With the wind howling outside, the deserted halls of CBS’ main campus Solbjerg Plads are even creepier. The library is empty. The canteen has shut. The chairs outside Café Nexus, which are always buzzing with students chatting, are empty. Only a few people with bags and backpacks are walking about in the halls to get whatever equipment they need to work from home.
On the evening of March 11, Denmark’s Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen (S), announced that parts of Denmark, including universities, schools, museums and bars, will be closed for the coming weeks in order to avoid spreading the coronavirus.
Anne Mette Hou, Head of Student Affairs, is one of the few at work. In the early morning of Thursday March 12, she met with the operative team and the other heads of departments in the Study Administration to discuss the situation and what to do. What to do about exams, what to do about teaching and how to help the students.
“I didn’t get much sleep last night, I must say,” she says and continues:
“My team includes all the people in daily contact with students on study-related matters. So, when the phone lines opened at 09:30 AM, we had 59 calls within the first 16 minutes, because students are worried about teaching, exams and deadlines for handing in theses.”
As Anne Mette Hou explains, the students are asking whether their classes have been cancelled, if they can take exams, and whether deadlines for handing in theses remain unchanged.
“At the moment, everybody in the Study Administration is working hard to find answers to all these questions. But most importantly, we are trying to make teaching and exams work. We are compiling information on MyCBS to all the full-time students that will explain it all. For example, oral exams will probably be on Skype,” she says.
Before Wednesday March 11, teachers had started running classes online. Anne Mette Hou mentions a teacher on HA Almen who held a lecture from his kitchen for 700 students the other day.
“Some things may be cancelled because it hasn’t been possible to find a proper technical solution for converting the classes into an online format, but all this is something we are working on right now,” she says, and asks students to keep checking MyCBS, Canvas and Digital Exam for information to keep themselves updated.
And students are not the only ones asking what to do and how. Staff members in Anne Mette Hou’s team have also run into obstacles they had never considered before. For example, the phones that StudentHub’s staff answer are stationary.
“This is one of the more peculiar challenges, because do we just take them home with us, or do we need to install them somehow? But we are working hard with IT to find a solution to that too,” she says.
How is the coronavirus shutdown at CBS affecting your work and study? Let us know, and we will write about how people at CBS are coping with the situation that we must all get used to in the coming weeks.