Fall 2021 Return to Campus – June 28, 2011

Dear Members of the Koç University Community,

I do hope all of you and your families are in good health and good spirits.

Now that we have just completed a wonderful online Commencement Ceremony for our graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 and have already started our Summer 2021 Semester, I am writing to share with you an important decision regarding our upcoming Fall 2021 Semester.

As stated in my earlier message, we remain cautiously optimistic about the upcoming Fall Semester 2021 and for the new Academic year 2021-2022.

The progress in our fight against COVID-19 has been exemplary recently, especially in the area of the volume of vaccinations in our country. In particular, the availability of vaccines for people aged 18 and above, now covers all of our university community, including all of our students, faculty and staff. This new and encouraging development gives us enough confidence for a full return to our campus for all students, faculty and staff with all of our dormitories full to capacity as well as with face-to-face teaching, learning, working and interacting with one another.

FALL SEMESTER 2021

We have accordingly revised our academic calendar for the Fall Semester, the start date for which is now scheduled as September 27th, 2021.

Please be advised that the details of our Return to Rumelifeneri Campus for the Fall 2021 Semester must always remain to be in line with the decisions of the Higher Education Council, and strictly based on measures from Ministry of Health and guidance from our own health and legal experts.

ACADEMIC CALENDAR FOR 2021-2022

Key Dates:

September 21-23, 2021 Class registrations
September 27, 2021 Fall Semester – First Day of Classes
January 7, 2022 Fall Semester – Last Day of Classes
January 10-19, 2022 Final Exams
January 20 – February 13, 2022 Semester Break

 

FACULTY & STAFF

All faculty and staff at our Rumelifeneri campus shall start to come back to their offices on September 13th, 2021.

Further details of how we may all operate under the new conditions and also ensuring our shared health and safety are to be communicated before the beginning of September.

DORMITORIES

Students shall be able to come to the dormitories, at appropriate numbers and with strict adherence to the measures announced from the Ministry of Health, government authorities and our own health and legal experts.

The details of our dormitory placements are to be communicated to our students shortly after this message. However, at this point, it suffices to state that it appears as if we shall be able to place all students with residences outside of Istanbul and many of the students with homes in Istanbul in our dormitories.

CAMPUS OPERATIONS

Per the ‘collective vacation’ policy announced on December 25th, 2020, our main campus and other locations (excluding Koç University Hospital) is to be closed during August 23rd, Monday to September 3rd, Friday 2021 with all (except those with specific special duties) academic and administrative employees being on automatic annual leaves.

Before the start of our academic semester, detailed information about COVID-19 principles, health and safety protocols are to be ready to be communicated to the entire Koç University Community.

I would like to emphasize that the implementation of our intentions as described above crucially depends on the progress of the pandemic and public health circumstances in our country and the world in effect at the time and is to be finalized upon evaluation of the developments in our country and guidance received from governmental bodies. With our own health experts, we are monitoring the current situation quite closely, evaluating each step with due diligence and allowing ourselves as much flexibility as possible so that if circumstances change, we can adapt swiftly and decisively. It is also fair to say that at this time we are still facing some uncertainties and cannot foresee all of what the next few weeks may have in store for us, let alone a few months. However, our optimism has substantially enhanced with the possibility of a completely vaccinated population on campus in September and so that we may be able to move forward along the lines described above.

As I look forward to finally being on campus with all of you, please continue to be prudent and do remain healthy during the summer break.

My best wishes and regards to you all,

—Umran

Umran S. Inan

PRESIDENT

Update on Rumeli Feneri Campus Visits and Graduation Ceremonies – May, 29 2021

Dear Students and Koç University Classes of 2020 &  2021,
 
I hope you are all in good health and in good spirits in spite of the pandemic that has now shackled all of our lives for more than a year.  
 
On top of all the stress of the necessary nation-wide restrictions on our lives, you the students as well as we the faculty and staff have also been carrying the burden of the longing for a healthy and safe return to our most beautiful campus, so that we can have our face-to-face interactions and dialogue that is the real core of university education. I have stated on many occasions that university education is, at the most basic level, a rendezvous between generations that has to happen on campus and face-to-face. In this context, I am pleased to let you know that we fully intent to return to our campus this Fall and that preparations have already started for a full and complete return to our campus for the Fall 2021 Semester, with most of our classes being taught face-to-face and with our dormitories full of students.  
 
As our third ‘online’ semester, Spring 2021 classes are now over and the finals are to be done in about two weeks. As announced previously, Summer 2021 semester is to be our last fully online one, scheduled as such consistent with the ongoing status of the pandemic and the recommendations of the Higher Education Council and the Ministry of Health that are in place. Online Summer Semester is also important to allow students to take classes during internships and while on summer family vacations.  
 
In the meantime, we have also been aware of the fact that the necessary exclusion of entry of our students to our beautiful campus has now began to cause major frustration, especially because many of our new students have not seen our campus while older students greatly miss it because they have so much enjoyed it in the past.  
 
Given the recent hopeful progress in the development and availability of vaccines and a possible ease into a more normal period in summer for Turkey, we have decided to welcome our students to our campus in limited numbers, starting July 1, 2021. Students who would like to visit our beautiful campus are expected to make a reservation and come to campus on that reserved date, present a HES code and their temperatures will be checked at the main entry to campus. Office of the Dean of Students will send out further details on the reservation system and other conditions.
 
As for our Graduation Ceremonies, our decision announced in March 2021 remains valid. A large, in-person event such as a Commencement Ceremony in June or this Summer unfortunately still does not look realistic and possible at this time; therefore, we are determined to proceed with our initial plans that I have communicated to you back in March, involving our Commencement Ceremony held together for both graduation classes, 2020 and 2021, consisting of a live online ceremony, starting on Saturday June 26, 2021 at 16:00.
 
However, we know that for many of you, your final years at Koç University did not end the way you would have hoped for and we also empathize with many of you who have in the past few weeks shared your frustration about not having a face-to-face Commencement Ceremony on campus. We believe that this traditional ceremony is too important and too sacred for it to be diluted by dividing it into multiple days and by holding it without the attendance of your families. Thus, we have now decided that in addition to the online ceremony to be held on June 26th, 2021, we should celebrate the success of our 2020 and 2021 graduating classes with all of us together with our students and their families on our beautiful campus in June 2022. We plan to have a full Graduation Week and hold the Commencement ceremony for each graduating class on separate days, followed by the 2022 Commencement Ceremony. We have yet to work out the details of these events; nevertheless, please rest assured that we want to give you and your families the full opportunity to get together on campus and celebrate your years at and graduation from this wonderful institution and we look forward to seeing you throw your caps in the air at the end of each of these ceremonies.   
 
In the meantime, we are pleased to see that groups of students are visiting the campus for cap & gown photo shoots, which will enrich our upcoming online ceremony on June 26th, 2021. We are already gearing up for this event to be held with our distinguished Commencement Speaker Professor Paul Farmer from Harvard and greatly look forward to it with excitement.   
 
Please continue to keep safe at a social distance from anyone but your household families, wear your masks and never miss keeping up your hygiene.  
 
Best wishes and regards,
 
—Umran
 
Umran S. Inan
PRESIDENT

Summer 2021 and the Upcoming Fall 2021 Semesters – 20 April 2021

Dear Members of the Koç University Community,

As we are well into the Spring 2021 Semester, I am writing to share with you an important decision regarding our upcoming Summer 2021 Semester.

Even though we do see some hopeful signs in the development and availability of vaccines, the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic in our country and the world at large still harbors continuing challenge and uncertainty, and it is still quite unlikely that we may be able to move out of this crisis before this summer.

With this reality in mind, we always have the health, safety, and well-being of our community, on and off our campuses, as our top priority and thus our decisions and actions are driven by our responsibility towards our community.

We have now made a decision for the upcoming Summer 2021 Semester, to conduct all classes via remote online instruction, except for School of Medicine Intern Program and School of Nursing Summer Clinical Courses. Further details shall be shared with you shortly.

Although we have thus postponed our face-to-face rendezvous on our beautiful campus for yet one more semester, I am pleased to let you know that we remain cautiously optimistic about the upcoming Fall Semester 2021 and for the new Academic year 2021-2022, and are preparing for a full return to our campus for all students, faculty and staff with face-to-face teaching, learning, working and interacting with one another. However, this decision crucially depends on the progress of the pandemic and public health circumstances in our country and the world in effect at the time and is to be finalized upon evaluation of the developments in our country and guidance received from governmental bodies. Further details and decisions in this regard shall be shared with all relevant parties in due time.

This past year since March 2020 has been quite difficult for our University and so many members of our community and I thank each and every one of you for your perseverance and hard work in the midst of great adversity. Even though our lives continue to be influenced by health considerations imposed upon us by this pandemic for quite some time, we look forward to the second half of this year with a sense of optimism and hope.

However, please always keep in mind that this kind of cautious optimism should not deter us in any way from continuing to be prudent and healthy as we sail through challenging waters.

My best wishes and regards to you all,

—Umran

Umran S. Inan

PRESIDENT

Semester Break & Important Update for Spring Semester 2021 - January 18, 2021

Dear Members of the Koç University Community,

As we approach the end of the Fall 2020 semester, and as we all look forward to a much needed and well-deserved semester break, I am pleased to observe that we have successfully navigated through this new model of education and completed the Semester.

Nevertheless, having reached this point does not take away from the stress and exhaustion of our current circumstances for all of us or lessen the challenges of teaching & learning, interrupted and disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that has completely overtaken our planet for almost a year.

Even though we were much more prepared and equipped for Fall 2020 than Spring 2020, this semester was in a lot of ways harder on all of us.

Back in Spring 2020 when COVID-19 first hit us, we were all anxious with lots of unknowns and long weekends in lock-down, studying, working and literally operating from our homes in a way that none could have anticipated. However, as summer neared, with restrictions easing down, we had a breather and we had much to look forward to, a summer break where many of us was out and about.

Fall, on the other hand, came with more preparations but definitely tougher news, with the pandemic soaring around the world. In the midst of warnings that the worst was yet to come and that we had to be extra careful in winter months, we lived through the many challenges and difficulties that this entire modality of living, working and studying imposes on all of us.

Therefore, I want to thank each and every one of you for your commitment and resilience that have allowed our community to continue to study, teach, work and conduct research during this extraordinary time. I would like to extend a huge congratulations to our students, faculty and staff for continuing our mission to be a center of excellence and setting an outstanding example for others in our country.

 

SPRING SEMESTER 2021

We are at a critical point in the health crisis, with cases going down on a daily basis thanks to lock-downs and vaccines being rolled out across our country; we sure have much to look forward to.

However, it is still quite unlikely that our country and the rest of the world may be able to move out of this crisis soon and it does appear that restrictions are likely to still continue during February along with the early Spring months.

With this reality in mind, it appears that we have to start the Spring Semester 2021 in an online modality as we did in the Fall. As I would like to reiterate my points from our Fall 2020 announcement, I still believe that we are merely postponing our face-to-face rendezvous to a further date, where the progress of the pandemic may be more controlled and contained. As we follow the evaluation of the developments in the country and new guidance from the Ministry of Health and other related government authorities, and with our own health experts, we continue to monitor the current situation quite closely, evaluating each step with due diligence and allowing ourselves as much flexibility as possible so that if circumstances may change, we can adapt swiftly and decisively.

I want to encourage all of you to approach this break to rest, recharge and reinvigorate yourselves.

As for our faculty and staff who may be on annual leave during a certain portion of the semester break, I do hope that you take advantage of this time off to manage your health and wellbeing, and spend quality time with your loved ones, when and if possible.

I hope that our faculty can grab this time as an opportunity to catch up with research, projects and other things that are usually harder to do in the midst of regular classes.

Please continue to be cautious, be healthy, and do take care of yourselves and your families. I cannot wait to see things go back to normal when I hope to see you all on our beautiful campus . . .

My best wishes and regards to you all,

 

—Umran

Umran S. Inan

PRESIDENT

IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR FALL 2020 – September 8, 2020

Dear Members of the Koç University Community,

I am writing to share a very important update with you regarding our Fall 2020 Semester. Per the clear and strong guidance from the Ministry of Health and Council of Higher Education (YÖK) regarding the recent development of the pandemic on September 4, 2020, we have made the decision to alter our plans for Return to Campus we had announced on August 15th and to conduct all classes via remote online instruction for Fall Semester 2020.

Please always bear in mind that the health, safety, and well-being of our community, on and away from our campuses, is ultimately our top priority. Thus, our decisions and actions are always driven by our responsibility towards our community.

With this decision, I would like to believe that we are merely postponing our face-to-face rendezvous to a further date, as early as the Spring Semester should the progress of the pandemic be more controlled and contained. We are hopeful that the face-to-face teaching/learning model with hybrid options we had planned for this semester may still be possible for the Spring 2021 Semester, incumbent upon evaluation of the developments in the country and new guidance from the Ministry of Health and other related government authorities. With our own health experts, we are monitoring the current situation quite closely, evaluating each step with due diligence and allowing ourselves as much flexibility as possible so that if circumstances change, we can adapt swiftly and decisively.

We all have been eager to return back to our beautiful campus and many of our staff and faculty have dedicated literally hundreds of hours of work to develop our plans for the fall, for which I am grateful. Fortunately, our planning efforts of these past four months will not go to waste. When we eventually return to our beautiful campus, we will put to use all our plans, new systems and preparations for a face-to-face teaching/learning model with hybrid options and a reduced population on campus.

 

FALL SEMESTER 2020

Our Academic Calendar 2020-2021 remains the same as previously announced.

This past spring, we all successfully went through a digital transformation in just two weeks, and I was more than thrilled to see all of our 703 courses taught online (with 85% in real-time) starting at the end of March for the Spring Semester, continuing well into the Summer semester. This transformation was a huge feat where we were still able to allow the university education and experience to happen in the context of the ‘appointment between generations’ in spite of a global pandemic.

Furthermore, back in July, I had announced that we were in the process of making a most important investment, enabling state-of-the-art video recording technology in all of our classrooms and learning spaces to further strengthen our infrastructure and capabilities in simultaneous learning modalities and to ensure academic readiness for flexible hybrid teaching and learning. Accordingly, all students shall be able to follow courses taught in the classrooms while simultaneously interacting with their peers and instructors. We now have finalized this online teaching and learning system and we are fully equipped and ready to deliver all of our courses in online, hybrid or face-to-face modes with this new state of the art technology and based on our learnings from the previous semesters. A new experienced team comprised of IT and KOLT experts, combining technology with education to provide the best services, continues to work tirelessly to make the online experience as efficient and smooth as possible.

Schedules for online lectures are currently being worked on and shall be shared with all stakeholders before the end of September.

 

CONTINUATION OF EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH AND SCIENTIFIC EFFORTS

We had a limited number of high priority research projects starting at the end of June, where related faculty and staff were authorized to only enter their assigned laboratories. We look forward to continuing these research and scientific efforts, following the same protocols in the Fall Semester 2020.

 

DORMITORIES

Even though we had started the registration process for our dormitories, in the light of this new guidance from Ministry of Health and Council of Higher Education (YÖK), we have to keep our dormitories closed for this semester. Details of how we may proceed with existing registrations are to be shared separately with our students.

 

FACULTY & STAFF

In the light of this new guidance from Ministry of Health and Council of Higher Education (YÖK), administrative staff at our Rumelifeneri campus are now expected to continue to work from home until the beginning of the Spring Semester 2021.

For work-from-home principles and requirements, please refer to the announcement from our Human Resources Directorate dated March 14, 2020 and please follow further announcements and guidance from the HR Directorate.

 

CAMPUS OPERATIONS

Campus operations are still to continue with strict modifications and on a limited basis.

As usual, we still eagerly look forward to virtually meeting and welcoming our new incoming class, faculty and staff members across the range of Colleges & Schools & Units. Even though we expect our campus to be dramatically different this semester, we aim to continue our traditions of welcoming the coming academic year of 2020-2021.

I would like to thank once again each and every one of you for your understanding and patience as we try to find our way forward in these troubled waters.

Please continue to be cautious, be healthy, take care of yourselves and your families. I cannot wait to see things go back to normal when I hope to see you all on our beautiful campus . . .

My best wishes and regards to you all,

 

—Umran

Umran S. Inan

PRESIDENT

COVID-19: UPDATE ON FALL 2020 RETURN TO CAMPUS – August 15, 2020

Dear Members of the Koç University Community, 

I am writing to share important updates and further decisions about ‘Return to our Rumelifeneri Campus’ during the Fall Semester.

Per the recently communicated guidance from Higher Education Council (YÖK), we have revised our academic calendar for the Fall Semester and the start date is now scheduled to be October 5th, 2020. This change constitutes an important update to our previously announced timeline. Our students, faculty and staff are expected to gradually return to campus in stages as outlined below.

Please be advised that these details must always be in line with the decisions of Higher Education Council, and strictly based on measures from Ministry of Health and guidance from our own health and legal experts. It is also fair to say that at this time we are still facing major uncertainties and cannot foresee what the next few weeks may have in store for us. Our Return to Campus Task Force continues to meet regularly and we expect to continue to be in touch with you as more details and updates become available.

ACADEMIC CALENDAR FOR 2020/2021

Students are to return to campus in two main groups, details of which were shared earlier in my previous message. Schedules for in-class and online lectures are currently being worked on and shall be shared with all stakeholders at the beginning of September. 

Academic Calendar – Key Dates:

August 31 to September 4, 2020

Registration for Newcomers

September 14, 2020

KUEPE and Placement Exam

September 29 to October 4, 2020

Class registrations

October 5, 2020

Fall Semester – First Day of Classes

January 8, 2021

Fall Semester – Last Day of Classes

January 11-20, 2021

Final Exams

January 25 – February 7, 2021

Semester Break

 

DORMITORIES 

Students are planned to be placed in the dormitories with strict adherence to the measures announced from the Ministry of Health, government authorities and our own health and legal experts.   

The details of our dormitory placements are to be communicated to our students after the registration for the academic year (scheduled for August 31st through September 4th, 2020) is completed.  Students aer expected to be moving into the dormitories between September 27 to October 4, 2020. 

FACULTY & STAFF

Faculty and staff at our Rumelifeneri campus are not expected to return to working at their offices until September 21, 2020. Staff return to campus is planned to be in controlled groups, rotations and shifts to reduce the population density in our offices and campus.

Important Next Steps

To complete our planning for the return to campus of our administrative staff, important information needs to be collected by our Human Resources Directorate from Unit Heads and Deans in order to create these schedules for shifts and/or rotations for different departments and units based on the determination of the number of staff members and the tasks that can be done remotely and/or on campus. A separate email related to the collection of this information is to follow this message.

CAMPUS OPERATIONS

Per the ‘collective vacation’ policy announced on November 1, 2019, our main campus and other locations (excluding Koç University Hospital) is to be closed during August 20, Thursday and August 30, Sunday 2020 (a total of  11 calendar days) with all (except those with specific special duties) academic and administrative employees being on automatic annual leaves.  

We are working on finalizing the details of our return to our Rumelifeneri campus aiming to be ready to communicate our guidance to you at the beginning of September. Before our academic semester begins, detailed information about COVID-19 principles, health and safety protocols are to be ready to be communicated to the entire Koç University Community. 

I would like to re-emphasize that our plans strictly depend on the development of the pandemic in the coming weeks and that all plans are incumbent upon new guidance from the Ministry of Health and other related government authorities. With our own health experts, we are monitoring the current situation quite closely, evaluating each step with due diligence and allowing ourselves as much flexibility as possible so that if circumstances change, we can adapt swiftly and decisively.   

I would like to once again thank each and every one of you for your understanding and patience as we try to find our way forward in these troubled waters.

My best wishes and regards to you all,

—Umran
 
Umran S. Inan
PRESIDENT

COVID-19: FALL 2020 RETURN TO CAMPUS

Dear Members of the Koç University Community, 

I am writing to follow up on my previous message from June 19th, 2020 and to share additional updates on our current guidance concerning Return to our Rumelifeneri Campus. 

We have come to some decisions that we are now ready to share with you.   

Please bear in mind that all of our decisions were carefully deliberated, discussed among smaller groups and various return to campus scenarios for all of our community were extensively analyzed and studied before deciding on the most appropriate one, always keeping in mind first and foremost the safety and health of our community of students, faculty and staff. 

FALL SEMESTER 2020 

I had stated in my earlier message on June 19th that the start date for Fall Semester 2020 depended on definitive guidance from the Measurement, Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) and Council of Higher Education (YÖK). We have still not finalized our academic calendar; however, we have made the decision to start the Fall Semester on September 28th, 2020. 

Please be advised that the details of our Return to Rumelifeneri Campus for the Fall 2020 semester shall always be in line with the decisions of Higher Education Council, and strictly based on measures from Ministry of Health and guidance from our own health and legal experts. 

This past spring, we all went through a digital transformation in just two weeks, and I was more than thrilled to see all of our 703 courses taught online (with 85% in real-time) starting at the end of March for the Spring Semester, continuing well into the Summer semester. This transformation was a huge feat where we were still able to allow the university education and experience to happen in the context of the ‘appointment between generations’  in spite of a global pandemic and I commend our faculty members who have been working diligently to continue teaching, our students who have been putting on their best efforts to learn and our staff who have helped made this transition happen as smoothly and painlessly as possible.    One measure of our performance in this regard is evidenced by our Spring semester average student course evaluations being between very good and excellent for all courses. 

We are also in the process of making a most important investment, enabling state-of-the-art video recording technology in all of our classrooms and learning spaces to further strengthen our infrastructure and capabilities in simultaneous learning modalities and to ensure academic readiness for flexible hybrid teaching and learning. Accordingly, all students shall be able to follow courses taught in the classrooms while simultaneously interacting with their peers and instructors. This success of Koç University on online teaching and learning provides us confidence that should we be obliged to go through other intermittent shutdowns, we shall definitely be ready. 

With this new investment which aims to provide the best possible educational experience for our students and faculty while implementing public health and safety protocols for all our community, we are developing a picture of how our students, faculty and staff will return back to campus. 

Thus, our face to face teaching/learning model with hybrid options is decided to be as follows: 

·       Students shall be invited back to campus in two groups:  One group is to follow classes face-to-face while the other group shall remotely follow online in a given week. The groups shall also be divided into morning and afternoon sessions. The following week the groups shall switch their modality. This way, each student follows classes face-to-face on campus for a week, and in real-time and online the following week.
·       A majority of classes are to be held in classrooms with appropriately reduced seating capacity. A limited number of courses are to be taught only online.
·       Scheduling of classes shall be in such a way that all students can follow the Lectures in a synchronized manner, whether it may be face-to-face or online.
·       This model applies primarily to our undergraduate students. Graduate students whose work and research may rely more on on-campus activity may be able to return to campus on an as yet-to-be-decided shift and/or rotation system.    

Schedules for in-class and online lectures are currently being worked on and shall be shared with all stakeholders at the beginning of September. 

DORMITORIES 

Students shall be able to come to the dormitories, at appropriately smaller numbers and with strict adherence to the measures announced from the Ministry of Health, government authorities and our own health and legal experts.   

The details of our dormitory placements are to be communicated to our students shortly after this message. However, at this point, it suffices to state that it appears as if we shall be able to place all students with residences outside of Istanbul and many of the students with homes in Istanbul in our dormitories.    

FACULTY & STAFF

All faculty and staff at our Rumelifeneri campus shall start to come back to their offices from the beginning of September 2020. 

In order to lessen campus population density, we shall also seek to reduce the number of staff members on campus at any given time. Our Human Resources Directorate is looking into the creation of shifts and/or rotations for different departments and units based on the number of staff members and tasks that can be done remotely and on campus. We expect to adapt a hybrid work schedule with possibly a weekly rotation. 

Further details of how our Faculty and Staff shall return to our Rumelifeneri campus and how we may all operate under these new conditions and ensure our shared health and safety are to be communicated to you before the beginning of September. 

CAMPUS OPERATIONS  

I would like to remind you from our previous guidance that all university-related and endorsed international travel for faculty and staff is cancelled, including all university-related trainings, conferences, seminars, workshops until the end of the Fall Semester 2020.  

Campus operations are still to continue with strict modifications and on a limited basis during the Summer Semester except for a few of research laboratories open to a limited group of researchers and a small group who need to be present on campus for online undergraduate student recruitment and placement during a part of July and August. 

With campus population density considerably reduced for the Fall Semester, our campus operations including dining, shuttle services, sports facilities and other services are to be modified, in ways which we expect to share with our community at the beginning of September. 

We shall also take all necessary measures announced by the health authorities to minimize risk, including ventilation conditions, in classrooms and public areas. Our Rumelifeneri Campus has a system where we can ventilate each of our classrooms directly with fresh air from outside separately from all other classrooms, allowing to only have continuous influx of clean air even in windowless classrooms and spaces. 

I would like to emphasize that our plans strictly depend on how the pandemic develops in the coming months and are all incumbent upon new guidance from the Ministry of Health and other related government authorities. With our own health experts, we are monitoring the current situation quite closely, evaluating each step with due diligence and allowing ourselves as much flexibility as possible so that if circumstances change, we can adapt swiftly and decisively.    

Our ‘Return to Campus Task Force’ has been meeting twice a week for two-hour meetings each since the beginning of May and shall continue to do so until well into the Fall Semester.    

I thank each and every one of you for your understanding, for your patience and for your cooperation as we sort our way in these troubled waters. 

My very best wishes for a healthy summer and best regards to you all, 

—Umran 

Umran S. Inan
PRESIDENT

June 19, 2020 Update on Return to Campus - Phase 1

Dear Members of the Koç University Community, 

I am writing to follow up on my previous message from May 21, 2020 and to share additional updates on our current guidance concerning return to our Rumelifeneri campus.

I had informed you about the formation of our ‘Return to Campus Taskforce’ in my previous message. We have now also formed the ‘Health Council’ and ‘Legal Council’ sub-committees, consisting of university experts who know our campus conditions to better manage these processes and help us make sound decisions.

Return to Campus Taskforce has been working on alternative scenarios for a phased return to our campus. In the following, you can find details and decisions on Phase 1 of our return, in which our top priority is to resume our experimental laboratory-based research and scientific efforts.

We also made decisions on Summer Semester 2020 for all our faculty and staff, allowing everyone to arrange their workflow and plan their vacations.

And finally, we provide an update on the Fall Semester 2020.

Resumption of experimental research and scientific efforts in our research laboratories

As I had stated in my earlier message, Koç University faculty, students and staff have been doing amazing work on multiple research efforts directly targeting the COVID-19 problems and we need to continue these accelerated efforts as well as many other experimentally based scientific research projects that were ongoing or planned since before COVID-19 and in order to ensure the continuity of our primary educational and research mission. Thus, we expect to resume a limited number of high priority research projects no later than July 1, 2020,  where related faculty and staff can be authorized to only enter their assigned laboratories. Our task force and other teams are working diligently to ensure firstly the safety and health of those returning to campus while simultaneously preparing schedules, necessary trainings and technical infrastructure. 

Faculty and Staff

All faculty and staff at our Rumelifeneri campus are still expected to work from home until the beginning of September 2020. However, those who should be physically present on campus due to their essential responsibilities and duties during the Summer Semester 2020 will continue to work as usual and as required.  

For work-from-home principles and requirements, please refer to the announcement from our Human Resources Directorate dated March 14, 2020.

 Per the ‘collective vacation’ policy which was announced on November 1, 2019, our campus and other locations (excluding Koç University Hospital) is to be closed during August 20, Thursday and August 30, Sunday 2020 (11 calendar days) with all academic and administrative employees being on automatic annual leaves.  

Travel

All university-related and endorsed international travel for faculty and staff is cancelled, including all university-related trainings, conferences, seminars, workshops until the end of the Fall Semester 2020. 

We strongly encourage our community members to follow all preventive measures and guidance from Ministry of Health and relevant authorities with respect to personal travel.

Campus Operations

Campus operations are still to continue with strict modifications and on a limited basis, per our decision from March 16,2020.

Fall Semester 2020 

In line with the decisions of Higher Education Council, our Task Force is working towards and making plans for the Fall Semester where there will be a face to face teaching/learning model with hybrid options. We are working on different return to campus scenarios for all of our community, and we plan to have a roadmap by the end of July. Further details and decisions shall be shared with all relevant parties in due time.

We also plan to open the dormitories with strict adherence to the measures announced from the Ministry of Health, government authorities and our own health and legal experts, the details of  which are to be communicated to you in due time.

Start date for Fall Semester 2020 still depends on definitive guidance from the Measurement, Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) and Council ofHigher Education (YÖK) in terms of when the registration for the new academic semester is to be for new students, which then allows us to determine our academic calendar.

I wish I had more definitive answers for all of your questions; however, we are still immersed in and surrounded by a lot of uncertainties. Therefore, we are only able to make short-term plans where we can evaluate each step with due diligence and allow ourselves as much flexibility as possible so that if circumstances change, we can adapt swiftly and decisively.

I thank each and every one of you for your understanding and patience.

My best wishes and regards to you all,

—Umran

Umran S. Inan

PRESIDENT

May 21, 2020 Update on Summer Semester at Koç University

Dear Members of the Koç University Community,

In our Faculty and Staff Meeting on May 8, you were informed that we have activated a new Task Force, ‘Return to Campus Task Force’ the primary responsibility of which is to ensure and execute the effective and safe transition of all university operations back to normal. The Task Force is currently working with various schools, colleges and other units to draft detailed and planned roadmaps for gradual, phased transitions from our current state.

The health, safety, and well-being of our community, on and off our campuses, is always our top priority. Thus, our decisions and actions are driven by our responsibility towards our community.

We have already made a decision for Summer Semester 2020 to conduct all classes via remote online instruction, except for School of Medicine Intern Program and School of Nursing Summer Clinical Courses.

The next step in our plan is limited and controlled resumption of experimental research and scientific efforts in our research laboratories. Koç University faculty, students and staff have been doing amazing work on multiple research efforts, so far 42 projects and counting, directly targeting the COVID-19 problems and we need to continue these accelerated efforts as well as many other experimentally based scientific research projects in order to ensure the continuity of our primary educational and research mission. Our Task Force continues to evaluate and assess the current situation regarding the COVID-19 and our plans to reopen laboratories remain dependent upon changes in the COVID-19 situation and guidance we may receive from the Council of Higher Education (YÖK), Ministry of Health and other governmental bodies.

Concerning return to our Rumelifeneri campus of other activities, our evaluation of the return to Rumelifeneri campus of academic and administrative personnel will be made after June 15th, 2020 and upon evaluation of the developments in the country and guidance received from governmental bodies. All faculty and staff are thus expected to continue to work from home until further notice. No decisions have been made about a definitive date for returning to the Rumelifeneri campus, but alternative scenarios for a phased return are currently being worked on. Further details and decisions shall be shared with all relevant parties in due time.

Our Task Force is also working towards and making plans for the Fall Semester in line with the Academic Calendar for normalization and shall continue to communicate with you concerning developments in the coming days.

We all know that these difficult days too shall pass and I am confident that with the help of all of you, we shall in fact emerge out of this difficult period as a stronger institution.

My best wishes and regards to you all,

—Umran
Umran S. Inan
PRESIDENT

Grading of Koç University Courses for the Spring 2020 Semester

Dear Students and Faculty,

As we are nearing the end of Week 1 of online/remote learning and teaching, we are now fully prepared for the rest of the Spring Semester to be executed completely online/remotely. Details of the procedures and methods used have long been shared with you from your Colleges, Schools, Graduate INstitutes Koç University Office of Learning & Teaching (KOLT), IT Directorate and the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA).

We are pleased to see that we are surely finding our way through this new model of education and feel confident that we shall be able to complete the Semester, including all Exams and other requirements,  so that all students can receive proper grading and credit for the courses they are registered for.

Nevertheless, having reached this point does not take away from the stress of our current circumstances for all of us or lessen the challenges of teaching and learning, definitely interrupted and disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has completely overtaken our planet.

Taking these unusual circumstances into consideration, our Academic Council has unanimously decided to offer a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (i.e., ‘Pass/Fail’) grading option for this Semester, effective immediately. Myself and my colleagues believe that it is important to provide our students this flexibility so that, for each class they are enrolled in, they can choose to receive a letter grade or a Pass/Fail grade.

Students shall be able to decide if they would like to switch any of their classes to Pass/Fail grading after their final letter grades are posted.

Undergraduate Students shall be able to either/or

• keep the final letter grade in their transcripts
• instead receive a grade of “S” – Başarılı (Satisfactory) if their final letter grade is “D” or above

Graduate Students shall be able to either/or

• keep the final letter grade in their transcripts
• instead receive a grade of  “S” –  Başarılı (Satisfactory) if their final letter grade is “C” or above

Please note that for students who choose letter grades (such as A, A-, B), their Grade Point Averages (GPA) shall continue to be affected by the numerical equivalent of the grade, as is the case currently.   Courses with Pass (‘Satisfactory’) grades shall still count toward degree requirements, with students still receiving credit for Pass, but the grade shall not affect the student GPA.

Please also note that this new regulation applies to students who are on Exchange Programs. Our ELC Directorate is currently working to finalize our regulations regarding ELC students and KUEPE Exams, to be communicated in a separate notice.

Please contact your Colleges, Schools and VPAA for any questions on the above decision of the Academic Council.

As I stated earlier in my March newsletter, we all know that these days too shall pass and I am confident that with the help of all of you, we shall prevail to ensure the continuity of our primary educational and research mission and that we shall in fact emerge out of this difficult period as a stronger institution.

My best wishes and regards to you all,

—Umran

Umran S. İnan
PRESIDENT

March 26, 2020 Update on Coronavirus

Dear Members of the Koç University Community,

I am writing to update our current guidance regarding students, faculty and staff, campus operations and related topics.

Students & Researchers

Online/remote learning, which started at our Medical School this week and which is due to start at the rest of our departments on Monday, March 30, 2020, is to continue until further notice, pending any new decisions of the Council of Higher Education (YÖK).

Details on teaching and learning have already been shared with you from KOLT, IT and VPAA and I urge all of our students and faculty to reach out to one another and find ways to best facilitate classes. Please refer to our newly created resources webpage for all questions regarding online/remote learning and teaching.

This guidance applies to all students, including all undergraduate, graduate and doctorate students, and all researchers including postgraduate researchers and research assistants.

Faculty and Staff

All faculty and staff are expected to continue to work from home until further notice, pending any new decisions of the Council of Higher Education (YÖK).  However, those who have been required to be physically present on campus due to their essential responsibilities and duties will continue as usual.

For work-from-home principles and requirements, please refer to the announcement from our Human Resources Directorate dated March 14, 2020.

Campus Operations

Rumelifeneri Campus continues to be closed to all students, their families and guests and campus operations continue to be strictly limited as per our announcement on March 17, 2020. Our guidance on campus operations remains the same until further notice.

Please check your emails and follow our website regularly.

I would also like to reiterate our previous guidances on prevention from COVID-19 and social distancing.

I thank each and every one of you for your understanding and patience as we are still facing a lot of unknowns and cannot foresee what the next few weeks may have in store for us. Nevertheless, I am confident that with the help of all of you we shall prevail to ensure the continuity of our primary educational and research mission and that we shall in fact emerge out of this difficult period as a stronger institution.

My best wishes and regards to you all,

—Umran

Umran S. Inan
PRESIDENT

19 Mart 2020 Our Courses in “Online” format

Dear Members of the Koç University Community,

Now that we have received more definitive guidance from the Council of Higher Education (YÖK), we have decided to start online/remote instruction for all classes on Monday, March 30, 2020 (except for our School of Medicine, where online/remote instruction shall start on March 23, 2020) and continue until further notice.

We are working diligently on finalizing the changes in the Academic Calendar and developing plans for the timing of any final assignments and exams that were scheduled for the week of May 8, 2020. We shall inform you of further details on a timely basis.

KOLT is preparing instructions on remote teaching and learning that you shall receive as a separate announcement on how to teach/follow courses online.

These steps obviously disrupt our academic activities for all of our community. However, we are living through unprecedented times and we need to adapt to continue and complete the Spring Semester.

I am confident that with the coordination of KOLT, Suna Kıraç Library, VPAA and IT, we can successfully deliver/follow our classes.

We realize that many of you shall naturally have many questions. This announcement offers our initial guidance that shall be followed up as quickly as possible with more detailed announcements from VPAA, your Deans, KOLT, Suna Kıraç Library and IT on further steps as needed. Please check your emails and follow our website regularly.

I would also like to reiterate our previous guidances on prevention from COVID-19 and social distancing.

My best wishes and regards to you all,

—Umran

Umran S. Inan
PRESIDENT

Message on March 16, 2020

Dear Members of the Koç University Community,

I am writing to follow up on my previous message from March 13, 2020 and to share additional updates on our current guidance regarding students, faculty and staff, campus operations and related topics.

I would like to strongly emphasize that you read the entire text of every announcement so that you can capture the full details of each of our regulations, recommendations and updates.

Students and Researchers

This section describes our revised guidance, pending further notice from the Council of Higher Education.

The decision of no academic classes for a duration of 3 weeks, issued by the Council of Higher Education (YÖK), now applies to all students, including all undergraduate, graduate and doctorate students, and all researchers including postgraduate researchers and research assistants.

Students who are not presently on campus should not return to campus until the conclusion of this period.

Students whose homes are in Turkey and who live on campus must go home and return to campus after this period.

International students and/or exchange students who are unable to return to their homes and need to stay on campus, should know that campus operations shall continue with strict modifications and on a limited basis. Further details on campus operations are to be shared with you shortly.

For international students who may travel abroad to go home during this break, please be advised that you shall still be subject to our guidance on self-isolation (please see below) and/or subject to other measures taken by the Turkish Government on travel restrictions at the time of your return to Turkey.

Faculty and Staff

This section describes our revised guidance on working-from-home.

All faculty and staff are now expected to work from home for the two-week period (12 days) as of March 17, 2020. However, the names of those who should be physically present on campus due to their essential responsibilities and duties must be reported by the Deans and Directors to the Human Resources Directorate at covid19uzaktancalisma@ku.edu.tr.

For work-from-home principles and requirements, please refer to the announcement from our Human Resources Directorate dated March 14, 2020.

Campus Operations

Effective March 17,2020, campus operations shall continue with strict modifications and on a limited basis. Further detailed information on campus operations are to be shared with you shortly.

Prevention Measures

Please see the new guidance on COVID-19 from our world-renowned expert on infectious diseases, Prof. Önder Ergönül of Koç University School of Medicine.

Please also see our earlier guidance on prevention measures.

Social Distancing

We strongly urge our community to practice social distancing measures. Social distancing means remaining out of group settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (at least one meter) from others whenever possible.

To reiterate our earlier guidance:

  • All university events scheduled to be held between March 10 and April 30 are cancelled or postponed until further notice.
  • Republic of Turkey Ministry of Health has issued guidance on minimizing risk, particularly through the use of social distancing. Please review these recommendations and follow accordingly.

Self-isolation

To reiterate our earlier guidance, we request all faculty, staff and students who have travelled (university-sponsored or personal) to any country outside of Turkey in the last 14 days (effective March 9, 2020) or who may travel to any country in the near future, to complete a 14-day self-isolation immediately upon arrival in Turkey based on measures proposed by the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Health.

If you fall into this category and need to self-isolate, you need to stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people for 14 days.

If you were staying at Koç University dormitories, either on our main campus or the west campus, you will need to go to the Health Center immediately and stay indoors for the self-isolation period of 14 days. If you need to go home, University will assist you with your travel arrangements. Please contact the Office of the Dean of your College or your Graduate School for further assistance.

Continued evaluation

Koç University emergency operations task force is constantly evaluating and assessing the current situation regarding the COVID-19 and following the guidance Council of Higher Education (YÖK), Republic of Turkey Ministry of Health and other government bodies. We shall continue to be in touch with you as more updates become available.

Please continue to send your questions and feedback to koronavirusyonetimmerkezi@ku.edu.tr for any issues. We are working as fast as possible to respond to all inquiries and provide updated information to our community.

I thank each and every one of you for your understanding and patience as we have to change our guidance and prevention measures almost on a daily basis.

I am deeply grateful to all of you for your cooperation, and especially to the many people across our community who are working around the clock on our Covid-19 response.

My best wishes and regards to you all,

—Umran

Umran S. Inan
PRESIDENT

Second Message on March 13, 2020

Second Message on March 13, 2020

Dear Members of the Koç University Community,

I am writing to follow up on my previous message from this morning (March 13, 2020) and to share critical updates on academic courses, campus operations and related topics in accordance with the guidance provided by the Council of Higher Education (YÖK).

All academic courses

No academic classes shall be held at any of the Koç University campuses starting from Monday, March 16, 2020 for 3 weeks and until further notice.

This decision means that there shall be no classes, including online, for a duration of 3 weeks.

The Spring Break for the Academic Year 2019-2020, originally planned between April 6th through April 10 th, has now been included in this 3-week time period. We are working diligently on finalizing the changes in the Academic Calendar and shall inform you of further details on a timely basis.

Please also note that following our earlier messages, all university events scheduled to be held between March 10 and April 30 are cancelled or postponed until further notice.

Students

The decision of the Council of Higher Education applies to all students, including all undergraduate students, interns and all graduate students except medicine, dentistry and pharmacy specialists.

Students who are not presently on campus should not return to campus until the conclusion of this 3-week period. However, if you are on campus and are unable to return home, please contact the Office of the Dean of your College or your Graduate School for further assistance.

We encourage students who live on campus to consider going home, if possible, and to return to campus after this 3-week period.

Students who choose to stay on campus or are unable to return to their homes should know that campus operations continue as usual.

For international students who may travel abroad to go home during this break, please be advised that you shall still be subject to our guidance on self-isolation (please see guidance below) and/or subject to other measures taken by the Turkish Government on travel restrictions at the time of your return to Turkey.

Faculty and Staff

The decision of the Council of Higher Education to close all universities only applies to students and classes at this time.

The Council of Higher Education issued a decision on how faculty and staff are expected to work during this period. Our Human Resources Directorate is currently working to finalize our rules and recommendations for appropriate work-from-home and other policy accommodations for faculty and staff. We expect to provide this information over the weekend in a separate notice.

All campus operations shall continue as scheduled until further notice.

Self-isolation

This section describes our revised guidance on self-isolation. We request all faculty, staff and students who have travelled (university-sponsored or personal) to any country outside of Turkey in the last 14 days (effective March 9, 2020) or who may travel to any country in the near future, to complete a 14-day self-isolation immediately upon arrival in Turkey based on measures proposed by the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Health.

If you fall into this category and need to self-isolate, you need to stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people for 14 days.

If you were staying at Koç University dormitories, either on our main campus or the west campus, you will need to go to the Health Center immediately and stay indoors for the self-isolation period of 14 days. If you need to go home, University will assist you with your travel arrangements. Please contact the Office of the Dean of your College or your Graduate School for further assistance.

Continued evaluation

Koç University emergency operations task force is constantly evaluating and assessing the current situation regarding the COVID-19 and following the guidance Council of Higher Education (YÖK), Republic of Turkey Ministry of Health and other government bodies. We shall continue to be in touch with you as more updates become available.

Questions about any of these issues can be sent to koronavirusyonetimmerkezi@ku.edu.tr.

I am well aware of all the difficulties and challenges that these new conditions impose on our community. However, we expect that these precautions may hopefully help alleviate the impact of this serious pandemic on Turkey.

I am deeply grateful to all of you for your cooperation, and especially to the many people across our community who are working around the clock on our Covid-19 response.

My best wishes and regards to you all,

—Umran 

Umran S. Inan

PRESIDENT

First Message on March 13, 2020

First Message on March 13, 2020

Dear Members of the Koç University Community,

I am writing to inform you of the significant steps we have taken in light of the Council of Higher Education (YÖK)’s decision to close all universities in Turkey to avoid the spreading of the coronavirus.

All academic courses

No academic classes will be held at any of the Koç University campuses starting  from Monday, March 16, 2020 for 3 weeks and until further notice.

This decision means that there will be no classes, including online for 3 weeks.

Koç University emergency operations task force is constantly evaluating and assessing the current situation regarding the COVID-19 and following the guidance from Council of Higher Education (YÖK), Republic of Turkey Ministry of Health and other government bodies.

We shall continue our communication with you with more updates later today (March 13, 2020). 

With best wishes and regards, 

—Umran 

Umran S. Inan

PRESIDENT

Message on March 11, 2020

Dear Members of the Koç University Community,

I am writing to clarify some of the questions we have been receiving from our community in the light of our previous messages of guidance.

Please note that according to the announcement by the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Health on March 11, 2020, a Turkish citizen travelling from Europe has tested positive with corona virus; however, please be assured that there is no indication that our campus is affected at this time.

Please see below our updated guidance on campus operations, events and related topics.

Continuation of all academic courses

Contrary to what has been reported at some media outlets today (March 11, 2020) about classes being converted to online, our regularly scheduled academic courses, including all UNIV 101 seminars, shall continue in their scheduled class rooms until further notice. Our goal and hope is to be able to continue to conduct our regular undergraduate and graduate classes as core component of our primary educational and research mission.

Please also be reminded that all events (including conferences, symposiums, workshops, seminars, activities including local and international speakers and audience from outside our university community, career events, student club events and concerts, performances and similar events held at Sevgi Gönül Auditorium) between March 10 and April 30 are either cancelled or postponed until further notice.

Self-isolation

In my previous message from March 9,2020, we had requested all faculty, staff and students who have travelled (university-sponsored or personal) to any country outside of Turkey in the last 14 days (effective March 9, 2020) or who will travel to any country in the near future, to complete a 14-day self-isolation immediately upon arrival in Turkey based on measures proposed by the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Health. This isolation includes all individuals, including children, with or without symptoms. It also applies to external visitors to Koç University.

If you fall into this category and need to self-isolate, you need to stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people for 14 days.

If you are staying at Koç University dormitories, either on our main campus or the west campus, you will need to go home immediately and stay there for the self-isolation period of 14 days. University will assist you with your travel arrangements. Please contact the Office of the Dean of your College for further assistance.

For prevention measures, please do follow our guidance and what has been proposed by the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Health.

Continued evaluation

Koç University emergency operations task force is now holding daily meetings to evaluate and assess the current situation regarding the COVID-19. We shall continue to be in touch with you as more updates become available.

Questions about any of these issues can be sent to koronavirusyonetimmerkezi@ku.edu.tr.

I would like to thank you for your constant feedback and reiterate that we very much appreciate your full and constructive cooperation during these challenging times.

My best wishes and regards to you all,

—Umran

Umran S. Inan

PRESIDENT

Message on March 9, 2020

Dear Members of the Koç University Community,

I am writing to update you on some of the guidance we shared with you in my previous message from March 7, 2020. Firstly, please do note that all regulations and recommendations mentioned in my previous message are also applicable to all students of Koç University effective immediately.

Please see below our updated guidance on travel, events and related topics.

Travel

In addition to our previous guidance being still effective immediately through April 30, 2020, we now request all faculty, staff and students who have travelled (university-sponsored or personal) to any country outside of Turkey in the last 14 days (effective March 9, 2020) or who will travel to any country in the near future, to complete a 14-day self-isolation immediately upon arrival in Turkey based on measures proposed by the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Health. This isolation includes all individuals, including children, with or without symptoms. It also applies to external visitors to Koç University.

Please also be advised that you will need to contact our Health Center for necessary checkups within and/or at the end of the 14-day isolation period.

Cancellation of all events

At this time, we are asking all university units to cancel or postpone events they are hosting between March 10 and April 30 until further notice. Such events include all conferences, symposiums, workshops, seminars, activities including local and international speakers and audience from outside our university community, career events, student club events and concerts, performances and similar events held at Sevgi Gönül Auditorium.

The university events subject to the provision above do not include regularly scheduled academic courses. Our goal and hope is to be able to continue to conduct our regular undergraduate and graduate classes as an integral part of our primary educational and research mission.

If you have questions about any of these issues, please contact koronavirusyonetimmerkezi@ku.edu.tr.

Preventing the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19

Please see below updated prevention measures for respiratory diseases like COVID-19 based on measures proposed by the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Health.

  • Stay home when sick.
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Closed spaces should be frequently aired.
  • Close contact with elderly and chronic patients should be avoided.

Please also see further facts about COVID-19, including a video from Koç University School of Medicine Prof. Önder Ergönül.

Continued evaluation

Koç University emergency operations task force shall hold weekly meetings to evaluate and assess the current situation regarding the COVID-19. We shall continue to be in touch with you as more updates become available.

Questions about issues related to COVID-19 can be sent to koronavirusyonetimmerkezi@ku.edu.tr.

I would like to reiterate that we very much appreciate your full and constructive cooperation during these challenging times.

My best wishes and regards to you all,

—Umran

Umran S. Inan

PRESIDENT

Message on March 7, 2020

Dear Members of the Koç University Community,

I am writing to inform you about certain precautions the university is undertaking in response to the global events surrounding COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The health, safety, and well-being of our community, on and off campus, is our top priority. At this time, there is no indication that our campus is affected; however, as Koç University Management, we have activated an emergency operations task force focused on coordinating the actions of the university and our response to possible emergency circumstances.

Please see below our guidance on travel, events and related topics.

Travel

The following guidance is effective immediately through April 30, 2020:

  • International travel – university-sponsored: We are restricting university-sponsored international travel for faculty members and administrative staff, to any country until the specified time above. We realize the resultant impacts may include cancelled trips, the window of time that research can be done, and for some researchers, the contractual obligation to complete projects involving international travel. In addition to the spread of the virus itself, travel restrictions in and out of countries can change at any time, and you may encounter difficulties returning to Turkey.
  • International travel – personal: We strongly recommend against personal travel out of the country until the specified time above. If you do undertake such travel, you must understand there is a chance that there may be a self-isolation requirement for 14 days upon return as well as the fact that there may be airline or governmental restrictions on return that are beyond our control.

International travel restrictions

We are asking everyone who is planning international travel to register it with the university. Such registration allows the university to contact you in the event of a major emergency or changing circumstances related to your travel destination.

We are also asking everyone who has travelled internationally (university-sponsored or personal) since February 17, 2020 to register your travel details with the university.

No one traveling from China, South Korea, Italy, Iran or any other country with a CDC Level 3 travel health restriction is allowed to be present on campus unless they complete a 14-day self-isolation immediately upon arrival in Turkey. This isolation includes all individuals, including children, with or without symptoms. It also applies to external visitors to Koç University. Please also be advised that you will need to reach our Health Center for necessary checkups within and/or at the end of the 14-day isolation period.

Please be aware that due to the number of COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan, there might be 14-day self-isolation periods applicable to these countries also in the foreseeable future.

Postponement or adjustment of all events

At this time, we are asking all university units to cancel or postpone events they are hosting between March 9 and April 30 until further notice.

The university events subject to the provision above do not include regularly scheduled academic courses. However, to promote the safest possible conditions on our campus, we also are undertaking heightened sanitary functions, including more frequent cleaning, and are strongly encouraging preventive hygiene practices, as described further below.

Enhanced cleaning and preventive hygiene

We will be conducting more frequent cleaning in common areas and on commonly touched surfaces.

  • We have increased the number of cleaning staff responsible for crowded areas with high number of users in the academic, dining and housing spaces.
  • Hand sanitizers have been distributed to commonly used spaces including meeting rooms, offices, classrooms etc. and will continue to be distributed.

Preventing the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19

Prevention measures for respiratory diseases like COVID-19 are similar to those utilized against the common cold and flu.

  • Stay home when sick.
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Please also see further facts about COVID-19, including a video from Koç University School of Medicine Prof. Önder Ergönül.

If you have questions about any of these issues, please contact koronavirusyonetimmerkezi@ku.edu.tr.

Continuity of classes and campus operations 

  • We currently expect regularly scheduled University operations including classes to continue through the remainder of the semester, and for final exams to be administered according to the existing schedule.
  • We ask students, staff and faculty who are sick, or who have suppressed immune systems, to not attend class or come to work.
  • Instructors are encouraged to be flexible with attendance and exam policies to help students who may not be able to attend class for the reasons described above.
  • In situations where work can temporarily be performed from home or an alternate location, we encourage all to work together to identify those instances as possible telecommuting opportunities. In situations where telecommuting is not possible, we encourage you all to adhere to preventive hygiene measures, such as those listed above.

Discrimination

Students, faculty and staff who do not live in or have not recently been in an area of ongoing spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 such as China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy, or have not been in contact with a person who is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 are not more likely to get infected, carry or transmit the disease than Turkish or other nationals. It is extremely important that we pay utmost attention so that fear and anxiety about the disease do not cause panic, that people from a certain community or nation are not considered as the source and carrier of the disease, and that our foreign students, faculty and staff, especially those of Asian descent, are not discriminated against.

Continued evaluation

We are continuing to evaluate additional issues and will be in touch with you as updates become available.

Please also see Council of Higher Education (YÖK)’s proposed measures against COVID-19.

Questions about issues related to COVID-19 can be sent to koronavirusyonetimmerkezi@ku.edu.tr.

We know that there are many questions regarding how this virus may be impacting various dimensions of campus operations. The university will be making decisions on these matters, and we are committed to communicating regularly with the campus community.

I deeply appreciate your understanding as we sift through these challenging times and ask for your full and constructive cooperation.

My best wishes and regards to you all,

—Umran

Umran S. Inan

PRESIDENT