Let’s stay on course!

End of the winter semester, revision and exams. What will the next few weeks look like for UNIL students? The answers from Giorgio Zanetti, vice-rector in charge of « Teaching ».

Giorgio Zanetti (Félix Imhof © UNIL).

The end of the semester is in sight. How does it look like?

We are lucky enough to be able to finish this semester on 23 December as it started, with in-class teaching. The courses will not be given on the 24th, which is a day off. The other good news is that we can also envisage the winter exam session in person, from 14 January to 5 February 2022. The decisions taken by our cantonal and federal authorities allow us this optimism. This is in line with the wishes of the UNIL management and we are happy about it.

Between now and the end of the year, a number of graduation ceremonies have been scheduled. Will they continue to take place ‘in person’?

These events will be able to take place in person, without any particular restriction of the capacity of the rooms. Everyone is still required to wear a mask, as is the COVID certificate (or the cantonal certificate for students). However, the aperitifs are unfortunately cancelled.

A system of pooled tests is already in operation at UNIL. It allows students to obtain a cantonal certificate giving access to courses and the library. Are there any adaptations planned for the end-of-year holiday period and for revisions?

One of the current test stations will be moved to the Unithèque, where it will be available to people who wish to use it to access the Cantonal and University Library for their revision work. If the demand for these tests increases, for example during exams, we will be ready to meet it.

The COVID certificate will be required to enter the rooms where the exams are held. Will the cantonal certificate also give access?

Yes. However, to be absolutely clear, students who do not have either the certificate or the cantonal attestation will not be able to take the exams. This is a requirement of the cantonal regulations to which we are subject. These people would find themselves in a situation of unjustified absence, and therefore failure of the test in question.

Are there any exceptions for people in quarantine?

No. This case constitutes a just reason for the withdrawal of one or more exams, as explained in a directive from the Directorate available online. Moreover, these withdrawals should not cost the affected students a semester or even a year. In some cases, alternative solutions foreseen in the Faculty regulations, such as the possibility of a retake, will avoid this. If nothing of the sort exists, the faculties concerned will apply ad hoc solutions.

Spot checks of the COVID certificate or the cantonal attestation take place at UNIL. Will they also take place in the examination rooms?

As is already the case today, random checks will take place during the examination period. But there is no question of these being organised while students are immersed in their exams. You will not be disturbed at that time!

What can be done to ensure that the exam session goes ahead without a nasty surprise, which is always possible in these uncertain times?

If we have been able to maintain the face-to-face courses and if we can envisage the exams on the same model, it is thanks to all the people who have played the game, and in particular those – very many – who have been vaccinated and whom we thank. Despite the weariness, we can keep our momentum by maintaining our course with the barrier measures, in particular by wearing the mask correctly and disinfecting our hands regularly. And of course, I encourage those who are not vaccinated to take the step, and those who are to supplement with a booster as soon as it is appropriate and possible.

It’s foolhardy to make predictions several weeks out, but what does the start of the new school year look like?

There is a good chance that the spring semester will start on 21 February 2022 in the same way as the current semester ends. It is not impossible that we will be in the downward phase of the current wave, whatever its height. But this remains a hypothesis for the moment!