Dear Semmelweis Citizens,
Medical and health science training is inconceivable without practical training and exams. For this very reason, after the hybrid training system introduced at Semmelweis University so far in response to the current pandemic, from 11 May 2021 – the effective date of the modification of Rector-Chancellor Directive E/21/2020. (XI.26.) – theoretical and practical training and examinations may only take place through attendance in person. This is enabled, besides the steady decline of new confirmed Covid cases, by the fact that 100% of the staff members of the University’s Clinical Centre and more than 95% of the students directly involved in patient care, are immunised, i.e. they have taken the vaccine or contracted, and recovered from, the Coronavirus infection. This is said because on the basis of the vaccination plan of the National Public Health Centre healthcare professionals and others working in the healthcare system, medical students and others participating in medical tertiary education were among the first ones to receive the vaccine against the Coronavirus.
The processes involved healthcare, education/training, research and their background support may be heavily impeded or obstructed by the lack of attendance in practice therefore I instruct managers exercising rights of the employer to take immediate action regarding temporary work from home (home office) enabled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; from this point on such working arrangement may only be permitted on the basis of special equitable considerations.
Given the necessity of prioritising safety in terms of the current pandemic and in view of the fact that the activities and jobs of employees and students of Semmelweis University require extensive personal interactions (e.g. patient care, education, practical training activities, meetings with partners and visitors), only holders of any of the following documents of immunity may enter University buildings, and/or participate in examinations, upon showing such documents:
valid immunity certificate
ambulant form certifying vaccination (even the document proving the first vaccination in the case of new entrants)
ambulant form certifying contraction of, and recovery from, coronavirus infection within the last 12 months
Students and employees without such valid immunity documents shall have a negative antigen test result, issued not more than one day before entering. The University provides for the performance of antigen tests for its citizens free of charge until 2 July 2021. From 3 July 2021 PCR/antigen tests will be performed for a charge for Semmelweis Citizens who have not been vaccinated.
The availability of documents that can be accepted in Hungarian, English or German versions may be checked by the employees of the Security Directorate at any of the entrance reception desks or inside the University buildings.
In the case of classes, examinations (oral, written, practical exams) and work, involving attendance in person, the epidemiological protective measures must also be strictly adhered to in addition to the above, including the keeping of the 1.5 metre social distance and wearing face masks. Rooms in the buildings of Semmelweis University will continue to be disinfected and thoroughly cleaned.
Ever since the first break-out of the epidemic Semmelweis University has – as is worthy of a leading Central European medical and health science university – always been leading the fight against the Coronavirus using all means at its disposal. One of the most important elements of combating the epidemic in Hungary has been the national representative Coronavirus (H-UNCOVER) testing lead by the University and implemented with the participation of the Central Statistical Office and with the support of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology. When it became necessary last March we made a smooth transition to online training and education; indeed, we even created the necessary conditions and requisites for practical training sessions. In the very first moment of the epidemic we set up an Epidemiological Board at the University; we have been providing all University citizens with PCR tests free of charge since the spring of 2020. Thanks to these efforts we have been able to hold doctors’ inauguration ceremonies, graduation ceremonies and academic year opening ceremonies for our students, with attendance in person, even though these were privately held events. To ensure the safety of our employees and students while at work the University citizens were provided with reusable jubilee textile masks, courtesy of the Semmelweis University Foundation. We were the first university in Hungary to launch an online portal for communicating Coronavirus information at semmelweis.hu where it is also shown, on a daily updated counter, that Semmelweis University’s staff members had administered more than 236 thousand doses of Coronavirus vaccines by 9 May 2021. The University performs the vaccination of the staff members of hospitals and healthcare units (e.g. general practitioners, family paediatricians, dentists and their assistants) and the National Ambulance Service, along with inmates of old people’s homes, as ordered by the Government. The vaccination of people entitled to the vaccine, based on general practitioners’ referrals has been underway since 4 February 2021, while that of pregnant women has been underway since 27 March 2021.
Although the epidemic is slowing down, it does not mean that the pandemic is over; it is time, however, to start returning to our normal lives. The only solution to this end is people taking up the vaccine.
Semmelweis University offers a direct appointment booking function on the following website portal for all of its citizens who have not been vaccinated yet. (Please note that you also have to register on https://vakcinainfo.gov.hu/ in order to receive the vaccine!)
Finally, I wish to say thanks to the workers of the University’s Clinical Centre, the students who contributed by voluntary work to the efforts of any healthcare organisation in Hungary while continuing with their studies, as well as the teachers and instructors for their flexibility with online classes and classes with attendance in person as well as the employees of the directorates general and the directorates for sparing no effort to help with the tasks necessitated by the Coronavirus epidemic. Everyone’s quick response and everyone’s holding their ground in extraordinary situations and in the face of changing circumstances is proof of the aptitude and expertise of both Semmelweis University and You All!
10 May 2021
Dr. Béla Merkely
Translation: Department of Languages for Specific Purposes