The new academic year at TSU: How will it be?
25.08.2020

Evgeny Lukov, TSU Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, spoke about how the academic year will begin, how the schedule will be created, and how classes will be held in a new format.

- What awaits freshmen in the new academic year?

- First of all, the educational process will be implemented in a full-time format, but we will enter the campus gradually. And, of course, freshmen will be first.

Completely different students will come to the university: Tomsk residents, international students from the near and far abroad, and students from the regions, and for all, we must organize equal educational opportunities and comply with all standards, for example, the Rospotrebnadzor order that all international students who traveled outside Russia are required to go through 14 days of isolation.

Taking these things into account, we have allocated first-year students to check-in and accommodation in the dormitory in the first week of September. From September 2 to 6, check-in will take place, and 2-week isolation of students who have come from abroad and from regions with an unfavorable epidemiological situation will be organized. Simultaneously, from September 7, we will begin the educational process – informational and educational events using distance technologies. After the end of isolation, classes in a mixed format will begin on September 21.

This applies to the first year of bachelor's, specialist's, and master's degrees.

- How will the isolation be organized?

- One tower of the new Mayak dormitory is allocated for this. As soon as isolation ends, students are transferred to a permanent residence in a dormitory. Also, there will be a coronavirus test on the 10th and 12th days. If sick people are identified, then either treatment is organized for them and those in contact with them, or isolation is extended. An individual plan will be developed for these students, and the backlog that may arise will be made up[OU1] individually. This issue will be decided by the leadership of the faculty and the educational program.

Students who are undergoing isolation outside the TSU dormitory need to inform the campus of their location and provide their address: contact of the dormitory staff, e-mail studgorod@mail.ru. To be admitted to classes, they also need to pass a coronavirus test in Tomsk in 10-12 days.

 - What introductory events will be held for freshmen?

- First, they will be given a TSU student personal account, and they will have access to all our digital services, including the Research Library. The staff will make sure that by September 7 the student has received all the passwords, activated the account, and is in touch. There will also be a hotline where the student can solve their problems.

Second, the Institute of Innovation in Education, tutors, teachers at the Institute of Distance Education, curators, and digital volunteers are included in the work with freshmen. They will acquaint students with our electronic environment - Moodle, Research Library, and massive open online courses, and teach them how to work with these resources.

Also, an orientation the university will be organized - from how the campus is arranged to the rules of conduct. Faculties, institutes, and autonomous educational programs are actively involved in it.

The first three days are for orientation to the university, and then lectures will begin.

 - What awaits seniors and graduate students?

- All other courses begin study on September 2 using distance learning methods, so as not to shift the academic schedule. They come to Tomsk from October 5 to 11. We ask students to treat this emergency with understanding and come exactly on these dates, otherwise it will be difficult to provide 2-week isolation for students who come from other countries and regions with an unfavorable epidemiological situation. From October 12 to 25, classes will be held using distance learning methods, and from October 26, all students will go to campus for a mixed class format.

 - Can a student choose a completely distance learning format?

- We understand that there are different situations, and this issue needs to be resolved on an individual basis. We will work it out, offer options, because there are programs for which a remote work format is impossible, for example, creative professions, programs at the Faculty of Physical Education, faculties where the laboratory base is fundamentally important - these are chemists, physicists, and others. In each case, there will be an individual solution. We will meet the students as much as possible, we are ready to discuss options for solutions, but students must inform us about this - contact the faculty leadership and report their situation.

- What will the rules be for international students?

- They start the year in the same way as Russian students, but there are some special features. If they stayed in Russia, they will start their studies in the prescribed manner. Others need to be provided with the opportunity to enter Russia because there are closed borders - invitations must be sent, students must obtain a visa. We understand that under the most favorable circumstances they will arrive by the end of October. Up to this point, work will be in an individual format. After their arrival, the procedure is the same: 14 days of isolation and then inclusion in the usual schedule.

- How will the schedule be arranged?

- Classes will be arranged by day: days of full-time classes and days with distance learning methods. This is due to the sanitization of classrooms and the number of students we can accommodate on campus in compliance with all standards. The duration of class periods and breaks will not change when students study in the same classroom without going through the corridors and buildings, if these are not laboratories using special equipment. In person, 2-3 class periods in a row will take place, then a big break, surface treatment, and the next group comes in for 2-3 class periods.

- How will the laboratory sessions be organized?

- Each classroom has equipment for air decontamination, students will be wearing masks, and, if possible, we will place screens.

- What about physical education?

- As long as the weather is good, classes will be mostly outdoors with fewer groups and keeping distance.