once overcome this emergency, the foundation of our community.
In a clear state of emergency, we did simply unthinkable things first to teach our students remotely. In many areas we have been a reference for our entire Country, in the management of safety within the just started Phase 2, in the research for the development and certification of anti-contagion or curative devices, in the same remote teaching, entirely based on our hardware and software. We continue to carry out these missions of ours as best we can, trying to continuously improve ourselves and to be that university of social impact that our strategic plan identifies as its primary objective. You can monitor the amount and worldwide distribution of students served and the perceived quality of the service offered here:
Let me thank all my colleagues for the efforts made so far as well as our students, sincerely grateful for their self-sacrifice and aware of the difficulties that this remote teaching entails for lessons, exercises and exams. I want to reassure all of them about my willingness to constantly put myself on their side in ensuring that not only the best possible service, but also our full understanding in case something goes wrong, so that second opportunities and less stringent constraints will be granted.
Every week a joint commission among students’ and the government/central administration representatives will analyse the progress of our teaching and learning processes and will lead me and the government bodies to prepare punctual and urgent remedial actions in the event of problems.
It is now time to look to the future, and to the next academic year, to stop working simply "in emergency" but plan to act with the professionalism and attention to quality that distinguish us.
Any evidence (our country has not reached the so-called condition of herd immunity, yet; absence of a vaccine or effective cures the worst complications of COVID 19, etc.) leads in the direction that after the summer (Phase 3) we must maintain the same measures of inter-personal distancing and use of anti-contagion devices in force today.
These simple conditions, implies the need to reduce classroom attendance to only 25% of current capacities. A simple principle of fairness led us to decide, already a few weeks ago, that in the entire Academic Year 2020-2021, everyone would still be guaranteed to be able to take advantage of remote teaching, as now and even better.
We are a university that attracts students from all over Italy, from all over the world. These students in particular must be able to plan their life in time (their residence, their sports activities, the other elements of their relationship life), and this typically occurs on the basis of an entire academic year, not a single semester.
On the other hand, the Minister of University and Research, Prof. Gaetano Manfredi, in a note of May 4, 2020, issued indications that in Phase 3 some activities may be opportunely started in the presence, without prejudice to the protection of the health of students and staff involved.
Just to better define which activities could be resumed in attendance, for how many students and within what logistical-financial limits a detailed discussion was undertaken in the governing bodies and in the college of coordinators of the Collegi di Corsi di Studio that led last Friday , also considering the results of a webinar conference and a discussion forum, very much attended the first less the second, to make some important decisions in time for the OPEN DAYS for students’ orientation that start today, Monday 25 May.
In particular, the following was decided.
-) according to a project that each course of study and the coordination of the courses of the first year of engineering will decline in detail, taking care that the safety of students and teachers is guaranteed as well as an excellent remote reverberation of the teaching contents also to those who will follow remotely in compliance with a cardinal principle of equity and equal opportunity, the following activity components could be provided in presence:
1 Classroom exercises in which dialogue and discussion among students or students and teacher is rewarding
2 Design classes or ateliers in which groups of students face problem solving or the conception of new products / processes
3 Didactic laboratory esperiences
4 Challenges classrooms and student teams
5 Curricular internships in companies
6 Experimental theses
-) the design of these activities will be able to take advantage of the results of an orientation survey, which will be immediately started, on the will of the students and potential freshmen to follow them in attendance.
-) With the exception of exams, traineeships and experimental theses that will see separate accounting, the daily number of admitted students will be around 2500 and for this reason investments will immediately be made in the preparation of a number of 60 large classrooms to be able to provide both remote and in-presence teaching simultaneously (blended teaching), with an excellent net-connection capable of ensuring interactivity even for those who follow remotely.
-) a possible increase in this provision of classrooms and seats may also be arranged in consideration of the results of the aforementioned survey. For all these structural classroom investments 850 k€ have been allocated.
-) in the event of a possible excess of bookings with respect to the seats available for one of the activities in attendance, shifts will be implemented in order to guarantee everyone to enjoy them, while always giving priority to disabled students or DSAs.
-) possibilities to take exams in attendance, either for profit or for degree, are being conceived, while always guaranteeing the principle of equity and equal opportunity for those who will follow remotely.
-) In any case we will not permit face-to-face:
- exercises in which the teacher simply solves exercises on the blackboard;
- teacher-student consultancies, without prejudice to those for disabled and DSA students for which appropriate spaces will be identified for in attendance talks.
-) indicatively, it is expected that each student will have access to teaching in the presence for the above 1-3 cases at least one day a week, in addition to the time possibly spent in activities 4-6.
-) to guarantee the safety of students and staff, the following conditions will be guaranteed (ca. 500 k€):
- Daily supply of 2 masks per student, to be worn by the students and changed every 4 hours
- Presence in the classroom of sanitizing gel for a number of 6 daily uses per student
- Distance of at least one meter between student and student
- Sanitizing of the classrooms and its access routes and exodus at the end of the day
- Association of every single classroom, every day, of a specific group of students, identified among classmates of thr same academic year and predetermined through booking, in order to:
limit the promiscuous use of the workstations
limit the opportunities for interpersonal contact, being able to track them precisely
effectively organize a staggering of the entrances (equipped with a thermo-scanner and supervised by outsiders) to avoid gatherings
adequate catering services for students possibly with a lunch box (possibility currently under study).
In the same way, we will invest in improving the teaching offered remotely through the following actions, aware that a high quality of this form of teaching is the first necessary condition to serve with fairness and comparable efficacy those who want and can access teaching in the presence and those who will follow exclusively remote teaching. For this we will invest in the following directions in 2020:
-) hardware (600 k€, on top of the 270 k€ already spent in the first semester):
- Equipment for servers and data centers, virtual laib, storage for the performance improvement of the hardware of the online teaching delivery system (300 k€);
- Equipment for individual IT equipment to enhance the effectiveness of smart-working and for the provision of distance learning (300 k€).
-) software and services (230 k€):
- cloud, IT assistance, licenses (110 k€)
- 6 units of programmer staff for the implementation of new functions in the BBB software, identified following a process of fact-finding investigation of the good practices and opportunities suggested by students and teachers (120 k€).
- As part of the Teaching Lab's own activities and the budget limits established for it, teachers' training courses will be identified towards the teaching offered remotely, also possibly favouring for those who want the approach to innovative teaching forms (flipped classrooms)
- The technical staff who wish to do so will be trained to carry out shooting of laboratory exercises and other experimental activities in presence for the benefit of the students who will follow remotely;
- To standardize the quality of the online lessons, the virtual classroom BBB program for the provision of the University teaching will normally be used by all the teachers, who will be invited, in the absence of a fast connection to their home, to go to the University to use one of the prepared positions;
- In the same way, information systems will be set up that offer students not only to test the methods of receiving the training content but also the individual methods of conducting the written exams.
With the aim of ensuring safety conditions, for which the University feels moral responsibility as well as having material responsibility, for the first semester 2020-2021 no physical outgoing mobility will take place for students at all levels. Therefore, outgoing mobility will only be possible in a virtual mode. Depending on the decisions of each partner university (cancelled mobility, virtual mobility offered, possibility of postponed mobility), students will be able to choose whether to perform virtual mobility or, where possible, whether to opt for the postponement of their mobility to the second semester.
Furthermore, in line with the indications provided by the Minister of University and Research, Prof. Gaetano Manfredi, in the aforementioned note of 4th May 2020, incoming mobility for students at all levels will be offered exclusively in a virtual mode.
Student mobility to and from abroad will likely be resumed in a physical mode for the second semester of 2020-2021, after assessing the existence of health conditions together with the partner universities in the first semester.
For the mobility associated with the research of PhD students and fellows, as for teaching and research staff, the authorization procedures will take into account the pandemic situation of the regions or Countries concerned and their respective regulatory regimes.
For the coverage of the related expenses, to be formally approved by the board of governors on May 27, reference will be made to the over 2000 k€ expected by the State from the Politecnico following appropriations contained specifically in the relaunch decree and previous decrees, to a co-financing defined in a manner agreed with the departments for the equipment that will remain available to them and to their teachers (e.g. graphic tables) and on the budget already set for 2020.
As for the number of persons of the teaching staff, researchers, doctoral students, research fellows and contractors allowed to enter the Politecnico for research reasons, it has been decided that these will gradually increase to approximately double during phase 2 between now and September. In ensuring this, particular attention will be paid to guaranteeing, albeit in a limited way, access to one’s offices and libraries, starting from those who see the joint attendance of these two working places as an essential element for their research.
It goes without saying that the above measures and protocols can be reviewed in the event that the pandemic should resolve more quickly than expected, or if we should return to lockdown conditions.
In thanking you all once again for your commitment and for having read me so far, I wish you all the best and I remain at your disposal for clarifications.
as per our previous communication sent on May 1 concerning the start of Phase 2 through which we shared with all of you the protocol "Measures to combat and contain the spread of COVID 19 in the post lockdown phase", I would like to remind you that, before accessing Politecnico to re-start the experimental research activities, it is necessary to check the document attached including the relevant updated instructions for accessing the e-learning platform, for visiting remotely the specific on-line section of the portale della didattica, as well as entering and reading thoroughly the contents of the so called “Informativa- Information notice” section.
This Informativa section consists of a series of short videos focused on the salient points of the shared Protocol: in order to move on to the next video you must have completed the previous one. At the end of the last video you can access the "Conclusions" section to formally close the Informativa procedure and to receive a feedback via e-mail afterwards.
All contents included in the Informativa section have been produced quickly and the shared Protocol is still to be approved: the contents will be further refined in the next few days when an English version will also be available.
The Informativa section is included in a specific platform which has been adapted to host this contents and make them easily accessible to all members of our University community: if you have any comments or if you need to inform us about technical problems, you can ask for support by writing to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rector, Guido Saracco