Lithuanian universities are looking to resume normal teaching in September, even as youths have been particularly slow to get vaccinated.
Most students in Lithuania finished the last academic year from home – due to the pandemic, classes were moved online, while many workshops were altogether cancelled.
This September, however, higher education institutions expect to start the new academic year in lecture halls and seminar rooms.
They are waiting for September with unease, as daily infection count started edging up in recent weeks and vaccination is not going as fast as hoped.
Vaiva Hendrikson, vice dean of Vilnius University's Faculty of Medicine, says that only vaccinated or tested medical students will be allowed to go to hospitals and attend seminars.
Meanwhile, lectures at the faculty will continue online.
The university as a whole is planning to survey its students to see how many of them have been vaccinated, says vice rector Edita Sužiedėlienė. Moreover, Vilnius University plans to install mobile vaccination sites.
“In late August, we're likely to have them on all the main Vilnius University campuses in Vilnius as well as its regional divisions in Šiauliai and Kaunas,” says Sužiedėlienė.
Kaunas-based Vytautas Magnus University is also planning to offer vaccination to its students.
“During the introduction week, when we're expecting the biggest influx of freshers, we'll have these [vaccination] centres, which could remain until early September, when international students are coming,” says Simona Pilkienė, the university's vice rector.
Epidemiologists say that people under 24 have been the slowest group to get vaccinated in Lithuania.
“I'm following scientific discussions about the vaccination process and there's talk that Covid-19 may eventually become a young people's disease, since older people are more motivated to get vaccinated for fear of death or hospitalisation,” says Mindaugas Stankūnas, a professor at the Lithuanian University of Health Science.