Latest announcements from Aarhus University

Rector Brian Bech Nielsen, 18 March

Rector Brian Bech Nielsen, 13 March

TO EMPLOYEES

Information to employees from the Rector 24 March 2020

Dear employees at Aarhus University,

Well, it certainly didn’t come as much of a surprise that Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen extended the physical closure of the universities by an additional fourteen days last night – up to and including 13 April. 

This means that Aarhus University will remain closed. But only in a physical sense. Because in the digital sphere, everyone is giving their all to keep our core activities going as much as humanly possible. Once again, I’d like to express my admiration for how you’ve tackled the situation. It’s simply impressive to see such a large university switch gears with such speed and keep on operating. This is only possible because you’ve been putting in an enormous, committed effort to make the best of things under the given circumstances.

The university’s physical closure has given rise to new questions – and will continue to do so. And we will continue to attempt to find satisfactory answers and solutions as quickly as possible. 

We are entering a new phase of the closure; in coming weeks, the energy, sense of duty and initiative that helped us through the first phase will be put to the test. The coronavirus lockdown has been extended by fourteen days. But in light of predictions that the epidemic may not peak until just after Easter, it’s not inconceivable that an additional extension will be necessary. So we may be in this for the long haul – which will wear away at our patience and our core activities. 

The situation is beginning to have seriously detrimental effects on research projects, for example. I completely understand that it is becoming more difficult to postpone your plans as the days go by – but we have to continue respecting these restrictions. In part because we, as a public sector institution, are of course supportive of the authorities’ recommendations, but also because we are conscious of our responsibility. We are staying home to protect our most vulnerable fellow citizens and to help the country’s healthcare system avoid the overload that would occur if too many people become ill at the same time. While staying at home doesn’t feel like a heroic thing to do, it’s the most valuable contribution most of us can make in this critical situation.

It’s a challenging time for the country and for all of us. Once again, I’d like to urge you to take good care of yourselves and the rest of us – by following the public health authorities’ recommendations, of course, but also by finding a good rhythm for your work and family life. And remember to take breaks for exercise during your working day. At some point, we will come out on the other side of this, and when that happens, we will need to be in decent shape, both physically and mentally, so that we’ll be ready to return to our beautiful university full of energy and drive.

 

I wish you and your families all the best,

Brian Bech Nielsen

Information to employees 14 March

Information to employees
14 march
Information will also be sent by email in the course of the day


Dear employees,

At the moment, there is a lot of information as the coronavirus precautions are changed on an ongoing basis. This was also the case last night, Friday 13 March, when the authorities made the announcement regarding travels to and from Denmark. Based on this, Aarhus University takes the following position in relation to travelling.

Employees at Aarhus University

Aarhus University strongly advises against official trips abroad, and we also strongly encourage all members of staff who do not live abroad to return to Denmark as quickly as possible. If in doubt, please contact your immediate supervisor for an assessment of your situation. It becomes increasingly difficult to get to Denmark, and capacity problems may occur also in the healthcare system in other countries. Members of staff must stay informed via The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s guidelines

Members of staff living abroad are not recommended to return to Denmark unless they feel unsafe or fear that it will not be possible for them to return to Denmark. In this case, it is also important to stay informed via The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s guidelines (link above).

Information in relation to students

Students and PhD students who are on long-term stays abroad are recommended to consider whether they want to continue their stay abroad or they want to return to Denmark – both options exist. In making this decision, the following should be considered:

  • The quality and the capacity of the local healthcare system in case you get sick.
  • The specific time of your planned return to Denmark. If you are planning to return to Denmark in the near future, there may be a risk that a lot of planes are cancelled when it is time for you to go home.
  • Is it still possible for you to participate in teaching at your host university? If not, it may be a good idea to come home now.

If you choose to stay, you must follow the instructions from the local authorities and your host institution. You must stay informed on The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s website and sign up on the ‘danskerlisten’ to ensure that you receive the latest updates about your host country. 

This information is available for students on au.dk/corona which is updated on a regular basis. And for AU staff as well. If you have questions, please contact your immediate supervisor. 

This quite unusual situation is difficult to handle in many ways. We must do the best we can. This was one of the messages from Rector Brian Bech Nielsen in the news from the senior management team yesterday. See the video from Brian Bech Nielsen

Information from the senior management to employees, 11 March 11:45 pm Information also sent by email

 

Dear employee, 

Based on the government’s and the authority’s announcements tonight the senior management team at Aarhus University has decided that you should not come to work starting tomorrow March 12, 2020 and – until further notice – ending on March 27, 2020. If you carry out a critical function such as animal keeping, special research infrastructure etc. we ask you to come in tomorrow in order to agree with your manager on how best to handle the situation during the university closedown.

We need to focus on critical activities in the coming weeks, and we realize that the situation begs a number of questions. We ask for your patience in not being able to provide all answers with such a short notice, but we will work hard to provide all needed clarifications. We will ask you to keep informed at the AU corona webpage or through your immediate manager.

To everyone who teaches: As we communicated earlier today, the university is working to prepare digital solutions in order to offer distance learning online. We are working determinedly to get it up and running within a short span of time. Again, we ask for your patience. We are in the process of testing the technology. We expect to be ready in the beginning of next week to ensure the continuation of your teaching activities to the extent possible.

We ask you to work from home to the greatest degree possible. The university offers infrastructure that makes it feasible to work from home and together at a distance. We will speedily compile information about this infrastructure in order to make it easily available. As soon as possible, you will find a link for this information at the AU corona website.

Kind regards,

The senior mangement team

Information from the senior management to employees, 11 March at 8:00

Information is also sent by email


Dear Aarhus University employee,

As I’m sure you’re aware, the coronavirus outbreak in Denmark right now is a serious situation. As an educational and state institution, we have a special responsibility to do our part to limit the spread of the virus, which is the government's very clear focus right now.

To live up to our responsibility, we have decided to introduce a number of measures that will be described below.

If you have any symptoms that can be attributed to the coronavirus, you must immediately contact your own doctor by phone and follow his or her recommendations. If you have had or are in close contact with someone who has a coronavirus infection, you must also contact your own doctor by telephone and follow his or her recommendations.

As a university, it is crucial that we continue to perform our core activities to the greatest extent possible in relation to society, education, research and public sector consultancy.

For the moment, the university’s five faculties will continue to carry out planned teaching activities, both in relation to classes and exams. However, there is one exception: medical Master’s degree students must not participate in physical lectures and classroom instruction at the university hospital. For the time being, this will apply for the month of March. Read more here

We will also keep libraries, study spaces and cafeterias open for the time being. We are doing so to make sure that students have access to study spaces. However, we strongly emphasise that users of these facilities must show consideration for each other, for example by maintaining social distance and washing or disinfecting their hands when entering and leaving the room. In this way, we can contribute to limiting the spread of the virus (read more on the coronasmitte.dk website – in English)

Digital teaching platforms

We are preparing for the eventuality that we will be unable to conduct teaching as usual, and are in the process of setting up digital teaching solutions that will enable remote teaching. We expect to be able to introduce remote teaching for the majority of teaching activities in a very short time in the event that this becomes necessary.

Research

Research activities at the departments and centres will continue as usual at present. If the situation makes this impossible for you, inform your immediate supervisor.

Events including conferences and seminars

Effective immediately and until further notice, events such as conferences and seminars will only be held if they are critical to the core activities education, research and consultancy.

Events that are not critical to education, research and consultancy must be cancelled or postponed. This also applies to events with under 1000 participants, and to events organised by Aarhus University as well as events held at Aarhus University by external organisers. If you are in doubt about whether an event for which you are responsible as an employee should be held, you must discuss and clarify this with your immediate supervisor.

If an event is considered critical to education, research or consultancy and should be held for that reason, the authorities’ instructions regarding the necessary precautions must be followed carefully (link to coronasmitte.dk). Please note that naturally, the authorities’ recommendation not to hold events with over 1000 participants must still be followed in all cases.

As a natural consequence of these precautions, social events at the university should be cancelled or postponed. If you are in doubt about whether an event should be cancelled or postponed, discuss and clarify this with your immediate supervisor.

We are already seeing that many participants in events at the university are cancelling, just as there are external speakers and partners who do not wish to visit the university under the current circumstances.

We encourage all employees to exercise caution in relation to what work-related activities you participate in. If an activity is not critical to education, research or consultancy, as a general rule, you should refrain from participating.

Work-related travel abroad

For the time being, all work-related travel abroad should be postponed or cancelled. This applies to work-related trips to all countries. This may seem drastic, but we are introducing this measure to limit the spread of infection to and from Denmark.

Until further notice, there will be no travel abroad for administrative employees and members of management.

Domestic work-related travel

Aarhus University advises employees and students to follow the government’s instructions regarding public transportation carefully.

Study trips

Teaching staff and students should cancel any study trips for the time being.

Transportation to and from the university

Aarhus University advises employees and students to follow the government’s instructions regarding public transportation carefully.

Non-work-related travel

The University advises employees to comply with the Danish authorities’ recommendations concerning trips to other countries (In Danish only)

Task force

We have a corona task force at the university that is monitoring the situation closely, and which is in regular contact with the other Danish universities.

On behalf of the senior management team,

Arnold Boon, Berit Eika and Brian Bech Nielsen

TO STUDENTS

Information to all students from the Prorector 24 March 2020

Dear students at Aarhus University,

I hope you are doing well. This is a difficult situation for all of us, and on behalf of the university senior management team I want you to know that we sincerely appreciate the way you are handling it.

Please remember to take care of yourselves, and look out for each other. Stay in touch with your fellow students via online platforms – in particular our international students who are separated from their families. Consider giving them a call or reach out on social media – as many of you are already doing - for example via #yourniversity on Instagram. For those of you living in dorms it is particularly important to support and respect each other. Living in close quarters can be challenging under these circumstances, so please be mindful and help each other keep the common areas clean.

Yesterday, Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, extended the current shutdown to be in effect through 13 April. Hence, Aarhus University will remain physically closed until further notice. Even though many days have gone by already, we have to remain patient and vigilant and act according to the advice of the Danish health authorities: Stay at home as much as possible, meet up with your classmates online instead of in person, keep distance, and refrain from attending large social gatherings. By following these guidelines, we are slowing the spread of the virus and helping our health system to cope with the pressure.

At AU, we are still working hard to deliver educational activities, including exams, online. We are also trying our best to address your questions and concerns about exams, internships, and all the other things that have been affected by the corona virus outbreak. Please check the FAQ, which we are updating on a regular basis – and keep in mind that our student counsellors are online every weekday from 8am to 4pm: https://medarbejdere.au.dk/en/corona/faq-and-chat-for-students/

If you need to talk to someone, remember that university chaplain is available via phone, and the lovely volunteers at AU Helpline are ready to chat as well.

 

Best wishes,

Prorector at Aarhus University, Berit Eika

Information to students from the university director 12 March, 5.30 pm

Information to students from the university director
12 March, 5.30 pm
Information is also sent by email


Dear students,

As you know, no classes or other activities are taking place in AU’s buildings for the time being. You can use your key card to access buildings on AU’s campuses until Friday at 2 pm/14:00 if you have a pressing need to pick up a laptop, books or other important materials. In other words, you are only allowed to enter AU’s buildings for the short amount of time it takes you to get your things.

The libraries at AU are closed. The staff have been sent home. If you have materials you need in lockers, study spaces and so on, contact the libraries via this link

This is an extraordinary situation, and we know that you have a lot of questions, but again, we ask you to be patient. We are in the process of setting up a hotline and a FAQ. And we are also working as fast as we can to set up distance learning. You’ll hear more about this as soon as everything is in place.

As you also may know, AU’s VPN network was overloaded today. We apologise if this caused you problems. We are doing everything we can to get the VPN network up and running for you students again.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Boon, university director

Information from the senior management to students 11 March at 11:00 pm

Information is also sent by email


Please stay at home tomorrow, Thursday March 12, 2020. We will identify adequate solutions as soon as possible

Dear Student at Aarhus University,

The Danish Government has just initiated new measures in order to limit the spread of the corona virus. Aarhus University closely follows the authority’s recommendations.

Consequently, Aarhus University temporarily discontinues all educational activities on the three campus in Herning, Emdrup and Aarhus from Thursday morning March 12, 2020. The university campuses will remain closed for students until March 27, 2020.

We are facing an extraordinary and difficult situation where we all need to demonstrate civility. The university is working determinedly to prepare digital solutions in order to offer distance learning online. We are in the process of testing the technology. We expect to be ready in the beginning of next week in order to ensure your learning. The university has not applied the technology before on such a large scale. Therefore, we ask for your patience.

Please keep yourself informed on your Aarhus University e-mail account. Information will also be available at the university webpage regarding the handling of the corona virus.

Best regards,

The Senior Management

Information from senior management to students, 11 March 12.30 pm

Dear Aarhus University student,

As I’m sure you’re aware, the coronavirus outbreak in Denmark right now is a serious situation. As an educational and state institution, we have a special responsibility to do our part to limit the spread of the virus, which is the government's very clear focus right now. 

To live up to our responsibility, we have decided to introduce a number of measures you can read about below.

If you have any symptoms that could mean you have the coronavirus,you must immediately contact your own doctor by phone and follow his or her instructions. If you have had or are in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus, you must also contact your own doctor by telephone and follow his or her instructions.  

As a university, it is crucial that we carry on performing our core activities to the greatest extent possible in relation to society, education, research and public sector consultancy.

Until further notice, the university’s planned teaching activities will continue, with regard to both classes and exams. However, there is one exception: medical Master’s degree students must not participate in physical lectures and classroom instruction. For the time being, this will apply for the month of March. Read more here

We strongly encourage you to comply with the authorities’ advice on how to prevent infection – (read more on the government’s official coronavirus website – in English).

We will keep libraries, study spaces and cafeterias open for the time being. We are doing so to ensure that you have access to study spaces. However, here as well we strongly emphasise that you must show consideration for others when you use these facilities, for example by maintaining social distance and washing or disinfecting your hands when entering and leaving the room. This is how we can all do our part to limit the spread of the virus – read more on the government’s official coronavirus website in English.

Digital teaching platforms

We are preparing for the scenario that we may not be be able to continue conducting teaching as usual, and are in the process of setting up digital teaching solutions that will make remote teaching possible. We expect to be able to introduce remote teaching for the majority of teaching activities in a very short time in the event that this becomes necessary. Naturally, we will keep you informed about these developments.

Events, including Friday bars

Effective immediately and until further notice, Aarhus University will only hold events like conferences and seminars if they are critical to the core activities education, research and consultancy.

This means that it will not be possible to hold social gatherings such as Friday bars until further notice. This also applies to events with fewer than 100 guests. We are doing this to help limit the spread of the virus in society.

Study trips

Teaching staff and students should cancel any study trips for the time being.

Transportation to and from the university

Aarhus University advises employees and students to follow the government’s instructions regarding public transportation carefully.

Task force and monitoring of the situation

We have established a corona task force at the university which is monitoring the situation closely, and which is in regular contact with the other Danish universities. Get the latest advice and instructions from the university on the corona website. The site will be updated as the situation develops.  

 

On behalf of the senior management team  

Arnold Boon, Berit Eika and Brian Bech Nielsen

Updates before 11 March

Update – 10 March at 11:00

The university’s teaching activities will continue as usual – with one exception. Students on the medical Master’s degree programme may not attend physical lectures and classroom instruction at the university hospital. At present, this applies to the rest of the month of March. Read more here


Update – 9 March at 11:00

At this point, teaching and research activities at Aarhus University will continue. We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to follow the instructions from the authorities.

We still encourage all employees and students to take the situation seriously and to contact the health authorities if they experience any signs of coronavirus. Please inform your immediate manager as soon as possible, if you have been infected or placed in quarantine. In general, we encourage everyone to be particularly vigilant. If you have any questions about how to avoid infection, please see the Danish National Police’s website on the coronavirus. Among other things, you can find good advice on how to avoid infection – for example avoiding physical contact such as kisses, hugs and handshakes. 

We ask that all AU employees who are going on official trips in the near future follow the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s guidelines on travelling abroad https://politi.dk/coronavirus-i-danmark/hvis-du-skal-ud-at-rejse.

In relation to large gatherings, Aarhus University will continue to follow the Danish government’s instructions and cancel or postpone events with more than 1000 participants.

In relation to events with less than 1000 participants, please see the recommendations from the authorities on https://politi.dk/coronavirus-i-danmark/seneste-nyt-fra-myndighederne/myndighedernes-opfordring-vedr-arrangementer. As a member of staff, if you have any questions, please contact the head of your department/school. As a student at AU, if you have any questions, please contact your local studies administration unit.


Update – 6 March

Organisers are advised to cancel all events with more than 1,000 participants, the Danish government just announced. For the time being, this applies to events taking place in Denmark in March.

At this point in time, the government’s announcement does not apply to classes and exams at Aarhus University. Exams and classes will continue as scheduled.

In addition, at the present moment it will not be necessary to cancel events for employees and visitors to Aarhus University, because no events with more than 1,000 participants are planned for this month. Aarhus University is currently working to determine whether the government’s advice will affect events for students.

We are monitoring the situation closely, and the university will act on the advice of the Danish Health Authority and other relevant authorities. We also advise everyone to be particularly vigilant and to follow the health authorities’ advice about physical contact, in order to avoid exposing yourself or others to infection.


Update - 4 March