As with most summer programs around the world, the SSEB was cancelled for the summer of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, our 2021 edition was a great success, with fully face-to-face classes, and close to 40 students. Thanks to the responsibility of all participants, and UAM’s preventive measures, the Program ran without incident. However, the SSEB suffered one effect of the pandemic: Our usual off-campus events were not possible as the institutions to be visited were still restricting visits. Consequently, we held all our events on campus.
Currently, all classes at UAM are fully face-to-face, and the COVID-19 situation in Spain is low risk. At the end of October 2021, the cumulative incidence of coronavirus in Spain is below 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (low risk), and the percentage of the population over 12 years of age fully vaccinated is 90%.
The main characteristics of the current UAM face-to-face teaching protocol are the following:
- The use of masks is mandatory.
- In general, whenever possible, an interpersonal distance of at least 1.2 meters should be maintained.
- Good ventilation of interior spaces.
- Protocols for entering and leaving classrooms to avoid crowds at entrances and corridors.
- Special hygiene and disinfection measures for the facilities.
- Provision of hydroalcoholic gel for students and teachers.
Conclusions on COVID-19
In the worst-case scenario, the SSEB 2022 will be held as the SSEB 2021. The SSEB 2021 was like previous editions, but with two main differences: The mandatory use of masks, and that most of the complementary social, cultural, and academic events were on campus (the only off-campus event that was possible was the walking tour of Madrid).
In the best-case scenario, if all restrictions are lifted, the wearing of masks will not be mandatory, and we will be able to hold all our traditional events off campus. This seems the most likely scenario.
Regardless of the scenario, if a student is unable to travel to Madrid because of COVID-19 (let’s say for example they test positive before the trip) or for any other reason, as in the case of students who are already in Madrid but are 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 speakers to hear the students talking at home as if they were in the classroom. Hopefully, no student will need to use this equipment, but we are fully prepared in case someone needs to follow the classes via the Internet during part or all the Program.