COVID-19

As in the case of most other summer programs around the world, the SSEB was cancelled for the summer 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, things look much brighter for the next edition, and our dates are confirmed for the summer 2021!

Since September 2020, UAM has been operating with face-to-face classes on Campus, despite second and third waves of COVID-19 across Europe. Thanks to the imposed security protocols (see below “Current COVID-19 security protocols”), UAM has been running smoothly, without outbreaks or contagions caused by the classes.

On the other hand, Spain’s current COVID-19 vaccination plan foresees that 70% of the Spanish population will be vaccinated by the end of the summer. In the meantime, it is expected that by May a situation will have been reached that will allow the current restrictions to be at least partially relaxed, since the most vulnerable population would already have been vaccinated. In fact, the current State of Alert approved by the Parliament which allows the application of the current restrictions will be in force until May 9, 2021 at the latest. (See below “Current restrictions imposed by the State of Alarm”)

Therefore, we contemplate three scenarios for our program:

  1. Worst-case scenario: The vaccines would not work as expected, and we would have to continue in the current situation. In this case, which we consider very unlikely, the program would be taught under the same conditions as the teaching currently being carried out at UAM (see below “Current COVID-19 security protocols”). In this case, classes on campus will be taught face to face without problems, but probably few if any of the planned off-campus events and field trips can be organized.
  2. Best-case scenario: The vaccination plan would work as planned, and there would be a significant relaxation of the restrictions imposed as of May. This is what is expected now, and what we consider most likely. In this case, the program would be carried out almost as usual, although even in this case some precautionary measures will be maintained (see below “Measures that we expect to be applied in the program under any circumstances”). In this case, it is still possible that some of the planned off-campus events and excursions may not be able to be arranged if the institutions to be visited are still restricting visits at that time.
  3. Intermediate scenario: There are delays in the vaccination plan. In this case, although the current restrictions would be relaxed, it is likely that more precautionary measures of the current security protocols would be maintained. In this case, more problems may arise in holding planned off-campus events and excursions.

Current restrictions imposed by the State of Alarm (until May 9, 2021, if not lifted earlier)

  • Curfew from 00:00 to 06:00.
  • Social or family gatherings, both in public and private spaces, open or closed, are permitted, as long as they do not exceed 6 people (cohabitants and work, institutional, and education activities are not included in this limitation).
  • Hotels, restaurants, cinemas, theaters, auditoriums, circuses, multipurpose halls, establishments for public shows and recreational activities, university residences, halls of residence, sports facilities, parks, gardens, and gambling establishments must close at the latest at 00:00 hours and may not open before 06:00 hours. In the case of hotels and restaurants, they cannot admit clients after 23:00 hours.
  • All commercial, retail and professional service establishments, as well as open-air markets, may not begin their activities before 06:00 hours and must close at 22:00 hours, with the exception of pharmacies, medical and veterinary establishments, gas stations and establishments that provide essential and undelayable services. Shopping centers where there are cinemas, restaurants or leisure facilities may close at 00:00 hours.
  • The maximum seating capacity allowed in places of worship, indoor sports facilities, hotels, and indoor restaurants, is reduced to 50%. This percentage is 75% in theaters, cinemas, other cultural facilities (including museums), open-air terraces at restaurants, and commercial establishments. The percentage is 40% in multi-purpose halls.
  • All parks and gardens in the city of Madrid are open but continue to close until further notice from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am.

Current COVID-19 security protocols at UAM

General rules

1. Outdoor spaces:

  • Mandatory use of masks.
  • In general, a distance of at least 1.5 meters should be maintained between people.
  • Traffic on the sidewalks should be on the right side to avoid crossings between the two senses.
  • Pedestrian tours of the campus should be reduced and limited to those cases where it is strictly necessary.

2. Interior spaces:

  • Mandatory use of masks.
  • In general, a distance of at least 1.5 meters should be maintained between people.
  • Avoid unnecessary walking through buildings and interior spaces.
  • The use of gloves is not recommended, except for cleaning tasks and in laboratories where the material is in common use. If the eyes, nose, or mouth are touched with the gloves, the gloves become contaminated and must be changed.

3. Protocol for cases of COVID-19:

  • Any person who tests positive for COVID-19, in addition to following the recommendations of his or her health center and not attending the University, will immediately inform the person responsible for COVID-19 in his or her Faculty or School and UAM’s Health Service (servicio.medico@uam.es) so that from this service or from the Faculty or School (in the case of students) the necessary actions are put in place to communicate to possible close contacts the actions to be carried out.
  • Any person who has symptoms compatible with COVID-19 must stay home. If you feel unwell at UAM, you will leave home as soon as possible, minimizing the use of public transportation. You will contact as soon as possible your health service, and UAM’s Health Service (servicio.medico@uam.es).

Specific rules for students

1. On-campus presence:

  • Students must bring their own masks from home. Under no circumstances will these masks include an exhalation valve, since in this case the air is exhaled directly to the environment without any kind of retention, and this would favor, if present, the spread of the virus.
  • Students will only stay on campus as long as it is necessary for their academic activities.

2. Classroom behavior:

  • Student groups will be kept stable, so that close contacts in the event of a possible case of COVID-19 are recorded and restricted. For the same reason, students will not attend classes of teaching groups that are not theirs.
  • Whenever possible, students will occupy the same position in the classroom throughout the day.
  • To avoid crowding at the doors and corridors, the entrance and exit of the classrooms will be held in a staggered manner.
  • Avoid sharing any kind of material with other students or with teachers.

Specific rules for professors

  • A safety distance of at least 2 meters must be maintained between the teacher and the students while the class is being taught. When it is not possible to maintain that distance, additional protective and hygienic measures should be taken to prevent the risks of contagion.
  • All classrooms will have an anti-virucidal surface cleaner, and a paper roll or similar. Each teacher is responsible for cleaning with these materials the surfaces of their workstation (table, chair, eraser, etc.), as well as the controls of the audiovisual equipment they use. This cleaning will be done by the teacher at the beginning and the end of each class.
  • Whenever possible, classrooms will be kept ventilated with natural ventilation (open windows). Directional ventilation is not recommended (opening windows and doors) while classrooms are occupied, since this type of ventilation acts by potentially transporting the contaminated aerosols from whoever generates them to other people.

Measures that we expect to be applied in the program in all circumstances

  • Mandatory use of masks.
  • Frequent ventilation of the classrooms.
  • Special measures of hygiene and disinfection of the facilities.
  • Provision of hydroalcoholic gel for students and teachers.

Conclusions on COVID-19

We expect the SSEB to be held similarly to previous years, but with the few precautions mentioned above. The most significant difference for students is that we expect the wearing of masks to remain mandatory. It is still possible that some of the planned off-campus events and excursions may not be possible if the institutions to be visited continue to restrict visits at the time of the Program.

In the case of students from other countries who face travel restrictions and are unable to travel to Madrid, as in the case of students who are already in Madrid but subject to quarantine or unable to attend classes for any other similar reason, these students would follow the classes online while the rest of the students follow the classes in the classroom. We have cameras and microphones in the classrooms so that students can see and hear everything that happens in the classroom from their homes, and loudspeakers to hear students talking at home as if they were in the classroom. Hopefully, no students will need to use this equipment, but we are fully prepared in case someone needs to follow the classes via the Internet.

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