TSU has developed a set of measures to protect the campus

Prevention is better than cure

The university starts the new academic year amid the coronavirus pandemic. To maximize the safety of TSU employees, undergraduate and graduate students, the university emergency response center has developed a set of preventive measures. Dmitry Son, Deputy Vice-Rector for Social Affairs, told the Alma Mater newspaper what rules are being introduced on campus and what has been done to minimize the risk of infection.

Going offline

“Dmitry Vissarionovich, the university plans to resume offline classes in September. Coronavirus pandemic, unfortunately, is not over yet. What actions are being taken to protect TSU students and staff?”

“Indeed, the university is preparing to meet students. Therefore, throughout the summer, we have been working on a set of preventive measures to reduce the risk of infection and make TSU campus safe, including educational buildings and residence halls. When developing preventive measures, the university used recommendations of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science and the regional emergency response center which helps to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The educational process is to start in a mixed format: lectures will be delivered online, for such form of class does not affect the quality of learning, while seminars and practical classes will take place in-person. Some classes, for example, for students studying Chemistry, Biology, and Geology, require in-person presence in the lab and are impossible to hold in distance mode.

The schedule is designed to minimize unnecessary contact between students. Seminars and practical classes will be held only in the classrooms with the area of more than 50 square meters. A group of students comes into the classroom where up to three classes might be held, then the students leave and cleaning with special disinfectants is carried out during a long break. The university has signed additional contracts with the cleaning companies in order to do so. Besides, good ventilation is a must and should be monitored, most likely, by the group leader.

Each classroom will be equipped with a closed-type ultraviolet bactericidal irradiator. The university has purchased 430 irradiators. They are safe for use in the presence of people. The irradiators of this type are harmless for humans but very effective in destroying viruses and bacteria.”

“Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov pointed out repeatedly in his speeches that educational institutions have to provide face masks to their students. How is this going to be done at TSU?”

“Undergraduate, graduate and PhD students as well as faculty members will receive six reusable face masks a month. This calculation is based on the fact that the mask should be changed every two or three hours. We would like our students to treat the proposed precautions with full responsibility. The university is taking unprecedented measures to make the campus safe. Therefore, the students should also take care of themselves and others and wear masks.

Mandatory temperature checks will be carried out at the university entrance with the help of 250 volunteers. In the residence halls, temperature checks will be done twice a day. Besides, hand sanitizing is a must; sanitizers will be placed in each laboratory and classroom. For those who forgot to use it, professors will remind to do so.”

“Dmitry Vissarionovich, the students and faculty members ask the question: is it allowed to take off the face mask during the class?”

“If the professor maintains 1.5-2 meter distance and has to talk a lot during the class, then the professor can take off the mask. The students should be wearing masks for safety reasons, except for creative classes (such as vocal lessons) and physical education, the latter, if possible, will be held outside.”

“What about the food supply system on campus? Will the canteens and cafes work?”

“For now, they offer only takeaway. As soon as the restrictions for public food services in Tomsk are lifted, they will be opened for customers. But even in this case, the necessary preventive measures related to seating of visitors and sanitizing of the tables will remain.”

Time dictates new rules

“What additional facilities will be created for students?”

“In TSU residence halls, research library, and the main building of the university (dance hall), shared use places will be set up where it will be possible to borrow a tablet, a laptop, or a headset, and to listen to the lecture you need.”

“Are there any leaflets that students and professors can use?”

“Yes, a series of such materials is being prepared right now by the TSU Division of Information Policy. For example, a video that demonstrates how to wear a face mask properly, printed materials, and brochures. All this information will be provided on the TSU websites and social media.”

“Is there a two-week quarantine period for international students coming to study at TSU?”

“For the students arriving from foreign countries, it is mandatory. On the 10th - 11th day of quarantine, they should be tested. This rule might be also applied to the students from the “red” zone regions with bad epidemiological situation. The list of such regions is determined by Rospotrebnadzor.

According to the preliminary estimates, about 2000 students will be subjected to the two-week quarantine. All these students will be provided with food and medical supervision. If a student who lives in the residence hall gets sick, the two-week quarantine will be required and coronavirus testing will be provided to those who have been in contact with such student.”

“Dmitry Vissarionovich, how should students and professors behave when they notice the signs of aсute respiratory infection?”

“First of all, they need to contact the hospital and call in a physician or call the hotline of the Healthcare Department of Tomsk Region at 516-616 (24/7). The specialists will explain what to do.”

“In case an undergraduate or graduate student gets sick and misses a number of classes, will there be any conditions created for them to catch up?”

“Yes, absolutely. The students need to contact their department and solve this problem on an individual basis.”

“And one more question. What about faculty members aged 65 and over? What protective measures are set up for them?”

“Faculty members aged 65 and over as well as those who have serious chronic diseases will be able to work remotely. In a pandemic, it is necessary to protect every faculty member and student, and that is why TSU will make every effort to minimize the risk of infection.”