1. Events held in the memory of Lyudmila Verbitskaya

St Petersburg University held the International Philological Conference in Memory of Professor Lyudmila Verbitskaya from 26 to 24 November 2020 (St Petersburg University opened a free open access to a book Let’s talk correctly! by Lyudmila Verbitskaya). The conference brought together over 1,100 scholars and researchers. This is twice more than last year as the conference was held in a distance mode.

On 23 November, Rector of St Petersburg University Nikolay Kropachev awarded the first diplomas to the winners of the new scholarship programme. The scholarship programme named after Lyudmila Verbitskaya was opened this year. It offers opportunities for students and postgraduate students in any field of study who excel in studying the wide-ranging science of the Russian language (The scholarship programme named after Lyudmila Verbitskaya). Preparation and publication has taken place of the first volume of the series that focuses on collecting memories about Lyudmila Verbitskaya compiled by Professor Daudov. On 23 November, there was a presentation of the book in the Twelve Collegia building and also the opening of the photo exhibition and book exhibition to commemorate the memory of Lyudmila Verbitskaya (St Petersburg University opened a photo exhibition to commemorate the memory of Lyudmila Verbitskaya).

The second volume of the series about Lyudmila Verbitskaya is expected to collect the memories of her colleagues and students about life at the University.

2. Three researchers at St Petersburg University are among the Highly Cited Researchers worldwide

The Web of Science (WoS) Highly Cited Researchers 2020 lists three researchers at the University. This is the best result among Russian universities.

The list of WoS includes 0.1% of the highly cited researchers in a wide range of fields of study. This year, it includes 6,167 researchers across the globe. Among them are 2,650 researchers from the USA (41.5% out of the total number), 770 researchers from China (21.1%), and 514 researchers from the UK (8%). The list includes only six researchers from Russia who indicated their affiliation with the Russian institutions. Three of them are affiliated with St Petersburg University.

  • Among them are Raul Gainetdinov, who serves as the Director of the Institute of the Translational Biomedicine at St Petersburg University, Academic Supervisor of the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies of St Petersburg University (the Web of Science includes 345 publications, with 14 of them being indexed as the highly cited publications in pharmacology and toxicology from 2009 to 2019)
  • NIkolay Kuznetsov, who serves as the Head of the Department of Applied Cybernetics at St Petersburg University (the Web of Science includes 189 publications, with 12 of them being the highly cited publications in interdisciplinary research)
  • Gennady Leonov (died in 2018), who served as the Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics at St Petersburg University and founded the Department of Applied Cybernetics (the Web of Science includes over 170 publications, with 12 of them being among the highly cited publications)

These achievements in science can boost our position in the Academic Ranking of World Universities. The Academic Ranking of World Universities equals the highly cited researchers to the Fields Medal or Nobel Prize.

3. Winners of the award by the Russian Professor meeting

The Professor Forum included awarding the titles of the Rector of the Year, Dean of the Year, Professor of the Year granted by the Russia-wide public organisation ’Russian Professor Meeting’. The Forum ended on 19 November in Moscow. Three deans at St Petersburg University were awarded the title the Dean of the Year. They are: Professor Novikova, who serves as the Dean of the School of International Relations; Professor Shaboltas, who serves as the Dean of the Faculty of Psychology; and Professor Petrosyan, who serves the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes. Four professors at St Petersburg University were awarded the title of the Professor of the Year. They are: Professor Kuznetsov at the Department of Applied Cybernetics; Professor Popondopulo at the Department of Commercial Law at St Petersburg University; Professor Smorgunov at the Department of Political Governance at St Petersburg University; and Professor Novikova at the Department of European Studies at St Petersburg University.

4. Organisation of teaching and learning

Over the past week, the Virtual Reception received 44 enquiries submitted by academic staff, students and their parents, with 17 of them relating to academic matters. 21 enquiries were submitted to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs and Teaching Methods via the University email service. Among the enquiries were those relating to student monthly allowances, welfare support, transfer and reinstatement, and issuing certificates and other documents.

Some enquiries were related to the changes in the timetable and mode of study in various fields of study. Detailed answers to all these enquiries are provided through the Virtual Reception. During the past week, proposals have been submitted by the heads of the academic staff. From 23 November to the end of the semester, all classes are to be delivered in distance mode by using educational e-technologies, except for medicine. The interim assessment is to be delivered in distance mode, as suggested by the heads of the academic and research departments.

In response to the enquires submitted to the Virtual Reception relating to the timetable of interim assessment, it was noted that all fail/pass tests and exams are to be held during the period from the end of December to the end of January, as stipulated by the academic calendars. The timetable is to be approved at least two weeks before the first exam is scheduled. The timetable is still in the process. The exams and fail/pass tests during the interim assessment are to be held by using the information and communication technologies. All information relating to which technologies shall be used during each exam or fail/pass test will be available in the student personal accounts.

As in spring, (Applying for an academic leave or individual learning schedule) enquiries have been submitted by international and Russian students relating to how to apply for academic leave or an individual learning schedule to have fail/pass tests or exams. A student in chemistry left for home in Irkutsk and was planning to return to St Petersburg to have a laboratory trial. Yet having been in contact with a COVID-19 positively tested person he had to self-isolate and consequently postpone his return to St Petersburg to a more convenient moment. The student telephoned the academic office to enquire about whether he could gain support from the University to have access to the laboratory situated at the University’s university-partner at Irkutsk (Laboratory trials during self-isolation). The way how the enquiries relating to applying for academic leave or an individual learning schedule for Russian and international students who reside in other regions or countries during the pandemic are approached remains the same as in spring and summer.

There is an increase in the number of students attending the classes delivered by using information and telecommunication technologies. Although many students are residing in other regions and time zones, they have become more actively engaged in working in a distance mode.

In autumn, there was a reduction in the number of international students who were expelled from the University by 0.2% compared with 2019. Yet the number of the Russian students who were expelled from the University increased by 0.1% compared with 2019.

5. Interim assessment for first-year students

The first-year students will have an interim assessment in December and January. The interim assessment will be delivered by using information and telecommunication technologies. This week, there will be a meeting with the leaders of the first-year students to inform other students about how the interim assessment is organised, what difficulties they might face, what they should pay attention to, and what to do if problems arise.

The directors and deans are instructed to discuss these issues with the student councils and suggest their proposals as to how to organise the interim assessment, provide support to first-years students, and communicate efficiently if problems arise.

6. Communication between academic staff and students

Being able to communicate with lecturers during and after classes is essential for students. At the University, it is a common practice to have consultations with the lecturers every week. Students can ask routine questions, discuss their term papers, graduation papers, and projects, and get support on various issues, while for lecturers these consultations are the way to get feedback. Yet few students know about these consultations. The deans and directors were instructed to control how these consultations are delivered by using information and telecommunication technologies on a weekly basis and to discuss it with the student councils.

7. Informing administration about leaving

As classes are delivered in a distance mode by using information and telecommunication technologies, students can study without having to leave home. If a student leaves St Petersburg and vacates their place in the hall of residence, they must inform the administration about where they will be staying and provide contact information in case problems arise. A special form to fill in can be found in the personal account of students. Once the form is submitted, the information will be available to all offices that work with students. Among them are Settlement Department of the University Campus, Academic Affairs Department, and Department for Youth Affairs.

During the past week, the Rector instructed Vice-Rectors and Deputy Rectors to issue the orders or introduce amendments into the current documentation that would be similar to those adopted in relation to how to organise the various processes in the spring semester. The deadline is 24 November 2020. These orders allowed academic staff and students to avoid personal contacts with the administrative staff and not to submit the originals of the documents to resolve issues relating to administrative and training processes. Among them are: applying for welfare support by students and academic staff; applying to receive certificates and copies of documents; and not paying for living in the halls of residence by students who left the halls of the residence for the period of delivering training by using information and telecommunication technologies (In case of emergency). Over half a year ago, Deputy Rector for Legal Affairs Yury Penov issued Order No 2452/1 dated 26 March 2020 ’On following the rules and legal interests of academic staff, administrative staff, and students at St Petersburg University in organising records and accounting’. The order aimed at helping staff and students at St Petersburg University adhere to their rules and legal interests in case of emergency. For this reason, the University eased the procedure about how to keep the records and ensure accounting under the new conditions. To prevent the spread of the COVID-19, this order was amended and its duration was extended to 31 December 2020.

8. Ensuring psychological support to students

Over ten years ago, the University started to provide its services relating to ensuring psychological support to students (The Minutes of the Rector’s meeting dated 19 November 2012 and dated 30 January 2012). Students can get psychological support free of charge. It is provided by high-calibre academic staff and senior students in psychology (The Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 19 October 2020).

Since early 2020, 1,561 sessions have been held to provide psychological support (face-to-face and by using information and telecommunication technologies), including 1,047 sessions provided to students at St Petersburg University. In April 2020, the Rector instructed to open a help line via Skype SPBU-Help 1 (St Petersburg University opened a help line Skype of trust to ensure psychological support during the pandemic). You can call via Skype from 09:00 to 21:00 Moscow time every day. Psychologists are ready to ensure support. You can contact the service online, by phone 363-65-01, 328-94-17, or by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Rector also instructed to open an office to provide psychological support in Peterhof. The Campus will have two members of the Psychological Clinic services and practitioners who will offer psychological support in case of emergency and answer questions from students. The Peterhof Campus is also expected to hold various events that aim at preventing risky behaviour that may cause harm to health and to adapting first-year students to living at the University by engaging first-year students to take part in them. This year, the members of the Department for Youth Affairs have attended the programme of advanced training provided by the Faculty of Psychology to be trained in how to provide support in case of emergency.

9. Results and outcomes of meeting between the Dean and students in Political Science

All directors and deans are continuing to regularly collaborate with academic staff and student councils. Most of directors and deans report weekly about what difficulties they faced during the week in relation to organising the training process and provide information they obtain from student councils during the meetings. Analysing this information can reveal problems to promptly respond to.

Recently, the Dean of the Faculty of Political Science Professor Kurochkin had a meeting with the students and discovered two cases of not following the timetable by the members of the academic staff, including Professor Zavershinsky and Professor Pavroz. Professor Zavershinsky failed to deliver a seminar on 3 November 2020. The investigation showed that Professor Zavershinsky did fail to deliver the seminar, and his postgraduate student did it for him. It is a case of violating the rules and regulations as postgraduate students are allowed to deliver classes only in presence of the members of academic staff (within the framework of pursuing teaching practice).

Professor Pavroz delivered a class by using information and telecommunication technologies without informing administrative staff and students. In his statement of explanation, he wrote that he had not been informed about the changes that had been introduced into the timetable. The timetable is a document that must be regularly checked for amendments and changes by academic staff and students.

There are discussions relating to imposing disciplinary measures to the professors.

10. Preparing students on military reserve

The Virtual Reception receives enquiries from students relating to how the classes for students on military reserve should be delivered. The training shall be delivered in accordance with the regulations and legal acts approved by the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. All requirements as to how to implement programmes in the military that are approved by the military administration are stipulated by those who order training in accordance with the programmes. The consultations with the military administration resulted in adopting a decision relating to organising training by using information and telecommunication technologies since 1 December 2020 to the end of the semester.

11. Welfare support to students

St Petersburg University can provide welfare support to students to compensate for the expenses relating to purchasing tickets to their home from St Petersburg during the pandemic. To receive welfare support students shall submit an application form via Personal accounts by attaching the copies or photos of relevant documents that prove purchasing the tickets and making a trip (Providing welfare support). Last semester, over 1,400 students applied for welfare support. All applications were satisfied.

The University provides welfare support to students without forcing them to leave their halls of residence. Choosing where to continue studying is up to every student to decide.

Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting

Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 12 April 2021

  1. Current issues with organising the teaching and learning process
  2. Round-table discussion ’Problems of formation and fixation of student electronic portfolio of individual achievements’
  3. The procedure for the entry of international students into the Russian Federation for study purposes has been established
  4. Competition for the position of Deputy Head of the Auditing Department
  5. Merging of the University’s Palaeontology Museum and Palaeontological and Stratigraphic Museum
  6. Separate waste collection at the University
  7. ’Vestnik of St Petersburg University. Law’ registered with the Scopus Science Metrix database
  8. Damage done by students to the University property
  9. Dissemination of information on the activities of the University scientists in the media
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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 11 May 2021

  1. Aleksandr Zagoskin, Associate Professor at St Petersburg University, is the winner of the Nika Film Award
  2. Meeting of the St Petersburg University Board of Trustees
  3. Cooperation Agreement between St Petersburg University and Sberbank
  4. St Petersburg University Strategic Plan until 2030 Approved
  5. Current issues related to the organisation of the teaching and learning process
  6. St Petersburg University online school
  7. Personnel competition to accompany a world-class international centre
  8. Accessibility of the St Petersburg University portal for people with special health needs
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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 22 March 2021

  1. Current issues of organising the teaching and learning process
  2. Format of the teaching and learning process from1 April 2021
  3. List of the planned indicators of the internal assessment of the academic programmes
  4. Organising work with the online courses
  5. Applying for scholarships
  6. Strategy for the digital transformation of the University: drafting the event programme
  7. New duties of the University Academic Board
  8. Classroom-based studies delivered by academic staff who are 65 or older
  9. Enquiries submitted to be discussed by the working group formed in relation to the reorganisation of the University
  10. Vaccination of international citizens
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A brief report of the Rector’s Meeting dated 15 March

1. Current issues related to organisation of the teaching and learning process

Last week, the Virtual Reception received 21 enquiries from students and teachers addressed to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods. These included 7 enquires on teaching and methodology. 11 enquiries were sent to the email of the Vice-Rector. They exclude the enquiries on the University reorganisation (see paragraph 2 below). The most urgent issues were addressed in detail. They will be published in the full report of the Rector’s Meeting.

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A brief report of the Rector’s Meeting dated 10 March 2021

The participants of the meeting observed a moment of silence in memory of the University Professor Emeritus Evgeny Veremey.

1. Current issues related to organisation of the teaching and learning process

Last week, the Virtual Reception received 45 enquiries from students and teachers addressed to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods. Nine enquiries were sent to the e-mail of the Vice-Rector. The most urgent issues were addressed in detail. They will be published in the full report of the Rector’s Meeting.

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A brief report of the Rector’s Meeting dated 20 February 2021

1. The format of training sessions from 1 March 2021

The Rector’s meeting addressed the proposals of the heads of academic and research departments on the format of training sessions from 1 March 2021. The following decisions were made taking into account the experience of organising the teaching and learning process with the use of information and communication technologies and the need to comply with the Recommendations for the prevention of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in educational institutions of higher education, approved by the Chief State Sanitary Doctor of the Russian Federation on 29 July 2020.

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A brief report of the Rector’s Meeting dated 22 January 2021

1. Current issues with organising the academic process

Last week, the Virtual Reception received 35 enquiries from students and teachers including 23 enquiries on academic issues addressed to the Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods. Seven enquiries were sent to the e-mail of the Vice-Rector. The most urgent issues were addressed in detail. They will be published in the full report of the Rector’s Meeting (The quality of the heating system in hall of residence No 18;St Petersburg University branch in Tashkent;Competition for funding to cover participation in student olympiads, intellectual contests, conferences and other scientific events in 2021;  Imposing disciplinary liability).

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 14 December 2020

1. St Petersburg University is a co-founder and the sole Russian representative in the Global Alliance of Massive Open Online Courses

The Global MOOC Alliance is a non-commercial partnership of higher educational institutions, online educational platforms and international non-profit organisations initiated by the UNESCO Institute for Information Technology in Education (UNESCO IITE) and Tsinghua University (PRC). Its creation was officially announced in Beijing at the global online conference ‘Learning Revolution and Higher Education Transformation’, which took place on 9-11 December 2020. St Petersburg University’s participation in the founding of the Global MOOC Alliance is a great honour and gives us worldwide recognition in the field of online education.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 7 December 2020

As proposed by the Rector, the meeting began with a moment of silence in memory of Professor Igor Froyanov.

1. About a meeting with Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation

On 2 December, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko met with the heads of the following organisations, all of which fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government: Moscow State University, St Petersburg University, Kurchatov Institute, the Higher School of Economics, the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, and the University of Economics. St Petersburg University Rector Nikolay Kropachev and Vice-Rector for Research Sergey Mikushev participated in the meeting, during which the work of the Situation Centre of the Government of the Russian Federation and new approaches to contemporary digital management were demonstrated. Two lines of development were highlighted in the work of the Centre: teams of professionals, ad hoc groups of experts and government officials, who are engaged in dealing with particular tasks, and an approach to work predicated on the principle of co-working.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 30 November 2020

1. The Second International Congress of the Russian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science

On 27-29 November, the Second International Congress of the Russian Society for History and Philosophy of Science was held at St Petersburg University. The main areas of history and the philosophy of science that are presented in Russia were considered, as were new, emerging areas of research that are just beginning to develop in our country. Emphasis was placed on a discussion of issues involving the interplay between philosophical, academic and technological research and society from both contemporary and historical perspectives. These included the relationship between the goals of academic activity and significant public objectives, the place of scholarly expertise in relevant public discussions and the ability of scholarship to meet the fundamental challenges of our time. More than 400 Russian and over 50 foreign scholars (from such countries as the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France and Germany) took part in 14 panel discussions and 9 roundtables.

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Minutes of the Rector's meeting dated 23 November 2020

1. Events held in the memory of Lyudmila Verbitskaya

St Petersburg University held the International Philological Conference in Memory of Professor Lyudmila Verbitskaya from 26 to 24 November 2020 (St Petersburg University opened a free open access to a book Let’s talk correctly! by Lyudmila Verbitskaya). The conference brought together over 1,100 scholars and researchers. This is twice more than last year as the conference was held in a distance mode.

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Minutes of the Rector's Meeting dated 16 November 2020

1. Organisation of teaching and learning

Last week, 73 enquiries from teachers as well as students and their parents, including 31 enquiries on academic issues, were sent to the Virtual Reception. 21 enquiries were sent to the email of Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods, including 19 enquiries on academic issues. The enquiries included requests for certificates and document copies, and questions on student residence and information systems’ work.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 6 November 2020

1. The conference of the work groups on ‘Politics and International Relations’ and ‘Economics, Trade and Resources’ of the KRD Forum

On 5 November 2020, a strategic conference of the work groups on ‘Politics and International Relations’ and ‘Economics, Trade and Resources’ of the Korea–Russia Dialogue Forum took place at St Petersburg University. The conference was dedicated to the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Russia. The event was held online.  

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 2 November 2020

1. Organisation of the learning process

Last week, 35 enquiries from teachers as well as students and their parents including 7 enquiries on academic issues were sent to the Virtual Reception. 16 enquiries were sent to the e-mail of Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods including 13 enquiries on academic issues. The enquiries included requests for certificates and other documents, questions on the procedures of transfer and reinstatement, financial aid requests, etc.  

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 26 October 2020

1. The commission for discussing the suggestions offered by Dr Yury Fedotov

Dr Yury Fedotov, Senior Vice-Rector for Medical Care and Director of the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies at St Petersburg University, applied to the University's Rector to open a department of postgraduate medical education and to set up an academic council of the Pirogov Clinic. The aim is to improve the quality and efficiency of education and research carried out in the Clinic. The Clinic has 16 Doctors of Sciences and 70 Candidates of Sciences (Medicine). These suggestions were discussed by the Academic Council of the Faculty of Medicine and the Academic Council of the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Medical Technologies.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 19 October 2020

1. The University has five winners of the RSF - DFG joint competition for grants

The results of the fifth joint competition for grants from the Russian Science Foundation and German Research Foundation (DFG) have been announced. The competition was held within the priority field of research 'Fundamental Research and Exploratory Research by International Research Collaboration Teams'. Among the competition winners are 18 projects, including 5 projects proposed by scientists and scholars from the University. Three scientists work in the natural sciences and two in the humanities: A. Timoshkin, M. Vinarski, A. Saraev, L. Moskovkin, A. Filyushkin. The amount of each grant is six million roubles to be allocated annually. The implementation period of the research project is within 2021–2023 (The Russian Science Foundation will support 18 joint Russian–German projects). Our University has the best results among all research and educational institutions across Russia. No other institution has won more than one grant.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 12 October 2020

1. New members of the University Academic Council elected

On 21 September 2020, at a conference of research and teaching staff, a new University Academic Council was elected for a five-year period along with representatives of other categories of workers and students (Conference on the election of a new Academic Council of St Petersburg University).

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 5 October 2020

1. Measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Taking into account the revised version of the Resolution of the Government of St Petersburg No 121 'On Measures to Counteract the Spread of the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in St Petersburg' dated 13 March 2020, additional measures the University should take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were discussed at this Rector's meeting. All University employees working under civil law contracts and not participating in the technological processes necessary for the life of the University are transferred to the online mode of work. The same mode is maintained for academic staff aged 65+ and employees with chronic diseases.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 30 September 2020

1. A representative office of St Petersburg University at the University for Foreigners of Siena

A week ago, a representative office of St Petersburg University was opened in Siena, Italy. The office is housed at the University for Foreigners of Siena, a partner of St Petersburg University. This is the sixth foreign representative office of St Petersburg University and the second in Europe. The University uses its representative offices to organise various events, such as lectures, seminars, conferences, roundtable discussions, exhibitions of students' creative works, and joint competitions. The efficiency of the representative offices is reflected in the positions occupied by the University in the rankings, especially in such an indicator as internationalisation. Therefore, it is very important to organise the activities of the representative offices by filling their work with particular content. In this regard, Sergey Andryushin, Deputy Rector for International Affairs, asked the meeting participants to submit proposals on the activities that could be organised at the new representative office in Italy.

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Minutes of the Rector’s Meeting dated 14 September 2020

1. Influenza vaccination campaign

This year earlier than ever St Petersburg University has started the seasonal influenza mass vaccination. Influenza vaccination is the responsibility of territorial healthcare authorities. The University Rector addressed enquiries to concerned vice-governors to deploy mobile vaccination points on University campuses in Vasileostrovsky and Petrodvortsovy districts, so that students and staff could benefit from getting a vaccine near their homes, work or study place. The enquiry is still to be considered. Without further ado, the University approved the student vaccination schedule with Outpatient Clinic No 3 and its administration; vaccination points will be set up inside University buildings at 16/18 7th Line, Vasilyevsky Island. The vaccination schedule for another point at 35 Universitetsky prospect is pending approval with St Nikolas Hospital administration. Vaccination schedules will be tailored to the academic timetable and posted on the University website.

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