Increased vigilance but few new restrictions
Today, the Swedish government has activated the first step of its action plan for handling increased COVID-19 infection rates. Linköping University has, therefore, increased its preparedness, and encourages everybody to practise social distancing, stay at home when experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and – most importantly of all – get vaccinated.
The first step of the action plan that the government and the Swedish Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten) presented on Tuesday has come into force today, 8 December. LiU has analysed the consequences of this plan for the university and decided to heighten preparedness in response. This does not, however, entail new restrictions.
Among the infection control measures contained in the first step of the government’s plan are:
- Higher education institutions should continue on-campus teaching but avoid large gatherings.
LiU’s comment: Teaching and exams will continue to take place on-campus as they have been during the recent part of the autumn term. Measures have been taken to reduce gathering sizes and the risk of crowding.
- Adults should practise social distancing in public.
LiU’s comment: LiU estimates that footfall on campus during the rest of the term will amount to 75% of normal levels. It will therefore be possible to practise social distancing on-campus at LiU. When working in groups, students may wish to consider doing it digitally.
- Working from home should be made possible.
LiU’s comment: LiU co-workers can already, upon agreement with their manager, work from home up to 40% of the time. If students wish to participate in remote instruction, it is up to the teachers concerned to decide whether digital solutions are suitable with regard to the course plan. Our advice to individual students is to discuss the matter with their teachers/examiners about how this can work.
At Tuesday’s press conference, the government also announced second and third steps of their action plan, intended to reduce infection rates when the pressure on the healthcare system is at its greatest. It was not mentioned when these further measures will be activated, but LiU’s steps so far have enabled the university to follow developments and quickly adopt future measures. After almost two years of tightening and loosening of measures, we are ready to handle most issues. There are, however, a few questions that are especially relevant right now, such as what should be done with Christmas parties and gatherings.
Christmas parties and vaccine passports
“If you visit an external establishment, such as a restaurant, then it’s their rules about capacity and social distancing that apply. If you rent out premises yourself, then you must take crowding and social distancing into consideration. With larger parties organised by student associations, the organisers are responsible for asking participants to display their vaccine passports, when the participants exceed 100”, says Director of Study Administration Marina Geijer.
“The most important thing is that everybody takes responsibility and stays at home if they experience symptoms or feel unwell.”
At Tuesday’s press conference, the Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson made a strong appeal to all those who are still unvaccinated: now is the time to go and get your jab! Many are worried about the risk of spending time in the same spaces as unvaccinated people.
“As a public authority, the university cannot – unlike, for example, student associations – enquire as to people’s vaccination status. We are also unable to require the use of vaccine passports. But what we can do is strongly encourage everybody to go and get vaccinated, in order to reduce the infection rates”, says Marina Geijer.
Translated by Benjamin Davies
Last updated: 2021-12-09