COVID Action Plan September 8, 2020

Pázmány Péter Catholic University’s Action Plan for Organizing Higher Education During the Health Crisis

1. Creating an environment safe from the aspect of health

- Only healthy persons who do not exhibit any symptoms of the coronavirus may visit the University’s buildings, events, and classes. Under Section 3 of Instructions of the Rector 11/2020, “Persons who exhibit symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus or who detected such symptoms on themselves in any of the three days prior may not enter the University (coughing, difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, recurring difficulty in tasting or smelling, queasiness, vomiting, diarrhea).” Violations of this rule may result in disciplinary proceedings.

- Under the provisions of Instructions of the Rector 11/2020, all University students, teachers, employees, and all other persons who wish to enter the territory of the University or the areas of any events organized by the University or any of its organizational units at any external locations are obligated to keep the following rules:

a) all persons shall keep a distance of 1.5 m between them at all locations at the institution; all events shall be organized in a manner that ensures this provision can be ensured;

b) personal protective equipment that cover the mouth and nose (e.g. surgical mask, scarf, shawl – hereinafter: mask) must be worn in enclosed spaces occupied by more than one person; lecturers shall not be required to wear a mask if they keep a distance of at least 1.5 m from other persons at all times;

c) hand sanitizers shall be made available in easily accessible locations near entrances to building and rooms;

d) the rules for coughing and sneezing shall be followed, and hands must be washed or disinfected often;

e) lecture halls, classrooms, and other rooms shall be aerated by natural means or with the use of installed ventilator systems as often as possible.

- Automatic virucidal hand disinfectant dispensers are available at all University entrances. The security service ensures dispensers are used by all persons who wish to enter the University. During opening hours, the Operations Department shall check whether disinfectant is available every hour and shall ensure that disinfectant is always available. If the dispenser breaks down or the disinfectant runs out between the checks, the security service shall promptly inform the competent Operations Department employee.

- High-touch surfaces shall be disinfected before the building is opened and continuously during opening hours (at least every two hours) by the Operations Department. High-touch surfaces include especially door handles, elevator buttons, switches, handles, entrance and restroom door surfaces, water faucets, microphones in classes or used for lectures, remote controls, and keyboards.

- When refilling and servicing coffee and vending machines, their operators are obligated to issue a written statement certifying disinfection of the machine on behalf of the Operations Department, specifying the exact time, the type of disinfectant used, and the name of the responsible person.

- Rooms open to persons shall be continuously ventilated during opening hours.

- After performing maintenance on air conditioning units, the parties performing maintenance are obligated to issue a written statement certifying disinfection of the machine on behalf of the Operations Department, specifying the exact time, the type of disinfectant used, and the name of the responsible person.

- The University shall install posters and floor stickers at the entrances to buildings and in heavily-trafficked internal areas to call attention to the threat of infection and on prevention. The house rules of the various buildings will be posted at entrances. The Instructions of the Rector in connection with the epidemiological situation are available on the University website and are posted at building entrances.

- Should any special signs indicative of an infection or sickness be identified in the higher education institution, the following alert protocol shall be followed in case of a suspicion of infection: the person suspected of being infected or the detecting person shall inform the security service, who shall notify the Dean’s Office of the given Faculty and the Head of the Operations Department about the suspicion. The Operations Department staff shall immediately isolate the student, who shall be required to report to his/her general practitioner. (Foreign students are required to report to their designated general practitioner.) The necessary measures shall be taken on the basis of the rules of procedure provided by the National Public Health Center (hereinafter: NNK).


2. Attending classes that require personal involvement

- The occupancy limits of all classrooms have been reviewed in light of the epidemiological situation. In the interest of reducing the risk of infection, the competent Dean shall determine which classes may be visited and which shall be held online or partly online. Accordingly:

A limited number of students may enter lecture halls for the lectures of required subjects in undergraduate programs organized by the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences; the others will be able to join in online. For subjects included in the first semester of the model curriculum, first-year students will participate in practical courses by attending in person; everything else will be provided online. All other subjects (optional and elective subjects) will be held online for all years.

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciencesis requiring personal attendance at campuses in Esztergom and Piliscsaba by applying the epidemiological measures (distance of 1.5 meters between persons and masks required in buildings). In Budapest, courses involving more than 30 students will be held with distance education and courses involving less than 30 students will require personal attendance. In justified cases, teachers

may request that courses with less than 30 students be launched in the form of distance education.

The Faculty of Theology is limiting student numbers at lectures and is applying epidemiological measures (distance of 1.5 meters between persons and masks required in the building), with lectures requiring both personal attendance and also available online.

The Faculty of Information Technology and Bionics has imposed limitations in both buildings and classrooms in line with the rules of keeping distance. Practical courses and laboratory tasks will be held for students on separate days for the various years (2 days per week); on other days, teaching will be provided online. Practical courses and computer labs for masters students will be held in the hybrid education format. All lectures will be held in the synchronous or asynchronous online form.


3. Rules pertaining to enrollment and educational administrative matters

Enrollment requiring personal attendance is organized by breaking down enrolling students into the smallest groups possible. The facilities will be disinfected after enrollment.

- The University will provide the protective equipment (Plexiglas walls, masks, etc.) necessary for employees working in positions that require personal contact with people.

In the interest of the safe organization of educational administrative matters, an electronic scheduling system has been developed and launched within the Neptun system.


4. Organizing professional training and holding practical training

- Continuous contact has to be maintained with the institutions offering the practice periods.

- The effective higher education sectoral recommendations and the University’s action plan pertaining to the health crisis have to be sent to the institutions offering the practice periods. Professional training may only be organized in locations that can guarantee the proper virus protection conditions.


5. The order of tests of examinations

- As far as possible, online and electronic solutions shall be used for testing.

- In case of testing involving personal attendance, students shall be scheduled for specific times, and only the number of students may attend that ensures that a safe distance can be maintained during testing, waiting, and leaving.

- During testing involving personal attendance, the rules specified in the chapter “Creating an environment safe from the aspect of health” shall be especially applied.

- Only healthy persons who do not exhibit any symptoms of the coronavirus may attend testing involving personal attendance. Prior to starting testing, students will be questioned and their body temperature will be taken as set out in Annex 2; the examiner is responsible for documenting the process.

- No more than two students may stay in a room with the examiner(s) for the purposes of verbal testing.

- Written tests may be corrected after a 24-hour safety period (“document quarantine”).


6. Rules for dormitory operations

- With the exception of the room set aside for epidemiological isolation (quarantine), only healthy persons who do not exhibit the symptoms of the new coronavirus and who feel healthy may stay in dormitories. When moving in, all persons are required to issue a statement on being symptomless (see Annex 2), and their temperature will also be taken.

- The time and place of moving in shall be organized in a manner that ensures that the 1.5 m protective distance shall be maintained at all times.

- When allocating rooms, students in the same groups and attending the same classes will be housed together in dormitory rooms, as far as possible.

- The number of occupants per room should be determined in a manner that utilizes the available number of spots and follows the appropriate hygiene rules.

- It is recommended that only the most necessary of dormitory functions be held.

- 5% of dormitory spots should remain unused for the purposes of isolation and official quarantine. Quarantine rooms have been designated in the dormitory.

- Personal protective equipment that cover the mouth and nose (e.g. surgical mask, scarf, shawl – hereinafter: mask) must be worn in common areas (kitchens, social areas, study rooms, social rooms [upper floors]) during all times that involve social interaction (if more than one person is in a given room). Masks must be worn in hallways as well.

- As far as possible, a protective distance of 1.5 m shall be kept in the entire dormitory area. Occupants shall keep the rules of social distancing at all times in all common areas (such as kitchens, healthcare rooms, bathrooms, restrooms).

- The dormitory staff performs the special cleaning and disinfection required in the common rooms. The occupants of the rooms remain responsible for cleaning and disinfecting their own rooms. In your own interest, we ask that you aerate and disinfect the room frequently.

- Automatic virucidal hand disinfectant dispensers have been installed in social rooms and at entrances.

- The hand disinfectant must be used when entering the dormitory.

- Guests, thus including relatives, may not be received in the dormitory.

The following alert protocol shall be followed in case of a suspicion of infection: the person suspected of being infected or the detecting person shall inform the security service, who shall notify the dormitory officer and the Head of the Operations Department about the suspicion. The dormitory officer shall immediately isolate the student in the room designated for quarantine, and the student shall also be required to report to his/her general practitioner. (Foreign students are required to report to their designated general practitioner.) The necessary measures shall be taken on the basis of the rules of procedure provided by the National Public Health Center (hereinafter: NNK).

- Care for students placed in quarantine shall be organized in accordance with the epidemiological rules.


7. Rules for holding opening day events

- With the exception of the opening day mass, no opening day events will be held at the University. The rules specified in the chapter “Creating an environment safe from the aspect of health” shall be applied to the opening day mass.


8. Rules for holding events

- Events not directly linked to education may be held in exceptionally justified cases only.

- No programs that require direct personal contact should be organized.

- When organizing any events, the rules specified in the chapter “Creating an environment safe from the aspect of health” shall be especially applied. Additionally, organizers of events held in enclosed spaces have to prepare a disinfection plan in agreement with the Operations Department.

- The applicable rules and recommendations shall be taken into account when organizing outdoor events.

- Masks have to be worn at outdoor events as well.

- Buffet catering and standing receptions are not permitted at any events.

- Masks must be worn at events held in enclosed spaces. Lecturers and speakers are permitted to not wear a mask if they keep a distance of at least 1.5 m from all persons during their lectures or speeches.

- A possibility for advance registration that does not require personal contact shall be ensured for events held in enclosed spaces.


9. Rules for sports facilities and participants in sports events

- Only healthy students and coaches who exhibit no symptoms and who feel healthy may participate in sports events and leisure activities. Students may participate in sports events after a pre-triage (questionnaire and taking body temperature – see Annex 2).

- No sports events involving direct contact (e.g. wrestling) may be held.

- The protective distance shall be kept during sports events, and small groups shall be preferred over larger groups.

- The rooms used for sports events (gyms, dressing rooms, etc.) shall be disinfected and aerated after each group.


10. The special rules applicable to foreign students treated equivalent to Hungarian citizens and to foreign students without Hungarian citizenship and not treated equivalent to Hungarian citizens (hereinafter jointly: foreign students)

The order on the special rules for the entry into Hungary and the health examinations of students with dual citizenship, students without Hungarian citizenship, and students with student status at non-Hungarian higher education institutions (Annex 3) shall apply to foreign students.


11. Miscellaneous

The Rector shall create an Epidemiological Workgroup to coordinate the tasks related to handling the health crisis. The main tasks of the Workgroup:

a)      coordinating prevention, risk mitigation, and preparation at the level of the University,

b)      making recommendations for the necessary measures and updating and modifying the action plan,

c)      the continuous performance of the tasks specified in the action plan and checking such performance,

d)      planning and preparations prior to possible official measures put in place,

e)      coordinating the implementation of executive decisions,

f)       coordinating the implementation of the decisions of external authorities.

The members of the Epidemiological Workgroup include the Head of the Operations Department, the Head of the Education and Registrar’s Office, and one person delegated by each of the faculty’s deans.


12. Appendices

Annex 1: Privacy Policy pertaining to the organization of the health crisis

Annex 2: Student questionnaire (for pre-triage)

Annex 3:  The order on the special rules for the entry into Hungary and the health examinations of students with dual citizenship, students without Hungarian citizenship, and students with student status at non-Hungarian higher education institutions

 

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