Ben-Gurion University Announces Hybrid Teaching Plan for Upcoming School Year

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev will adopt a hybrid teaching model, which will combine teaching in classrooms with online classes for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year, the University’s administration announced Wednesday night in a letter to students. The letter outlined the plan for resuming classes and campus life in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic on October 18, 2020.

“We believe it is of the utmost importance to invest the resources which will enable students to return to the city and the campus, while adhering to guidelines and doing everything we can to mitigate the spread of the pandemic. We believe that, by behaving responsibly with respect to the health of everyone who walks through the campus gates, and in recognition of the importance of physical attendance on campus for the learning process, the student experience and the creation of a vibrant academic atmosphere, we can create a hybrid academic year,” BGU Rector Prof. Chaim Hames, BGU President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz and VP and Director-General David Bareket wrote.

All activities on campus will be held in accordance with the Ministry of Health guidelines at the time, which will determine how many students can study together in a single classroom.

On the assumption that up to 20 students will be allowed in a classroom at a time, there will be three options:

·         Classes with up to 20 students enrolled will be held on campus as usual in classrooms that will allow for physical distancing.

·         For classes with more than 20 students, an app will be developed to allow up to 20 students who wish to register to attend that week’s class on campus to do so. The rest of the class will attend class online simultaneously. To that end, web cameras will be installed in the classrooms.

·         Some classes will be held entirely online.

·         If the necessity arises, all classes will be held online in a format similar to this past semester.

Since teaching online is not the same as teaching in person, additional training and forums will be made available to the faculty.

The University is working to create spaces for individual online learning on campus for students who do not have reliable internet access at home.

Research will continue full time on campus in the laboratories, in accordance with Health Ministry guidelines.

The University will also implement, in addition to the mandatory health declaration, a system of voluntary COVID-19 testing based on the University’s innovations. The purpose of which would be to detect any spikes in cases on campus or in the dormitories and be able to act swiftly in response. In addition, a tailor-made curriculum will be created for each student in a high-risk group who cannot return to campus.

Regarding campus life in accordance with Health Ministry guidelines:

·         The Administration and the Student Union are working on a plan for social activities to be held on campus.

·         Libraries and cafeterias will also be open.

·         Visitors will not be allowed on campus unless the corona coordinator gives permission.​