Suspension of classes – COVID 19

At the end of the March 10th Austrian Council of Ministers meeting the public announcement was made by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz – and later specified in writing by education minister Heinz Fassmann - that in order to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, as of Monday, March 16th all public and private universities are to suspend classes requiring physical presence up to and including April 3rd, 2020.


Although at this point no law or executive order has been passed by parliament or the government to force universities to take this drastic measure, following a crisis response team meeting on Tuesday afternoon and after consulting with ITI Grand Chancellor and Archbishop of Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, The Rector of the ITI sees no other option than to follow the lead of all other Austrian universities and to hence suspend classes as of Monday, March 16th. Students were already informed in detail about these measures during a special meeting on march 10th at 9pm and in writing.


Overview of key measures taken:


-          All classes will be suspended as of Monday, March 16th

-          Classes will resume on April 20th, after the regularly scheduled Easter break. This allows the ITI for some flexibility should the nationwide suspension of classes be extended beyond April 3rd.

-          Although classes requiring physical presence will be suspended, students will not be required to leave their rooms on campus, although the ITI leadership has strongly recommended them to do so. This however depends on the virus-related situation in their home countries.

-          To make up for the missed classes the current semester will be extended by three weeks and Graduation will be moved to June 27th.

-          Most public universities will revert to online courses during the time of suspension. For two reasons this is not a viable general option for the ITI at this time: 1) the seminar method does not lend itself to such measures easily, as it is highly dependent on personal and uninterrupted communication through physical presence. 2) advanced equipment is required for such forms of teaching, which the ITI does not yet have. However, should the suspension of classes required by the Austrian Government be extended beyond the 3-5 weeks, the ITI leadership will reconsider all options to cover for the loss of teaching hours, which includes the possibility to introduce some form of temporary online classes and home-study.

-          The liturgical life at the ITI will continue during this period uninterruptedly, yet a series of practical measures will be put in place to adhere to government and/or diocesan health and safety regulations, especially where it regards the maximum allowed number of participants in liturgies of 100. Also measures relating to receiving Holy Communion will be put in place.


The ITI administration aims to remain available and on duty as much as possible during this time. Normal office hours apply.