Top image: UNIS and the Svalbard Science Centre. Photo: Hanne H. Christensen/UNIS.
UNIS has decided to run all the semester-long courses, running from January through May/April 2021. The shorter master’s and PhD courses scheduled in spring are cancelled.
17 November 2020
Press release from The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS)
The spring semester 2021 starts on 18 January, and UNIS has offered admission for all semester-long courses (January-June). This applies to bachelor courses in biology, geophysics, geology and technology, in addition to two semester-long master courses in geophysics.
Unfortunately, all the shorter and intensive master’s / PhD courses in the spring semester will be cancelled. The reasons are that teaching and fieldwork will be more demanding than normal in relation to current infection prevention rules, it is very demanding to organize quarantine stays for students and adjunct professors just spending 5-7 weeks in Svalbard, and it leaves uncertainty and vulnerability associated with quarantine, outbreaks and resulting changes in teaching- /fieldwork schedules that will not be manageable within the short time frame of such courses.
It is, and will continue to be, a demanding situation with Covid-19, so we are happy to see that we can complete the courses where the students are with us throughout the semester, says UNIS director Jøran Moen.
“By completing the semester-long courses with about 100 students, we are in the first phase towards the normal”, says Moen.
“Teaching and especially fieldwork will be more demanding than normal in relation to current infection prevention rules, and by concentrating on the courses that will run throughout the semester, there will be greater predictability and security for both students and staff. If employees are quarantined, each scientific department will have teaching resources available that can take over the teaching, so that the students do not have their teaching or fieldwork postponed or cancelled. Thus, we will be less vulnerable in the event of an outbreak of infection”, Moen explains.
UNIS is already well on its way to admitting students to semester-long courses. Students must follow the national rules and recommendations from the authorities, which among other things means that international students (students enrolled in a university outside of Norway) complete a 10-day quarantine at a quarantine hotel on the mainland. UNIS will reimburse the hotel costs for these students and have made direct contact with those eligible for the reimbursement.
In addition, the students in the Arctic Nature Guide program at UiT – The Arctic University of Norway will come to Longyearbyen and UNIS in January to complete their second semester in Svalbard. All in all, there will be around 120 students at UNIS in spring semester 2021.