Amid fears over the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak spreading in Korea, KAIST has followed a suggestion from the Korean government to delay the commencement of the upcoming semester. Several changes to the academic schedule have been made by the KAIST Academic Registrar Team and the Student Life Team. The start of the 2020 Spring semester has been postponed by two weeks to March 16. Despite the late start, the length of the semester — 16 weeks — remains unchanged, meaning the semester will now conclude on July 3.
On January 27, the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC) raised the coronavirus warning from caution to alert levels. In response, KAIST formed a Novel Coronavirus Prevention Committee, which sent out a survey to all KAIST students, to identify those who may be at risk of carrying or spreading the virus. It was decided that all students who have visited China, or come into contact with those who have, since January 15 would be placed in quarantine in Hwaam Hall dormitory. As of February 14, 25 students had been assigned to the self-isolation dormitory rooms, and 8 had completed their 14-day quarantine. For more information, see our Hwaam Quarantine article.
Due to the postponement of the 2020 Spring semester, the dormitory schedule has also been changed. The official move-in period has been delayed by two weeks in line with the beginning of the semester, and so the Student Life Team is requesting an additional payment from students staying in dormitories over the winter semester. It is important for those people to pay for the two weeks added to the winter break to avoid difficulties during the move-in period. The payment will be available on the KAIST Dormitory System (KDS) website from February 25 to 27. This news was greeted with some displeasure from students, and the KAIST UA, FLEX, released a survey to investigate the problems caused by the change in the academic schedule.
In addition to the semester postponement, several major campus events have been canceled or postponed. The ceremony to mark KAIST’s 49th foundation anniversary, the faculty retirement ceremony, the degree conferment ceremony, the faculty workshop ceremony, and the KAIST Presidential Fellowship (KPF) certificate awarding ceremony have been postponed, with new dates yet to be announced. Most importantly, the matriculation ceremony for entering freshmen and the freshman orientation for new international students have been canceled, and will be replaced with a video message from President Sung-Chul Shin along with the representative student’s oath. It is not yet clear whether freshmen will receive sufficient orientation materials for their arrival at KAIST.
External events including cultural events, conferences, and seminars that are planned to use on-campus facilities have also been canceled until further notice. However, small-scale events (maximum 40 people) for particular laboratories or groups within KAIST will be allowed at the discretion of professors, under the condition of following the specified coronavirus prevention protocol.
No announcement regarding the start of the 2020 Fall semester has yet been made, however, it is marked as August 31 on the academic calendar as of February 12. This implies that the summer break will be two weeks shorter than normal.
Those who have cough, fever, and difficulty breathing should seek medical assistance quickly. Before seeking medical help at a public hospital, call 1339 or your local health center to report your symptoms.