1. Message from the Rector of  NOVA University Lisbon

Dear members of the NOVA community,

As is well known, the Portuguese Government announced on March 12 new recommendations in the fight against COVID-19, which imply the suspension of classroom activities starting next Monday, March 16, and until April 9, when a reassessment of the situation will then be carried out. This measure had already been implemented and communicated by NOVA University Lisbon on March 11, when we decided to replace traditional classroom activities with teaching solutions delivered through digital platforms. In addition, we chose to close libraries and study rooms, as well as to promote, whenever possible, teleworking, with the purpose of guaranteeing the safety of all and the best functioning of the institution under these adverse conditions. The students living at NOVA students residences were advised to leave them only if they can do so in the best conditions of safety and public health, namely with regard to their return destination.

On March 13, we closed the facilities of Nova SBE at the Carcavelos Campus, as well as of NOVA IMS and Colégio Almada Negreiros, at the Campolide Campus, in Lisbon, due to the confirmation of two positive results to the COVID-19 test. We did this in compliance with the recommendations of the health authorities.

In the face of such a serious public health issue, we must maintain our trust in these authorities, whose guidelines are based on technical and scientific information. As such, and because we are facing a very dynamic process, NOVA will regularly update information through its website (, adapting the necessary response measures to fight the pandemic. More detailed information on the ongoing adaptation process is provided by the schools themselves (also available on their own websites).

I am personally monitoring, on a permanent basis, the evolution of the situation, together with the deans of the Organic Units. Our priority is to ensure the safety of the entire NOVA community.

I am sure that together we will be able to overcome in the best way possible the personal, family and institutional difficulties that we are facing right now.

Very best wishes,

João Sàágua
Rector of NOVA University Lisbon

2. Message from the Rector of NOVA University Lisbon 22/03/20

Dear members of NOVA Community,

With the establishment of a state of emergency in Portugal on March 18, 2020, the Government enacted a decree of law that defines a set of measures that came into force on March 22, 2020, and which aim to contain the transmission of the new coronavirus and the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

Thus, in accordance with the Government’s guidelines, seeking to guarantee the regular functioning of the institution and respecting all public health norms, NOVA University Lisbon determines that, as of March 23, 2020:

1. Distance work or teleworking is now applied to all NOVA workers, with the exception of those situations in which it is imperative to continue to ensure on-site work;

2. The following services are considered essential services that will require physical presence of workers at NOVA facilities:

a) Technological, medical and biological activities associated with scientific research, including laboratories. It is up to the Deans of NOVA Schools to determine the essential services that will have to continue to be guaranteed;

b) Services provided in canteens and student residences, which must be ensured through the enforcement of a rotation regime of workers assigned to this activity;

c) Maintenance, cleaning and surveillance services for buildings and outdoor/green spaces;

d) Minimum administrative, technical and financial services necessary for the functioning of the University in the current context.

3. Any worker who needs to physically access one of NOVA’s facilities, for the purpose of ensuring essential services or providing support to those services, should complete a declaration (see Rectoral Order) that must be authorized by the Rector or by the Dean of the respective NOVA School, as applicable.

The measures that I am hereby sharing with all of you can be checked in more detail in the Rectoral Order Nº122/2020 (in Portuguese), whereas it is up to the Deans of NOVA
Schools, by my entrustment, to specify the implementation of some of these measures. NOVA will keep on updating the information, whenever necessary, through its website (

I continue to personally follow, on a permanent basis, the evolution of this situation, together with the Deans of NOVA Schools, and monitoring the regular functioning of NOVA’s activity.

In view of the current context facing the country and the world, without parallel, the measures implemented are aimed at protecting the safety and health of our community. I would also like to remind that it is in the hands of each of us to adopt responsible measures and behaviours, following the recommendations of the health authorities. Only that way can we prevent the spread of this pandemic.

You can count on me to overcome, together, the personal, family and institutional difficulties that we are facing.

Best wishes,

João Sàágua
Rector of NOVA University Lisbon

3. Message from the Rector of  NOVA University Lisbon 10/04/20

Dear members of NOVA Community,

In this season, in which we have become used to taking a pause from our activities due to the school break, I would like to address you a few words, particularly now that we are living in a period that put us to the test constantly, as people and as members of our Community.

The need for a retreat to protect our health, the safety of those closest to us and, in general, of our fellow citizens, has been the priority for us all. And NOVA has placed, since the beginning, a great emphasis and a huge effort on the creation and promotion of these conditions for all its members.

But, at the same time, we started out an ambitious project: the commitment of not stopping any of the essential activities, adapting them quickly and effectively to the new reality, overcoming the challenges that circumstances imposed on us. We immediately identified the critical areas, in teaching, in research – here with special attention to our laboratories that can contribute to fight COVID – 19, in the connection with society and in university administration, and we kept our university residences and canteens open for all of those who need them.

The bottom line is that NOVA is working, in an unusual way, but with the same quality as always. We have all been contributing to this, and that is something we should all be proud of! Now we must continue to persist and to adapt when necessary. And I am sure that we will, by winning this academic year in all aspects that truly matter. This is our next challenge.

I conclude by addressing you institutionally and personally.

Institutionally, it is my grateful duty to thank everyone, teachers, researchers and staff, who have unconditionally committed to keep NOVA up and running. And I address a very special word of gratitude to the students, who are the reason for our existence and who have adapted extraordinarily to all these unexpected changes.

Personally, I would like to send everyone a warm hug.

Happy Easter to you and to your loved ones.

João Sàágua
Rector of NOVA University Lisbon

4. Message from the Rector of  NOVA University Lisbon 30/04/20

Dear members of NOVA Community,

Given the end of the State of Emergency determined by the President of the Portuguese Republic, NOVA University Lisbon will proceed to the phased and safe lifting of the restrictions that come from it.

NOVA, which never stopped in times of emergency, will say, again, “present!”.

Since the beginning of the pandemic crisis, I have been (tele)meeting several times with the Deans of NOVA Schools, with the Social Welfare Services and with the Student Associations in order to assess the needs, concerns and challenges that we all face. During this time, we have prepared status reports, twice a month, which have now guided us in identifying the main areas and activities that should be subject to the lifting of containment measures in order to ensure the success of this 2nd academic semester.

Given the autonomy of NOVA Schools, as well as their heterogeneity and multidisciplinarity, it is up to their own governing bodies, starting with the Deans, to design, apply and communicate the concrete measures to return to face-to-face activities, in any of their areas of activity. These measures must comply with “ NOVA’s General Plan for phased-in reactivation of face-to-face activities ”, which was subject to a Ministerial Order also published today.

The Plan is very detailed and must be read carefully. It prescribes, for example, the mandatory use of masks – which will be provided by NOVA, free of charge, until the end of the semester -, mandatory social distance in all face-to-face situations, and distance learning and teleworking as preferred options, whenever possible.

This Plan will be in effect from May 4 to August 31, and will be permanently evaluated. To this end, I have created a monitoring committee, which I will coordinate, in order to monitor this process of gradual opening and to review our policies, whenever necessary, ensuring that new rules defined by the authorities are adopted, as the pandemic evolves.

I am sure that in this comeback, we will know how to deal with and overcome our three main enemies: fear, discouragement and lack of caution. Mutual help, a sense of public service and our own individual determination are, more than ever, essential.

Always focused on the mission to serve society through knowledge, NOVA University Lisbon will open the necessary face-to-face activities to the maximum, compromising everyone’s safety to a minimum.

I wish you all the best,

João Sàágua
Rector of NOVA University Lisbon