At the end of the holiday travel season, the next big risk factor for Covid-19 is universities

Vacation travel time is over, while the new training has just begun, so now the next big risk factor for Covid-19 – universities, warns Uga Dumpis, chief infectologist of the Ministry of Health, on the social platform “Twitter”.

“Social student life has proven to be a major cause of viral transmission in many countries,” the infectologist notes. According to him, the risk of Covid-19 in higher education is more significant than in conventional schools, so the expert hopes that universities will continue distance learning as much as possible.

He points out that even if all precautions are observed instead of university training, it is not possible to control what happens outside. He cites an example from the United States with 1,043 cases of infection at one university in two weeks. “It does not threaten us, but characterizes the scale of the risk,” explains the specialist.

LETA has already reported that the University of Latvia (LU) and the Latvia University of Agriculture (LLU) are planning to study in person, while studies at Riga Technical University (RTU) are planned to be implemented both in person and remotely.

Today, the autumn semester of the 2020/2021 academic year begins at the University of Latvia and the Latvia University of Agriculture. According to the current situation in the country related to the restriction of Covid-19, it is planned that classes for all students will take place in person.

The announcement on the LLU website shows that the first-year students of the university will not participate in lectures on September 1, but will meet at the Matriculation Act, which will take place in the yard of Jelgava Castle and is an annual university tradition. Classes for freshmen will start tomorrow, September 2, while students of all senior courses are welcome in lectures from today.

At the same time, the University of Latvia has developed regulations for the implementation of epidemiological safety measures in order to be able to organize the study process in person. As announced in the announcement on the website of the University of Latvia, in order to exclude the simultaneous gathering of large groups of students in classrooms and common areas, studies in undergraduate study programs are planned with a time lag.

Studies in auditoriums and laboratories are allowed to be organized in groups of no more than 50 students, excluding teaching staff and service staff. It has also been decided that in such a case the requirement of a distance of two meters between students may be disregarded. However, a distance of two meters in the classrooms must be ensured between the students and the lecturer. On the other hand, if the classes take place simultaneously for several groups of students, the distance between the groups is also ensured.

According to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (SPKC), of the eight Covid-19 infections detected last day, four have returned from abroad – Russia, Greece, Ukraine and Belarus. Meanwhile, all three Covid-19 cases detected on August 30 were related to return from abroad, including Russia, Germany and France, the SPKC informed.

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