Letter to academic community
Created: 27. 3. 2020 from Vysoká škola uměleckoprůmyslová v Praze

Dear students, teachers, and employees,

Two weeks have passed since our school closed due to emergency measures against the spread of the coronavirus. Last time, we only sent out decisions addressing the minimum operation of the school and distance learning. Allow me now to greet you after two weeks in a less formal tone and in this difficult time wish you firm health and much physical and mental strength.

 As far as I know, to date, none of our students or employees have COVID-19, although some of us have been quarantined. We are in contact even with students on internships abroad. Interning students in the most vulnerable countries returned to the Czech Republic, and others can participate in distance learning at partner schools.

 From the media, you probably know that UMPRUM's limited operations will take several weeks. The government published information that the closing of schools will be one of the last measures to be lifted, probably at the turn of May and June. Our ministry declares that it wants to prevent (an economically demanding) extension of studies and that it does not count on shortening the summer holidays.

 The management of UMPRUM is considering different scenarios for ending the semester. Meanwhile, we expect intensive teaching of practical and theoretical disciplines in June and early July and will extend the regular exam period into the summer. We will most likely postpone finals and the master's thesis defense to September. Graduation will take place at the end of October.

 The entrance exams for the fields of Architectural Design and Theory and History of Modern and Contemporary Art are planned for early July.

 However, it is not yet possible to exclude the fact that universities may not open until September. In this case, we would need to prepare another emergency scenario.

 I am very pleased and moved to receive news that students, graduates and UMPRUM staff are participating in various volunteer activities, especially sewing face masks, but also caring for the elderly. I am proud of everyone involved and thank them very much. I would also like to thank all UMPRUM staff and students for supporting our efforts to keep the school running, especially for the positive attitude towards the non-standard forms of teaching. In particular, I would like to thank my colleagues who are personally present at the school and are in charge of its basic functions during this difficult time.

 I do not want to go into unnecessary wisdom, but like many of you, I think of the current quarantine as a chance. We have fallen out of our stereotypes and have given up various activities that from a small step back seem to be unnecessary. We may have become sharply aware of what is really important to us and what are just the trivialities of the day. Let us use the silence around us for internal cleansing. Let us devote our efforts to those creative activities that we have neglected in our everyday hustle and bustle.

 My warmest greetings to you all.

 

Jindřich Vybíral

Rektor of UMPRUM