It can be said with certainty that not only the academic community of Charles University, but also the general public, cannot understand why university teachers and staff, of whom there are approx. 11,000 at Charles University, have been forgotten in the vaccination process. We fully understood the need for priority vaccination to protect the most vulnerable groups of people – senior citizens and healthcare workers, fire-fighters and policemen – and at the same time waited very patiently for our colleagues at primary and secondary schools to be vaccinated.
Universities are now, finally, partially restarting teaching. We have ahead of us entrance exams, state final exams and other everyday activities. We must function, but at the same time the state is not letting us do so and is failing to protect us!
I consider this a further example of inadequate planning and underestimation of the importance of education, which is, according to the government’s proclamations, a priority! When does the government expect universities to open fully to all students in all years if teachers have not been vaccinated?
We have lost a lot of time – it is already certain that, despite all the effort CU is prepared to exert to renew and offer teaching at all 17 faculties, we will not be able to fully and satisfactorily compensate for the absence of practical tuition. While we will do our utmost to ensure that students miss as little as possible, they will not be able to replace what they would have gained under normal conditions and during normal operation, despite the extension of the summer semester, which has already been implemented by some faculties.
I therefore expect that the Ministry of Health and the Government to prioritise university teachers so as to allow their vaccination from the beginning of May. We are prepared to assist in the rapid resolution of this situation in order to prevent further irreparable harm to university education.
Prof. MUDr. Tomáš Zima, DrSc., Rector of Charles University