COVID-19: Support for international students
This page was created to support our international students and to provide answers to the most frequently asked questions in relation to the COVID-19 situation in Romania, which may be of interest for our international community. The page will be updated regularly. Last update: 24.03.2020 / 20:40


I am an international student at the Faculty of Political Science and I do not speak Romanian and/or I do not have full access to local news. Whom can I ask questions about what is going on?

The contact point for international students is the International Relations and Communication Office (BRIC) of the Faculty of Political Science, coordinated by Assoc. Prof. Luciana Alexandra GHICA. Together with a group of volunteer students from several of the faculty's undergraduate and graduate programs, she initiated and coordinates the faculty's rapid response group for supporting international students within the context of the COVID-19 situation. 

This initiative aims to 
  • provide access to relevant local news & decisions so that international students are kept updated about all decisions at faculty and university level, as well as about the decisions of local and national authorities in Romania (on this webpage)
  • provide local relevant information 
  • provide collegial support (in English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German) while classes are taught remotely, through a network of volunteers
For any questions or concerns during this period, you can write us to iSupport@fspub.unibuc.ro

What is the current situation in Romania?

We will keep you updated about the evolution of the events. For the moment, the most important administrative change in the national management of the situation is the fact that the state of emergency is applied on the entire territory of Romania, starting with Monday, 16th of March. 

What does the state of emergency mean?

The state of emergency is a set of procedures that are taken administratively for a better coordination of the public services in times like epidemics. It usually involves the restriction of large gatherings and certain nation-wide rules about the distribution of transport fluxes for goods and persons. These rules have to be respected by both public and private actors, and they can also include the limitation of traffic across the frontier. The restrictions could not take more than 30 days but they could exceptionally be extended with another 30 days. We will let you know which are the specific measures that might affect you as resident, student and/or foreign citizen as soon as they are communicated by the national authorities.

Which are the specific measures that Romanian authorities imposed?


I. HEALTH


IF YOU PRESENT SYMPTOMS, please call 0800 800 358 (national COVID-19 hotline) or, for emergencies, 112. English-language assistance is available for both numbers but it may take a while to get through due to the increased number of calls during this period.

IF YOU DO NOT PRESENT SYMPTOMS, the following measures apply:

A. QUARANTINE  (14 days): if you travelled during the last 14 days to any of the currently red zone territories (i.e. extended spread). 
Quarantine is organized in spaces destined exclusively for this purpose by the national health authorities and under direct medical supervision. Fines and jail time (up to 15 years,, if someone dies due to the non-compliance with these measures) for those who do not respect it.

RED ZONE (as of the 25th of March): France, Italy, Iran, Spain

B. SELF-ISOLATION (14 days): if you
  • travelled during the last 14 days to yellow zone territories (i.e. where the virus was confirmed in at least 500 cases); or
  • were in direct contact with those who travelled in red zone territories and have symptoms; or
  • were in direct contact with those who have symptoms; or
  • are a family member of any of the above.
Self-isolation is organized at home but permanent contact with medical authorities should be maintained (usually through the family doctor or another medical contact for those who are not enrolled in the national health program). Fines and jail time (up to 15 years, if someone dies due to the non-compliance with these measures) for those who do not respect it.

YELLOW ZONE (as of the 25th of March)The rest of the world

C. SOCIAL DISTANCING (during the state of emergency): for everybody else.
People should stay indoors, large gatherings are prohibited. Getting out for buying food or other necessities is allowed but physical distance should be kept in shops and in the street.

II. OTHER MEASURES

In brief (as of the 22nd March):
  • the circulation of groups of more than 3 persons is prohibited 
  • as of the 23rd of March, 22:00, the circulation of persons between 22:00 and 6:00 is forbidden
  • as of the 25th of March, the circulation of persons between 6:00 and 22:00 is restricted 
  • as of the 22nd of March, 22:00, shopping malls and all shops except those selling food or medicine are closed
  • as of the 22nd of March, 22:00, dental practices are closed, except for emergencies
  • as of the 22nd of March, 22:00, all national borders will be closed for entry - the measure applies to all foreign travelers and stateless persons, except for persons in transit through designated corridors. Exceptions also apply in the following situations:
    • family members of Romanian citizens;
    • family members of other member states of the European Union or of the European Economic Area or of the Swiss Confederation, who reside in Romania; 
    • persons who hold a long-term visa, a residence permit or a document equivalent to the residence permit issued by the Romanian authorities or an equivalent document issued by the authorities of other states, according to the law of the European Union; 
    • persons traveling for professional interest (proof: visa, residence permit or other equivalent document); 
    • diplomatic or consular staff, staff of international organizations, military staff or staff who can provide humanitarian aid; 
    • passengers in transit, including those repatriated as a result of granting consular protection; 
    • passengers traveling on imperative grounds (medical or family); 
    • persons who need international protection or protection for other humanitarian reasons. 
The full text of the ordinance, in English, is available at https://www.suntsolidar.eu/library/Corpul_European_de_Solidaritate/COVID-19/MilitaryOrderNo2March2020EN.pdf

Which are the measures that the University of Bucharest took and which administrative or support services are still available?

Prevention and continuing most of its activity remotely: The university increased hygiene awareness and the supplies of soap in its buildings, opted for remote teaching between the 11th March (14:00h) and the 10th of April, and moved most of its administrative activity online. 

Travel: The university will not support financially any travel of staff or students to risk areas, and it also advises that all non urgent travel be postponed.   

Open (last update 17.03): All student dormitories; the free medical support unit from the M. Kogalniceanu student dormitory (groundfloor, map )

Partially open (last update 17.03): Borrowing services remain available but all reading halls across the entire network of university libraries are closed; the administrative units (including faculty's secretariats) are open for the public for a shorter amount of time and only for services that cannot be provided online

While the state of emergency is in place and unless other measures are required, the secretariat of the faculty will function daily for public interaction only between 10:30 and 11:00. The contact details for the secretariat members are available at http://www.fspub.unibuc.ro/despre/secretariat. International students enrolled for a full degree should contact the secretary responsabile for their respective program of study. The secretary for international exchange students remains Ms. Nicoleta Matei but for the moment all administrative documents (i.e. Changes to learning agreement) should be sent directly by email to the coordinator of the International Relations and Communication Office, Assoc. Prof. Luciana Alexandra GHICA (luciana.ghica@fspub.unibuc.ro, erasmus@fspub.unibuc.ro).

Closed (last update 17.03): Cafeteria from the M. Kogalniceanu campus

A webpage of frequently asked questions at university level is available at https://unibuc.ro/info-covid-19/?lang=en.

When will the classes resume face to face?

As of 16th of March, we expect classes to resume in the regular, face to face format after the spring holiday, i.e.21st of April. Until then, classes will continue remotely. The spring break is scheduled between the 11th and the 20th of April. We also prepare for the situation in which remote teaching should continue for the rest of the semester.

I do not know how remote teaching will work for a certain class. Whom should I contact?

The dean asked all professors that they inform each student representative by Friday, 13th of March about the manner in which each class would be organized remotely. The students representative for each program and year should then inform his/her colleague about these procedures. The secretariat also sent to all professors the list of all exchange students who registered for classes by the 13th of March. Professors started sending specific details to the students' representatives and, in some cases, also to the list of Erasmus students to which they had access from the list sent by the secretariat. 

International students enrolled for a full degree should communicate directly with their student representative. 

If you are an exchange student and you have not registered yet, please fill in and send the faculty enrolment form (download here) at erasmus@fspub.unibuc.ro. 

If you are an exchange student and you registered but so far you have not got any information on a specific class, you can write to the students' representative for the program and year where the respective class is taught. If you have difficulties in this communication, you can also write directly to the professor or to the International Relations and Communication Office (BRIC@fspub.unibuc.ro or luciana.ghica@fspub.unibuc.ro). 

The list of students' representatives and their institutional emails are available at http://www.fspub.unibuc.ro/despre/echipa-manageriala (Top right section Reprezentanti de an studenti). The list of professors and their institutional emails are available at http://www.fspub.unibuc.ro/despre/profesori.

I need an institutional account to access the remote teaching resources. I do not know / I forgot my credentials. Whom should I contact?

Please write to IT@fspub.unibuc.ro. If you are an international exchange student, please put in CC also luciana.ghica@fspub.unibuc.ro.

If I go to my own country can I stay there for the rest of the semester and still get the credits for the courses that I took?

Currently, there is no institutional policy on this issue. For the moment, the university will be closed for face to face teaching only until the 10th of April. During this period teaching continues online. This period may be extended. Between the 11th and 20th of April the regular academic calendar includes a spring break coinciding with the Easter. There are no classes during the spring break but there is no current decision at the university level about the potential modifications of the calendar given the current circumstances. We expect to resume face to face teaching in April, after the spring break but, depending on the situation, we also prepare for the scenario in which teaching may continue online for the whole semester. We also hope that the exam session (May / June) will take under normal circumstances. Some exams will require your physical presence. Credits are given for a course only after examination and if the final grade for that course is at least 5 (i.e. the minimum passing grade). The regular academic calendar is available here.

Which are the protection measures against COVID-19?

These are the basic protective recommendations of the World Health Organization

If you need more information, you can now get it directly on your mobile through WhatsApp from the World Health Organization

I feel invaded by too much information about this whole situation and I fear some of it exploits my fears or goodwill instincts. What can I do?

Here are some tips and tricks on how to avoid digital scams and fake news that exploit the current situation

European Union - European External Action Service (2020) EEAS Special Report: Disinformation on the Coronavirus - Short Assessment of the Information Environment, EU vs. DISINFO, 19 March

Liviu Arsene (2020) Coronavirus Medical Supply Scams Prey on Fear, Hot for Security - Bitdefender, 17 March
https://hotforsecurity.bitdefender.com/blog/coronavirus-medical-supply-scams-prey-on-fear-22570.html

Liviu Arsene (2020) Coronavirus Phishing Scams Exploit Misinformation, Hot for Security - Bitdefender, 17 March
https://hotforsecurity.bitdefender.com/blog/coronavirus-phishing-scams-exploit-misinformation-22599.html

I am worried about the whole situation and I feel very anxious. What should I do?

It is perfectly understandable that you may feel overwhelmed by this situation and the influx of information that you receive on COVID-19. If you feel you cannot cope, please ask for help. We will try to put you in contact with a professional health expert speaking your language.

Meanwhile, we recommend to look at these resources about how to deal with stress these days

World Health Organisation: COVID-19 - Coping with stress

Coleen Moriarty (2020) Feeling Anxious about COVID-19? Yale Medicine, 13 March