Announcement from the Rector on the Assembly Ban | University of Iceland Skip to main content
13/03/2020 - 17:10

Announcement from the Rector on the Assembly Ban

Jón Atli Benediktsson, rector of the University of Iceland, sent the following announcements to students and staff following the Official Assembly Ban.

To students

"Dear students,

The Minister of Health, Svandís Svavarsdóttir, today declared a four-week assembly ban, which will take effect on March 16th. This action was taken at the recommendation of the Chief Epidemiologist in order to impede the spread of COVID-19. Further information on the impact of the assembly ban can be found on the Department of Civil Protection website and students are urged to read it carefully.

What this means for the University of Iceland:

  • All teaching on University of Iceland premises is suspended for the duration of the assembly ban.
  • The University will do its utmost to ensure that online learning will now replace of on-campus learning so that you are able to continue your studies and complete the spring semester.
  • Generally, vocational and clinical training is suspended and decisions about arrangements for internships will be taken at the school level. Further information will be provided soon.
  • All buildings will be closed. Students will not have access to University buildings.
  • PhD students will have the same level of access to buildings as staff.
  • It is important to respect the assembly ban in order to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Students are urged to collect their belongings from the university’s buildings before they are closed at midnight on March 15th if they wish to do so. Students' access cards will work up to that point. To contact the on-shift building manager call 834 6512.
  • For courses in which teaching has been predominantly on campus, teachers and other staff have been working hard to reorganise teaching online. This is a huge challenge that the University is well prepared to face.
  • To begin with, emphasis will be placed on uploading lectures and course materials online that is not already available; this will continue to be the University's focus over the next days and weeks.
  • Much of the University’s teaching is already digital and/or online, e.g., lectures, your communication with teachers, discussions, assignment submission, assessments, and more. Your teachers and other University staff will continue to introduce you to various digital solutions over the next days and weeks, and implement new solutions where necessary, not least concerning final examinations. Please make sure you read all messages for your teachers with further information.
  • A web chat service has been activated on the University website and it is possible to send messages outside office hours.
  • Support services from the Division of Information Technology will be available, but only over the phone or through digital channels. A web chat for the Division of Information Technology is available on the University website and their telephone number is 5254222. It is also possible to email help@hi.is

This an unprecedented situation. We ask you, dear students, to work with us in these vital efforts to ensure that disruption to learning at the University is minimised as far as possible.

I urge you to stay up to date with information on the special COVID-19 page on english.hi.is and, if you require more information, to get in touch using the web chat service on the University home page. The University's Emergency Response Board is now meeting daily and can be contacted via email at neydarstjorn@hi.is.

I urge you all to look out for one another, remain in contact with your fellow students and support one another in these unusual circumstances. We have every reason to believe that the difficulties we are now dealing with as a society are both manageable and temporary.

Best regards,
Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University of Iceland."

To staff

"Dear colleagues,

The Minister of Health, Svandís Svavarsdóttir, today declared a four-week assembly ban, which will take effect at midnight on 15 March. This action was taken at the recommendation of the Chief Epidemiologist in order to impede the spread of COVID-19. Further information on the general impact of the assembly ban can be found on the  Department of Civil Protection website and staff are urged to read it carefully.

What this means for the University of Iceland:

  • All teaching on University of Iceland premises is temporarily suspended.
  • University operations will be limited and only staff will have access to buildings. Staff who do not have an access card or a key can call 834 6512 to contact the on-shift building manager.
  • Icelandic Student Services cafés and all canteens will be closed.
  • It is absolutely vital to respect the assembly ban in order to reduce the risk of infection. This means you must not gather in groups, e.g. in the break rooms, open spaces or meeting rooms.
  • Specific work arrangements, i.e. whether you will work from home or on University premises, must be agreed with your manager.
  • Those planning to work from home may take monitors, docking stations, and keyboards from their own work station.
  • Managers will organise arrangements that minimise contact in cases where staff members share offices or work in open spaces. More detailed information will be sent to managers today, who will then organise the work of their units in accordance with the information provided.
  • Support services from the Division of Information Technology will be available, but only over the phone or online. There is a web chat service on the University website and their telephone number is 525 5550.
  • All meetings should be conducted using web conferencing software, such as Zoom or Teams, as far as possible.
  • Many implications of the ban are still unclear and we do not have all the answers yet. We rely on the judgement of our staff and managers to solve issues that may arise in concordance with these instructions.

This is an unprecedented situation but I know that we will all stand together to face this enormous challenge and ensure that the disruption to University operations is minimised as far as possible. For example, the University will do its utmost to ensure that online learning will now take the place of on-campus learning in order that students are able to continue their studies and complete the semester. I have already sent students an email on this subject.

I urge you to stay up to date with information on the special COVID-19 page on english.hi.is and, if you require more information, to get in touch using the web chat service on the University home page. The University's Emergency Response Board is now meeting daily and can be contacted via email at neydarstjorn@hi.is.

I urge you all to look out for one another, keep in touch with your colleagues, and support each other in these unusual circumstances. We have every reason to believe that the difficulties we are now dealing with as a society are both manageable and temporary.

Best regards,
Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University of Iceland." 

""