AMU INFO - Special COVID19 - n°9

Information letter from the President of Aix-Marseille University to the university community

Wednesday, April 22, 2020,

Special COVID-19 n°9 - For the attention of students

within the framework of the crisis management related to the COVID-19 pandemic: Recognition of work, support & solidarity, no automatic validation of the 2nd semester.

Dear students,
Dear all,

Beyond the numerous solidarity aids that Aix-Marseille University has put in place for its students, the commitment of the teaching teams to organise distance learning for the benefit of 80,000 students has been intense and the examination methods introduced are unprecedented.

Placing the student at the heart of the system, these exceptional procedures guarantee both legitimate recognition of the good work done by those students who are able to do so, and support for those students who are having the most difficulty in dealing with the health crisis. Without automatic validation of the semester.

While inaccurate information has been circulating since yesterday on this subject, it is important for me to officially bring you the clear and factual elements, fundamental for your future. We're here for you.
Take good care of yourselves.

1. Examination procedures

These examination procedures, for all AMU students, are included in an "Examination Guide", which was voted on - without any votes against - by the AMU political bodies concerned, on Monday 13 April 2020. This guide was drawn up by AMU's political teams in consultation with the 18 heads of faculties and schools, the student representatives of the various trade unions, the national network of training vice-presidents and the MESRI.

Three main principles, all shared by these actors, guided the design of the guide

  • to place the student at the heart of the reflection ;
  • to value and recognize the work done during the confinement when the e-learning conditions were good;
  • to support the students who have the most difficulties in the health crisis and to secure their pathways.

This guide now sets out the framework for the organisation of examinations, which each faculty and school of AMU will adopt according to its own specificities. Official communication to students is ensured by means of an e-mail from the Dean or Director to the students and posting on the website of the faculty or school. This guide is available here

What about the evaluations this semester? In summary :

  • The evaluation will be made of the work done this semester, before, during and after the lockdown. Only the grades obtained before the lockdown will be counted, as well as the grades obtained during the lockdown or after if they are higher than 10/20.
  • Then, the evaluation will be made of the work done during the confinement on different supports (reports, case analysis, etc...) mainly in continuous control.
  • The students who could not be evaluated during the crisis or who could not have satisfactory results - provided that they have validated their first semester - will pass to the next year and will be able to follow support courses. During these courses, they will be evaluated with kindness so that they can benefit from a mark. Concerning the details of these courses, several systems are still being studied to enable all willing students to succeed: two intensive weeks at the beginning of the school year, courses spread out over the semester, tutoring, etc. The important thing is that students should have the solid foundations necessary to follow the courses of the new semester in which they will be enrolled at the beginning of the school year, without being drowned by the workload.

Thus, AMU does not neutralize the semester. An educational continuity plan has been put in place and the vast majority of AMU's courses have been organized at a distance (e-learning) since the beginning of the lockdown. Students can therefore continue to study and it is in their interest to do so. The knowledge and skills acquired during this semester will be necessary to succeed in the next semester, just as they will be in their future professional life. In addition, the grades obtained can be used to compensate for the previous semester's grades. Only certain very practical teaching units (UE) on technical installations which cannot take place and certain UE, with very high numbers of students without continuous control in TD, could be non-assessed. In this case, substitute activities are being studied.

What about face-to-face exams?

The likelihood of being able to organise face-to-face exams in the coming months seems low. We would like to maintain the second semester exams of semester 1 on the university site, but the AMU pedagogical teams are already working on alternative solutions in case of any new impediment.

2. 2. What is the status of solidarity aid?

Since the beginning of the lockdown on March 17, we have been very attentive to the situation of our students and to the evolution of this situation. We have organized emergency aid systems for food, social, medical and psychological support, repatriation assistance from abroad, we are trying to bridge the digital divide and enable e-education, we are trying to compensate for the cessation of remunerative internships...

  • It is important to know that nearly 4,000 students on our Aix-Marseille sites have been left alone or in cité U; some are in great difficulty.
  • At the beginning of the crisis we sent you an email survey to evaluate your medical, social and psychological needs. 60% of you responded. Nearly 600 wished to be contacted by our Mission handicap, nearly 1200 by our SIUMPPS staff and more than 1600 by the CROUS social services. In total, more than 3,600 AMU students have already benefited from medical and social or psychological follow-up or support.

    We have not forgotten the others. The lockdown is not over yet, the resumption of classes will not be possible before September and exams are approaching. Our teams remain mobilized to provide you with answers and support if needed. Of course, we are trying to contact the students who do not have access to their emails, and therefore to our survey. As you know, we have sent them text messages and contacted those who wanted to be contacted. We are continuing this follow-up, we remain attentive, and do not hesitate to pass on the information.
  • Concerning the individual aid following the interruption of the internships, a letter was sent to the training managers, so that they could enquire with each student who was on an internship, about the financial problems they might have encountered. More than 260 files were received. However, not all were eligible. To date, 95 files eligible for the scheme have been forwarded by our teams to the CROUS social workers. About sixty of them have already received financial aid of between 200€ and 600€ (flat-rate aid). During the crisis period, the payment of the funds does not require the passage in front of an authority, the students concerned receive their financial aid more quickly.
  • As far as food aid is concerned, solidarity is being further strengthened with more than 2,000 food parcels and hygiene kits distributed each week on university sites. This is possible thanks to the voluntary work of AMU staff and students.

    I would like to thank you very warmly for your generosity, as well as ALL the student associations that are mobilized, our partners from the local authorities (the cities of Aix and Marseille, the Metropole AMPM, the CD13 and the Région PACA Sud who support us), the CROUS, the Restos du cœur, the association Vendredi 13 and our partners from the mass distribution.
  • To reduce the digital divide and enable e-learning, we distributed 200 SIM cards, a hundred USB keys and nearly 350 computers.
  • Concerning mobile students, 330 AMU students are eligible for repatriation assistance. It will be financed by the university, the Southern Region and ERASMUS.

I wish you all courage. We will emerge stronger from this crisis which brings us together around values of solidarity.

Dear students, dear all, take good care of yourselves and of everyone.

Éric Berton

President of Aix-Marseille University

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