Ladies and Gentlemen,
in view of the increasing number of infections in the country and out of concern for the safety of all members of the University of Silesia community, I would like to remind you the most important pieces of information related to the information on University operation due to COVID-19.
Table of contents:
- risk level;
- information on the work of the COVID-19 Team of the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland;
- mandatory face masks;
- survey on vaccination for students;
- rules of conduct in the case of suspected infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus;
- PCR tests;
- third dose of vaccination;
- organisation of events and conferences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The University operates under the first security level for the prevention against COVID-19 (the so-called yellow level). Detailed information about the introduced safety measures can be found on: https://us.edu.pl/uczelnia/status-zabezpieczen-covid-19/.
We analyse infection data in our community on a daily basis and do not rule out implementing further security measures (including changes to the threat level adopted at the University and the resulting restrictions on on-site teaching).
For now, we should focus on following and promoting elementary safety rules – especially covering the nose and mouth, disinfecting regularly and maintaining distance, and expecting the same from all members of our community. Fostering a sense of responsibility for oneself and others is crucial, especially by encouraging vaccination.
Information on the work of the COVID-19 Team of the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland
The University Crisis Management Team for the COVID-19 pandemic is monitoring the situation and is in constant contact with the CRASP COVID-19 Team, which includes all public universities. The university policy on on-site classes was discussed at the meeting of the regional coordinators of CRASP attended by the representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science on 17 November.
The analysis of the national data, which clearly indicates that the state of vaccination in the academic environment is higher than in the general public, justifies maintaining the current policy of conducting classes on site – with a partial switch to the remote mode in case of a temporary need resulting from the numbers of infections.
At the University of Silesia, it is mandatory to wear face masks in all common areas, including classrooms, subject only to the following exceptions:
- a lecturer, as well as a student (and a doctoral student), may be exempted from covering their mouth and nose while speaking,
- meetings in small groups (up to 5 people) may be held without covering the mouth and nose, provided that all participants agree.
Please feel free to tell any members of the community who do not comply with the order to do so. Our primary goal is to build a sense of shared responsibility for the health of the entire community.
On the initiative of the COVID-19 Team of the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland, an anonymous survey is being conducted among the students of our community regarding their views on COVID-19 vaccination. It is a nationwide survey and its content was agreed with the Students’ Parliament of the Republic of Poland and the Ministry of Education and Science. To take part in the survey you need to log in to USOS and complete the survey by 28 November at the latest. We strongly encourage you to express your opinion in this survey and thus support the academic community in developing optimal organisational strategies, based on reliable knowledge about the attitudes of students at the University.
Information about the campaign of the Polish Students’ Parliament and the National Representation of PhD Students called Tydzień informacji o szczepionkach (Vaccine Information Week) is available at https://us.edu.pl/student/komunikaty/tydzien-informacji-o-szczepionkach/
The rules of conduct in the case of suspicion of Sars-Cov-2 virus infection have been updated. They are different for each group (academic teachers, non-academic staff, students, doctoral students, and residents of student residence halls). We encourage you to familiarise yourself with the rules of conduct that apply at the University https://us.edu.pl/en/uczelnia/status-zabezpieczen-covid-19/
The rules specify what to do in the event of feeling unwell and being infected with the virus, who to report it to, and what should be done about those in your immediate vicinity. The internally adopted rules also take into account how data is reported to the District Sanitary Inspectorate and indicate who makes decisions regarding the provision of work.
According to information received in the past days from the Sanitary Inspectorate, in case of contact with an infected person, vaccinated persons are exempted from quarantine.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the University has cooperated with entities performing paid testing for SARS-CoV-2 and referred at-risk university employees to the appropriate private entities. However, at present, the prevalence and direct access to the free testing opportunity has increased such that the University does not see the need to extend existing contracts. In the event of exposure to the virus, we recommend laboratory testing by ‘Real Time PCR’ via the following steps:
- Individuals who suspect they are infected with COVID-19 can sign up for testing via the online form at https://www.gov.pl/web/gov/zapisz-sie-na-test-na-koronawirusa.
- After filling in the form, you will be able to make an appointment for a swab via an online form or by speaking to a consultant.
- To obtain an online referral, you will need to log in via your trusted profile and complete another form. The referral will be issued automatically within one hour.
- You will receive an SMS when the referral for the test has been issued. If there is an available appointment in your area, the message will suggest a place and time. If not, you will be sent a link to the e-Kolejka system, where you can choose a place and date for the swab yourself. If you are given a specific date for the swab, please arrive on time to avoid queuing.
- Once a test for SARS-CoV-2 has been ordered, the quarantine is started. If the test result is positive, the quarantine will change to home isolation. In this case, you should contact your primary care physician, who will assess your condition and determine further treatment. If the test result is negative, the quarantine will be lifted.
For detailed information (infographics) on what steps to take at the university if you suspect infection with Sars-CoV-2, please see https://us.edu.pl/en/uczelnia/status-zabezpieczen-covid-19.
On 2 November, the age limit for people who wish to receive a third COVID-19 vaccination was removed. Currently, all adults can do so 6 months after being fully vaccinated.
For this purpose, you can use the e-registration system available at pacjent.gov.pl.
The University also offers assistance in the process of scheduling the vaccination. Registration for eligible persons has been launched at formularze.us.edu.pl/szczepienia_covid_3. Those who register via the form may choose one of three vaccination centres in Katowice, Sosnowiec, and Ustroń, where the Pfizer vaccine will be available. The appointment date for the vaccination with the 3rd dose should be agreed upon personally with the vaccination centre. Contact details below:
- Katowice: Centrum Medyczne Polmed, ul. Dąbrówki 10, tel. 601 484 547 – open between 9.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m.
- Sosnowiec: Provincial Specialist Hospital No. 5 in Sosnowiec, ul. Medyków 1, tel. 32 368 22 55;
- Ustroń: Salus Medical Centre, ul. Pod Skarpą 6, tel. 507 081 323, (vaccinations on Tuesdays and Fridays).
Those who do not have a PESEL number (foreigners) will be asked to provide their passport or foreign ID number during registration. Individuals who have received two doses of the vaccine outside of Poland must meet the requirements set out in Announcement No. 13 of the Minister of Health on the recognition of vaccination against COVID-19 carried out outside the Republic of Poland and the issuance of the EU COVID-19 Certificate (UCC) before receiving the third dose. Details should be agreed with the vaccination centre.
Academics who will have a vaccination appointment scheduled during class should inform the relevant degree programme director and discuss with them an alternative date or form of classes. Non-academic staff who will have their vaccination appointment scheduled during working hours have the option of excusing their absence from work by submitting a request for leave of absence for the time necessary to carry out the vaccination. The request has to be signed by the intimidate supervisor and submitted to the Department of Personal and Social Affairs along with the attendance record for the month.
If you have any questions, please contact the Coordinator for Vaccination (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
At the first level of security against COVID-19, which is currently in place at the University, the organisation of academic events and conferences is permitted provided that the security measures in place are respected. The organiser of the event or conference should consult the chair of the COVID-19 Crisis Management Team email@example.com) about the specific organisational conditions and present a so-called security scenario. In accordance with the guidelines set out by the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage in the case of academic events, it is necessary to appoint a so-called health coordinator for the event.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, the next epidemic wave, despite the protection in the form of a vaccine, is a serious challenge affecting our lives and work. All the more so as we are worn out by a threat that has lasted almost two years. I therefore ask you to get vaccinated with a booster shot, to promote vaccination, and to follow the advice to cover your mouth and nose.
I hope to see you in the new semester at a university where all classes are held safely, face to face.
Rector of the University of Silesia in Katowice