Dear Colleagues, Employees, Students,
It’s evident that the crisis brought on by the coronavirus epidemic is gradually ebbing, and our society, the Czech Republic, and all of Europe are slowly getting back to normal life.
For Palacký University Olomouc the last two months have represented a real stress test, which has subjected management of the university, faculties, central units, dormitories and dining halls to extreme organisational strain, and often to improvised and circumstance-forced emergency measures. This is also true of many rank-and-file employees who have had to safeguard the operations of their workplaces, for academics who have had to learn on the fly how to teach on-line, and for all our students, whose studies have been complicated in a real way, including for many their return home abroad. Despite all, it seems that we have managed the situation well (at least so far) and the university can begin to open its doors under a restricted regime for those students who need to fulfil their study requirements this semester. I beg you to please follow the strict hygienic measures and always remember that by doing so you are not only protecting yourself, but also your colleagues – many of whom fall into risk groups. We’re far from out of this yet, so it’s better to err on the side of caution. At the same time, we have to do everything we can to renew standard conditions and normal life. For example, in a matter of a few days we will have to resolve whether and under what conditions to open the university’s nursery school.
In several places, I’ve already thanked our student and academic volunteers from all faculties for their sacrifices, and also our scientists, who have significantly helped the country in testing the Czech populace. Here I would like to repeat my thanks to them once again. This crisis has proved without a doubt that the university and its research facilities are part of the fundamental and essential strategic infrastructure of the state – and recognised as such by the Government of the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Education, and the Government Council for Science, Research and Innovation. And of course, I must not fail to mention the workers at our dormitories and dining halls, who though not trained for this, have shown real sacrifice and drive during the course of the complicated situation of instituting a quarantine regime at the dormitories. And my admiration also goes out to the employees of the university library, who despite all restrictions have been able to maintain services to the utmost extent possible.
Exams, admissions, and graduation ceremonies this year will take place under quite unusual conditions, and for the most part on unusual dates. We have been able however to show adequate flexibility in a difficult situation. The main goal is to provide students in the given circumstances the most comfortable deadlines and conditions for taking exams, and this includes prospective students. A good measure of tolerance and benevolence will nevertheless be certainly required on the part of both sides.
Have we learned anything new during the last two months? Based on my personal feelings, I’d have to say that the best survey takes into consideration the high level of creativity, flexibility, solidarity and good will, which has assured me that despite occasional vexations, arguments and conflicts, the world remains in basically good shape. I am also convinced that the spirit of community and university comradery is something important for the majority of us. And this is the survey upon which we ought to build and which has the potential to carry us through whatever challenges the future may bring. In short: In the last two months, we have demonstrated excellent teamwork.
Once again, my thanks to all of you.