COVID-19: Operation of the School Year 2020/21

Photography of a student of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon
ACI Ciências ULisboa

The 2020/21 school year will be unique for the challenges it will present to us all in maintaining the quality of teaching and learning. We can only hope that it will also be unrepeatable. 

The Faculty had to adapt to ensure that the risk of contagion was reduced and thus contributed to the security of its entire community. Physical distance, masks and hygiene of hands and spaces are the 3 key rules. Unfortunately, increasing physical distance across an infrastructure prepared to encourage contact and sharing is a challenge that cannot be overcome without some compromise. This document summarises the exceptional rules that will be adopted in Ciências ULisboa and that will remain in place until the current pandemic situation is over and we can all return to the good things we now have to give up. 


How classes will work

In line with the recommendations of the Directorate General for Higher Education (DGES)/Directorate General for Health (DGS), room capacity was limited to 50% of the number of seats available, which required the definition of different teaching models. The models adopted for each typology (theoretical, laboratory practice, etc.) of each curricular course are indicated by the teachers on the curricular course pages and may be one of the following: 


In the Mixed Non-Personal (MMNP) and Synchronous Non-Personal (MSNP) models, the interaction between teachers and students is carried out from a distance, using videoconferencing tools. To no extent should these be considered "minor" classes. They require the same care and dedication from students, the same time of autonomous study and the same respect for the established schedules. In the schedules, classes in MMNP/MSNP continue to indicate a room, which, unless otherwise indicated, should be ignored. The videoconference room where these classes will take place is announced by the teachers on the curricular course pages.


In the Synchronous Alternating Model classes, half of the class attends the class in person in the classroom indicated in the timetable, while the other half attends remotely (the class will be transmitted by videoconference). As a rule, students who attend in person each week alternate according to the following table: 

Student number Odd Even
Monday of the week in which students attend class in person  14/Sept. 21/Sept.
28/Sept. 5/Oct
12/Oct 19/Oct
26/Oct 2/Nov
9/Nov 16/Nov
23/Nov 30/Nov
7/Dec 14/Dec
4/Jan 11/Jan

This distribution may have adjustments, determined by the coordinators of study cycles and/or the teachers of the curricular courses, which will be discussed with the affected students. The classroom where lessons take place may also be adjusted, and students should consult their individual schedule in the academic system (Fénix)


Classes in the Live Synchronous Model operate exclusively on campus, with the teacher and all students in the class simultaneously in the same room. The room where classes take place may be adjusted, and students should consult their individual schedule in the academic system (Fénix).


It is even more important to consult the pages of the curricular courses in order to be aware of all the particular situations that may affect its operation. Most teachers will complement the information provided by the academic system (Fénix) with an additional tool. The link to these pages can be found in the Fénix Curricular Courses table (personalised for each student and only available to registered users). 



The break between classes, which typically takes place in the first 10 minutes of each class, has changed in order to increase the time lag of some classes and thus reduce the occupation of the corridors and facilitate the hygienization of spaces. Thus, classes taking place in even-numbered classrooms start at the time set in the timetable and end 15 minutes earlier. Classes taking place in odd-numbered classrooms will start 15 minutes after the time specified in the timetable and end at the time specified. Where classrooms have a letter (e.g. 33A), the determination of parity ignores the letter. Students should make their way to the classroom in order to arrive at the time indicated, avoiding waiting in the corridors for class time.


Study Spaces (Updated 16 September 2020)

In order to reduce the risk of contagion, the Faculty encourages students to come to campus only on days when they have face-to-face classes and to stay on campus only for strictly necessary periods. In the periods between classes and to enable students on campus to participate in non-face-to-face classes, several classrooms will remain open and will also function as study spaces. Spacius is the website that manages these spaces in real time, collecting and presenting information about the available classrooms and their occupancy level, which must always respect the 50% of the original room capacity. 

Students are also encouraged to use their personal equipment (laptops, mobile phones, headphones) whenever possible. However, computers in the student spaces remain available, respecting general prevention measures. Students should stay inside the buildings only for the strictly necessary periods.

Update: In order to reduce the sources of contagion, it is advisable that students bring their own keyboard and mouse. Students will be able to connect them as long as the computer where they want to connect the peripherals has USB inputs on the front. Existing equipment will remain available for those who do not have this possibility.

This rule will be applied in all the computer rooms of the Faculty.


General prevention measures of COVID-19 

The webpage dedicated to COVID-19, where the contingency plan is also available, is constantly being updated, following the evolution of the pandemic situation. The recommendations of the Directorate General for Health can change at any time and consequently also the measures in force in Ciências ULisboa. Students should keep themselves informed and respect the guidelines in force at all times.

Particular attention is drawn to the following indications:

  • The use of a well placed mask, permanently covering the nose and chin, is mandatory during all the time in the Faculty buildings; 
  • Do not stay in the corridors; 
  • Disinfect your hands at the entrance and exit of buildings and wash/disinfect them frequently; 
  • In common spaces, such as student spaces, sanitize equipment, objects and surfaces of common use before and after use; 
  • Only use the designated workstations; 
  • Do not move tables or chairs from previously defined places; 
  • Walk on the right side on stairways and corridors; 
  • Deposit disposable protective materials in the appropriate containers;
  • In case of symptoms compatible with COVID-19, contact immediately the SNS24 line and follow the instructions; 
  • If these symptoms manifest themselves on the Faculty's premises, contact the emergency number in Ciências ULisboa (ext. 20000, phone number. 217500600); 
  • For matters related to COVID-19, please contact
  • Further information is available on the website of the Directorate General for Health and on the Faculty portal
  • Collaborate in the efforts of early identification of contagion networks by installing the COVID Stayaway app.

We rely on everyone's collaboration to mitigate the negative impacts of the moment we are currently going through.

The Faculty Board


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