Students at the University of Passau could again be forced to attend lectures from home in the winter semester – not because of the coronavirus pandemic, but because of the impending gas shortage.
The university management recently wrote to its students that the war in Ukraine is also affecting the university in the form of massively increased energy costs. “Against this background, the winter semester 2022/2023 is characterized by uncertainty with regard to the heat and power supply – and thus also to the question of whether and how we will be able to maintain face-to-face operations.”
When asked by the German Press Agency, a spokeswoman added that the path to virtual teaching would be a step “that we want to avoid as far as possible for didactic and psychosocial reasons.”
A task force is dealing with various scenarios, but these depend to a large extent on which decisions are made by the state, according to the university. The administration is also working on savings measures and precautions to ensure the longest possible energy supply.
Other Bavarian universities declare that they are not dealing with a return to virtual teaching due to energy prices – at least not yet. “The outstanding importance of university research and the high quality of academic teaching, both of which depend to a large extent on direct exchange, must be safeguarded even with rising energy costs,” writes the University of Regensburg, for example, in response to a dpa request. It is planned to enable research and teaching in person.
The University of Augsburg is also planning this and adds that “from our point of view, a digital semester only transfers heating costs to the students, i.e. a group that often has very little financial means and has already suffered a lot from the digital semesters in the pandemic Has.” The Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg also wants to continue to operate in person and justifies this with lessons learned from the pandemic.
Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg also want to teach on-site – in Munich the decision to have on-site teaching has “so far” not been revised, it is said, in Bamberg on-site teaching is “currently” out of the question placed.
But even with face-to-face teaching, the universities are thinking about how they can save energy. This involves, for example, limiting room temperatures or raising awareness among employees and students. Much is still being worked out at the moment. Specifically, the University of Augsburg decided to close its buildings for two weeks at the turn of the year.
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