Specifications regarding the process of teaching activities within George Emil Palade University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science, and Technology of Targu Mures May-September 2020 – extract for international students –

Considering:
• The decision for establishing measures to prevent and combat SARS-CoV-2 diseases in educational institutions, public institutions and all structures under the subordination or coordination of the Ministry of Education and Research issued by the Ministry of Education and Research No. 4.259 on 15 th of May 2020;
• The decisions of the Senate of “George Emil Palade” University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science and Technology of Târgu Mureș on 11th of March 2020, 9th-10th of April 2020 and 18th-19th of May 2020;
• The decisions of the Administrative Board of “George Emil Palade” University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science and Technology of Târgu Mureș regarding the teaching activity during the pandemic,

“George Emil Palade” University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science and Technology of Târgu Mureș issues the following specifications related to the process of teaching activities in Romania, during May-September 2020:

A. The teaching activity

  1. The teaching activity (courses, practical activities, seminars, applications, projects, etc.) will continue to be carried out online, until the completion of the current module, on 17th of June 2020.
  2. Between 18th-28th of June 2020, online assessments and other forms of examination will be carried out, according to the specifics of each discipline, similar to the activities carried out in the previous module.
  3. The final examination of students for the second semester of the academic year 2019/2020 will be carried out in accordance with the Senate Decision of UMFST on 9th-10 th of April 2020, in a single summative exam conducted on-site, which will include all subjects in the second semester.
    The examination of the students from the study programs of the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Dentistry, the Faculty of Pharmacy and the Faculty of Medicine in English (the programs carried out on the Romanian territory), will be conducted as follows:
    a. During the modules and in the intermediate sessions, periodic evaluations will be carried out, in line with the specifics of each subject, which will be part of the final grade according to the updated provisions of the regulations of each subject.
    b. The summative theoretical exams of the final evaluation will take place in the form of tests with single/multiple choice questions (MCQ) which can be associated with short essay questions that will be integrated in a single exam conducted between July-September 2020, for each year of study (similar to the way the licence/residency exam is organized).
    c. The schedule of failed examinations/re-examinations can be modified later, if necessary.
    d. The final assessment exams will take place over a period of 2-4 hours and will include, in the single test, a number of 150-180 questions, each subject having a number of questions proportional to the allocated number of ECTS of the total number of 30 ECTS that the semester requires.
    e. The questions will be divided into chapters corresponding to the involved subjects, the score obtained for the questions of each subject representing the score in the theoretical exam of the respective subject. The percentage of this score in the final grade will be in accordance with the decision of each discipline.
    f. In case of obtaining an insufficient score for passing the exam in a certain subject, the examination for that subject may be repeated as failed examination/re-examination, and the other subjects, for which a passing score has been obtained, will be considered promoted.
    g. Students who, during the academic year 2019/2020 recover subjects that were not completed in previous years of study, including those due to ERASMUS mobility, will participate in the exams organized for the years of study corresponding to these subjects, but will answer only the related questions of the subject to be recovered.
    h. The evaluation of the tests/questions will be carried out according to the residency evaluation.
    i. The date of the exams will be communicated at least 30 days before their organization. The schedule for failed examinations and re-examinations will be revised later, if required by the epidemiological context.
  4. The organization and the development of these exams, for each faculty, study program and year of study will be decided by each faculty, after consulting the student representatives, the exams can be scheduled between July and September. In case the number of students in a year of study is very high (e.g. Medicine), the exam can be taken by dividing the students into two series of exams.
  5. For international students, in order to eliminate their need to travel with the aim of taking the semester exams, it will be possible to organize an exam session, according to the rules provided in A3, in September, in the period preceding the opening of the new academic year 2020/2021, provided that this is the option of all international students in the year of study requesting this. Otherwise, the organization of the exams will be performed similarly to the other study programs.
  6. For international students who cannot attend the final summative exam, due to general legislative/administrative decisions in their country of origin or Romania, in the context of the current pandemic, a special session will be held, also in the form of a final summative exam, announced 30 days before. This category of students will be registered with missing credits in the next academic year.
  7. The solution of some particular situations will be done by the management of each faculty, within the general regulations existing at university level.
  8. For the scheduling of the exams, the students in the final years of study will have priority to opt for the first available days.
  9. The examinations will be carried out in strict compliance with the rules for the prevention and control of SARS-CoV-2 diseases in force:
    a. a minimum area of 4 sq m for each person and a minimum distance of 2 m between any two close people shall be provided in the examination rooms;
    b. access will not be allowed to people whose body temperature, measured at the entrance to the room, exceeds 37.3 C or who have respiratory symptoms;
    c. we will ensure the disinfection of the exposed surfaces, the avoidance of the agglomeration of people, of the areas to and from the examination room;
    d. students and supervisors will be required to wear a face mask;
    e. the cleaning and disinfection of the examination rooms will be ensured before and after each series of students;
    f. the room shall be ventilated before each examination for a period of 30 minutes;
    g. at the entrance to the examination room, medical devices with hand sanitizer will be provided.
  10. Students from the study programs in the field of Health will be able to pass to a higher year, exceptionally, with a maximum number of 15 remaining ECTS (compared to 10 remaining ECTS, at present) but keeping the barrier of zero remaining ECTS between the preclinical cycle and the clinical one – years III/IV, II/III (Pharmacy) respectively, where applicable. The measure is valid only for the academic year 2019-2020.
  11. For the speciality practice of the end-of-year studies and practical skills internships during the second semester of the 2019-2020 academic year, the following ways of equivalence will also be taken into account:
    a. carrying out the practical activities also in private practices and specialized outpatient clinics/ambulatories;
    b. recovery of practical activities in the Simulation Center, with a final evaluation.
  12. In order to have access to the re-examination sessions of exams, 28 ECTS are suficient (the rule of 30 ECTS is still applied, excepting just 2 ECTS for Practical Abilities).
  13. The failed examinations and re-examinations from the current academic year could be organized as a written test on-site or as an individual oral examination, as an online video conference. The interval of time and the organization of these assessements will be decided by each faculty.

B. The Bachelor’s Degree Examination/Licence Exam

  1. The bachelor’s degree examination will be organized by each faculty, according to a program decided by the faculty management together with the representatives of the final years, between July and September, in compliance with the rules for preventing and combating SARS-CoV-2 diseases in force, provided for in A9 above.
  2. The deadline for submitting the Licence Thesis will be decided by each faculty.
  3. The completion of the bachelor’s/licence thesis or other forms of graduation papers, for the final years of the study programs in the field of Health can also be in the form of systematic analyzes. The decision is valid for situations where the proposed experimental/clinical work cannot be performed due to epidemiological measures taken at the hospital level. In this case, the title of the dissertation may be changed. The measure is valid only for the academic year 2019-2020.
  4. The public presentation of the papers can be done on site or online, depending on the decision of each faculty.
  5. The management of each faculty will take organizational measures specific to each study program, within the existing general regulations at university level.

C. The Graduation ceremony

  1. Given the existing situation, at this time it seems unlikely that a joint graduation ceremony will be held for the entire university.
  2. The university management is currently considering two options:
    a. Conducting a graduation ceremony, separately for each study program, on-site, in health safety conditions similar to the conduct of exams, with only the participation of graduates and transmitted online;
    b. Conducting the graduation ceremony exclusively online through a streaming platform specially designed for this purpose.
  3. In any of the mentioned alternatives, which will be decided together with the graduates’ representatives, every effort will be made to have a festive moment of graduation, which will take place between 27 th- 31st of July 2020.

The university management had multiple discussions with students’ and teachers’ representatives and analyzed several possible proposals and scenarios to find the most appropriate solutions. Given the complexity of the problem, obviously none of the solutions analyzed could be ideal for the existing situation and could not receive unanimous acceptance. However, the proposal presented to the University Senate, on 9th-10th of April 2020, for the adoption of on-site examinations in the form of the summative exam (as is descriebed at A3), met the acceptance of a large majority of senators – 76.9% (with the favorable vote of 19 of the 21 senator students). In taking the decision, the following concerns played an important role:
• The preoccupation to make a real evaluation of the students, able to demonstrate the level of acquisition of the subjects from the second semester, but also a correct classification, which is not contestable and which does not create inequities later, when distributing budget/fee places and scholarships for the academic year 2020/2021.
• Avoidance of technical problems that may occur in an online assessment and that may compromise the exam; the direct impact of technical problems encountered during an exam is very different from that which may occur during an online course.
• Preventing situations in which some students, who do not have access to a personal computer or a constant internet network, could not have taken the exam.
• Avoiding any suspicions of inappropriate behavior during the exam, which could affect the correctness of the final grade, and which could not be controlled or prevented by the university, from distance.
• The need to have a uniform approach, at the level of the entire university.
• Minimizing the direct interaction between students on a single occasion.

The university is still concerned with the optimal organization of the activity, the safety of students and teachers, but also the maintenance of academic standards that do not undermine the efforts made during this period.
The measures taken are valid under the current circumstances of activity and could be changed if the national regulations determined by the evolution of the pandemic will require a different approach.

20th of May 2020

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