Message to UNITECH Community concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19)
26 Mar 2020 in The Network by David Ward
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting all aspects of our lives and is bringing new challenges every day. Among those challenges are its impact on the UNITECH community and on the UNITECH Programme itself.
As a member of the international community, UNITECH is taking responsibility to fight against the spread of the virus
The situation was a major topic of discussion during the March Meetings over the last few days, and two key areas were addressed – the impact on students’ progress in their academic exchange and internships, and the General Assembly Week set up for the last week of August at Politecnico di Milano.
The discussions of the interruptions to semesters and internships led to a determination by the Board, the Academic and Corporate Partners to take actions that will ensure the continuation of a great UNITECH experience for all through:
- flexibility and understanding concerning the credit requirements for UNITECH Graduation
- the continuation of the Programme to ensure that students can still have the fullest possible UNITECH experience.
Following the various discussions about the feasibility of a large-group event in August in Milan, the UNITECH Board took the decision at this point to stop the onsite GA Week 2020 and to transform the majority of the activities to online events.
With this decision, we can protect the health of the UNITECH community and all organisations that we deal with, and we create clarity and confidence as early as possible about the UNITECH event journey.
UNITECH is a flexible organisation and is able to find innovative solutions in challenging times. The investment into a virtual GA demonstrates our innovation power in exploring new ways of learning and collaboration, and leading into an increasingly more digital world while maintaining the unique UNITECH spirit.
This decision was based on the unpredictability of when clarity about the opening up of any location for a large gathering would be known and whether international travel would become possible. In addition, in order to develop an alternative solution, a sensible period of planning period is required.
All of this change will be complex. Work has already begun. The Board has formed a COVID19 working group. This group has representatives of all sub-groups (CPs, APs, Students and Alumni) who will reach out and gather input from the UNITECH Network on various topics (policies on visitors & travel and other topics). The group’s aim is to assess the landscape for 2020 and provide recommendations to the Board on how to proceed with the UNITECH calendar in the context of Corona Virus.
The first phase is the establishing of the various scenarios for students affected by the constraints related to the coronavirus and the development of contingency arrangements for credits. Where academic exchanges have been interrupted, we are taking actions to validate your semester. Students are being contacted now to gather details about their specific situations, and a set of solutions will soon be announced.
The Coaching Advisory Board met last Saturday and developed a framework for moving most of the activities of the GA Week to virtual platforms, and this new format will be detailed in the coming weeks. The intent was to ensure that the core development elements of the UNITECH Programme are continued and that new opportunities arising from the situation are explored and adopted.
The work in both areas will take time, so please bear with us. Further information will be made available as it develops.
In the meantime, please stay safe, maintain good health practices and take care of yourself and each other.
The UNITECH Board