COVID- 19 Publication of the ACPUA guide for virtual visits

Agencia de Calidad y Prospectiva Universitaria de Aragón -ACPUA-

The Commission of Evaluation, Certification and Accreditation (CECA) of the ACPUA approved last October 30th the ACPUA Guide for the realization of the virtual visits in the different processes of evaluation of programmes and centers of the University System of Aragon.

The Guide will be applicable to all programme evaluation procedures and centres where a face-to-face visit is required but which, due to an unforeseen circumstance, cannot be carried out in full or in part and must be replaced by a virtual visit.
The latest major global health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a series of structural changes at all levels of education. Higher education, and therefore its academic, research and management activities, have continued because of their commitment to training and science, but have had to adapt to the recommendations and standards that have been developed by international, European and national bodies to deal with this health emergency. 
The temporary cessation of face-to-face activities in higher education has acted as a disruption to their operation, one of the most relevant changes being the emergence of protocols and standards that promote a model of distance learning relationship. Working in higher education under this prism guarantees no risk of contagion and favours and makes it possible to carry out university activities, allowing a return to normality after the months of "state of alarm" in Spain from March onwards.
In view of the situation created in the field of higher education throughout the country by the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACPUA has reflected on the procedures followed in external visits in all its assessment programmes. 
In order to safeguard the functioning of the system, ACPUA has added to all the recommendations, standards, clarifications and information that have emerged from the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education Area (EQAR). 
Similarly, ACPUA endorses the statements made on this subject to date by the Red Española de Agencias de Calidad Universitaria (REACU), of which it is a member, including those made at the meeting of 26 October 2020.
The Agency provides Aragon higher education institutions with an action guide for carrying out virtual visits to the programmes and centres of the University System of Aragon which, due to the current health emergency, cannot be carried out in person.
In this sense, the application of this guide begins and will be applied, at least, throughout the 2020/21 academic year.