Czech government declares state of emergency in response to coronavirus

17. 3. 2020 | News

coronavirus pandemicThe government of the Czech Republic has declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus epidemic. Extensive measures are being put in place to stop the spread of the virus, including travel restrictions and the closure of sports facilities, galleries, and libraries. Schools including Czech universities will be shut down until further notice.

New emergency measures will be enforced from 14:00 on March 12, 2020 onwards. In light of this decision and under the advisement of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, the Czech National Agency for International Education (DZS) implements the following measures:

  • All new international mobilities financed by programmes administered by DZS will be put on hold. This concerns all types of mobilities, e.g. for pupils, students, academic and non-academic staff as well as other professionals working in the education field.
  • Foreign students who are currently staying in the Czech Republic are advised to contact the sending institution or embassy.

A special regime will be introduced on the country’s borders with Austria and German from midnight on Friday. Under those restrictions people will only be able to enter or leave Czech territory via 11 border crossings. Foreigners from high-risk countries will be banned from entering the country and Czech nationals will be prohibited from travelling to high-risk destinations. The interior ministry will stop issuing all visas until further notice.

Earlier this week, the National Security Council has decided to close all primary and secondary schools and universities as of Wednesday to try to contain the spread of coronavirus. The measure concerns students of public, private and state universities as well as students studying in foreign higher education programs carried out under the Higher Education Act in the Czech Republic by foreign higher education providers (foreign higher education institutions and domestic legal entities working with them).

Prohibition of personal presence of students in the university premises includes both teaching (e.g. in the form of lectures, seminars or consultations) and taking examinations. Higher education institutions can use the tools of distance education. In the case of state examinations, it is recommended to assess the situation individually.

Regarding possible practices and other activities taking place outside the university buildings, the university itself should assess, according to their nature, which ones should be restricted, and which should not. Similarly, it is up to the Rector to decide what measures to take towards the dormitories and other special-purpose facilities of the university.

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