In-person exams to continue despite pandemic
The Swedish government has encouraged higher education institutions to be “generous” with the number of opportunities students have to sit exams. The government has also encouraged universities to review how best to reduce COVID-19 infection rates among students. Linköping University (LiU), which has both increased exam-sitting opportunities and introduced stricter infection control measures (most recently in December), believes that it already meets the government’s requirements.
Right in the middle of the current exam period, the COVID-19 infection rate has a hit record levels, and both the Swedish prime minister and minister for education have therefore indicated the importance of taking measures during in-person, on-campus exams. However, after going through the desired measures which the government has communicated via two press conferences, LiU has judged that the university is already doing what the government wishes it to.
“The government has said that the main rule for higher education is that it should take place in-person, but that distance teaching can be used as a tool to reduce footfall. We have already taken account of this in our measures. The government also wants universities to offer their students multiple occasions upon which they can sit their exams. We already do that, as students currently have three opportunities to sit an exam: the second resit can take place within approximately two months from the first exam, and a third, catchup exam can take place at a later date”, says Joakim Nejdeby, the team leader of LiU’s crisis management team.
During this nearly two-year-long pandemic, LiU has gone through several exam seasons, allowing the university to build up a system and safety measures to reduce infection during in-person exams. For example, we have created queuing systems for entry into exam halls, reduced crowding in the halls and separated examinees from each other using screens, where there is a possibility to do so. Hand disinfectant is available, and the exam halls are cleaned with greater regularity. This extra cleaning involves cleaning the seats and toilets. Furthermore, exam invigilators have PPE in the shape of face coverings, and questions and answers during the exams are handled in a COVID-secure way.
”We believe that, with our work to reduce crowding both in classes and at exams, we are already living up to the government’s requirements regarding COVID-secure campuses. We encourage students nonetheless to reduce their time spent on campus. They should categorically not attend exams if they feel ill or are waiting for a COVID test result. We all have a personal responsibility not to infect others”, says Joakim Nejdeby.
What happens if one misses an exam due to sickness? The first step, in order to ensure that your CSN funding is not affected, is to report your illness to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan), and to contact your study advisor. Thanks to LiU’s practice of holding resits shortly after the first exam season, most people will be able to resit their exams without too great a delay. There are also the “catch-up exams” that take place at the end of term.
“We want to create conditions that allow our students to complete their studies during this pandemic. Currently, the government’s main message is that teaching and exams should be in-person. It is, however, possible that we will encourage more digital teaching and modified exam forms at a later date”, says Joakim Nejdeby.
Translated by Benjamin Davies
Last updated: 2022-01-14