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President Astrid Söderbergh Widding: Stockholm University during the corona crisis

The new coronavirus is shaking up everyday life for us all. The foundation of the University’s crisis management is the recommendations of the Government and the Public Health Agency of Sweden, whose current assessment is that there are clear signs that the coronavirus is spreading within Swedish society.

This means, for the University’s staff, that everyone is encouraged to work from home as far as possible, after consultation with your line manager, and that no international travel in the context of work may be made.

Today, we have also made the decision to reorient the entire University to online education to the extent that our study programmes allow – and many departments have already done this. Our most important responsibility is our students and their education – we want to be able to offer them, as far as possible, adequate online alternatives to campus education. It is not least important to be able to offer examinations so that students can be given their credits on time. It is also important that education at the postgraduate level should work – we already have good experience of using digital channels for thesis defence. 

The situation is extraordinary and places great demands on all of us to be able to carry on our usual operations. It is unreal to see the campus, in the middle of the semester, almost as empty as during the summer holidays. But it is important to remember: we are not closing the University – we are switching to other ways of working.

I would like to thank everyone who is spending their time and effort managing the crisis! Our researchers who contribute knowledge. All managers and staff, at the departments and within the University’s administration, who with patience and flexibility answer questions and find solutions. Our students, who, in the midst of concern for their own studies, for study funding and student housing, adapt so well to the rapidly changing situation. None of us know how long the crisis will last. It requires perseverance and good judgment from all of us – and care for each other.

Astrid Söderbergh Widding


March 16, 2020

Astrid Söderbergh Widding
Photo: Eva Dalin