UW response and information on COVID-19

Civil protection distress phase due to COVID-19

As previously announced, the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has declared a civil protection distress phase in consultation with the Chief Epidemiologist and the Directorate of Health. 

Students and staff at the University Centre of the Westfjords are reminded of the importance of following instructions from the Chief Epidemiologist; the latest information is always available on the Directorate of Health website. You can also read questions and answers about symptoms and other information on the coronavirus and COVID-19


The absolute best defense against the spread of disease is to wash your hands well and regularly, cf. the following publication. Extra emphasis is placed on cleaning the UW-building. 

High-risk areas / travel

Students and staff are asked to stay up to date with the latest information about areas that have been defined as high risk. People should not travel to these areas but if it is unavoidable, they must quarantine themselves in accordance with instructions from the Chief Epidemiologist and the Directorate of Health.


It is crucial that anyone experiencing symptoms of illness or who has potentially been exposed to infection, e.g. due to travel, calls the phonenumber1700 for guidance. Students are also welcome to contact staff. Those experiencing symptoms must remain at home and under no circumstances attend class.

People at greater risk

People at greater risk, e.g. older people and those with underlying health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, lung diseases or immunosuppression may consider to work from home, avoid unnecessary gatherings of people and practise good hygiene. Students at UW belonging to this group should let staff know of their background.


No ban on mass gatherings has been declared at this point, but this might change. There are no mass gatherings expected this spring at UW. We shall inform registered participants in the Conference on Icelandic Society in April specially.

Teaching and learning

Students may expect courses to be taught via distance teaching in case a teacher is unable to attend in person because of COVID-19. At this point, this is only a theoretical option, but we prepare for it. 

Should a ban on mass gatherings be declared or the University Centre be closed, all effort will be made to continue teaching remotely in order to avoid disruption to studies as far as possible. Practical teaching, excursions and the like may be temporarily suspended in that case.

Students attending single courses this spring, may seek advice for their individual case. UW is guided by goodwill and is reviewing its refunding policy for single courses in spring term 2020.


Basic services to students and staff will continue to be available in the event of a ban on mass gatherings or closure of the University. However, they might only be available by phone or remotely.

Summer Job: SIT Program Assistant May 28 - July12

Summer job: AD assistant

The University Centre of the Westfjords and the School for International Training (SIT), Vermont, USA are looking for someone to act as a program assistant for a field school group this summer. 

Students (mostly undergraduate) are enrolled in a cross-disciplinary summer program in renewable energy sciences. Duration of the program in Iceland: May 28 – July 12

The program assistant works closely with and reports to the AD. S/he has a variety of functions and responsibilities that fall into 3 main categories: academic, administrative and student welfare. The assistant needs to be flexible and prepared to be available 24/7 if needed.

For more info and contact, see this job ad.

Summer job: AD assistant

The University Centre of the Westfjords and the School for International Training (SIT), Vermont, USA are looking for someone to act as a program assistant for a field school group in June and July 2015. 

Promotional Meeting on National Planning Framework

The Icelandic National Planning Agency is promoting a proposal for a National Planning Framework 2015-2026. An open meeting on the framework will be held at the University Centre on January 14 at 12:30-14:30.

Symposium on the Icelandic Social Sciences 2015

The 2015 Symposium on Icelandic Social Sciences will take place in Ísafjörður 17th-18th of April. It is organized by the University Centre of the Westfjords in cooperation with the University of Akureyri, Hólar University College and Bifröst University. It is an annual event where the contemporary Icelandic society is in focus. Diverse studies within e.g. the fields of social studies, anthropology, political sciences and other related sciences will be presented. The main focus of this year's symposium will be on the wide range of different social groups in Iceland and how they interact.

The aim of the symposium is to create a discussion venue for social scientists, whether employed by universities or scientists engaged in research in other fields. Also, the symposium gives students of social sciences an opportunity to participate in scholarly activities.

Among the topics: 
  • Health and Society
  • Religion
  • Nation and Culture
  • Equality Issues
  • People with Disabilities
  • Senior Citizens
  • Immigrants
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Economy and Regional Development
  • Tourism Studies
  • Research Methods
  • School and Society
  • Criminology
  • The Icelandic Constitution
  • Icelandic democracy
  • Information and Knowledge Society

Responsible for organization
Birna Lárusdóttir, Project Manager, University Centre of the Westfjords.
Pernilla Rein, Project Manager, University Centre of the Westfjords.


More information on the symposium is available in Icelandic.

Or contact Pernilla Rein, pernilla@uwestfjords.is, or phone +354 450-3044.

Call for papers: those who are interested in holding a lecture or presenting a poster, please send title and abstract (150 words) to birna@uwestfjords.is later than February 16, 2015.


Two new employees at the University Centre

Two new employees have now joined the staff of the University Centre of the Westfjords. Birna Lárusdóttir, project manager, will be responsible for various projects relating to the University Centre website as well as coordinating seminars and conferences held by the University Centre. Birna has a BA degree in Communications from University of Washington and she has a long experience in journalism as well as in editiorial work.[mynd 1 h]

Jennifer Grace Smith, United States, will be responsible for the Writing Centre of the University Centre. She is a former student from the Coastal and Marine Management Program at the University Centre and graduated in 2012. She also holds an MA degree in Chinese from Johns Hopkins University. She therefore has an excellent background for helping students in the masters program who will be writing there thesis in another language than their own. THe University Centre welcomes both Birna and Jennifer to their posts.[mynd 2 h]

Two Positions Available at UW

Two part time positions are now available at the University Centre of the Westfjords. First a 25% Project Manager position and second a Writing Centre supervisor position. Further information about these two jobs is available on our Icelandic webpage.

Bus in connection with conference between Ísafjörður and Patreksfjörður

About 60 participants have now registered for the conference on regional development, organised by the University Centre, the Westfjords’ Municipalities’ Association, Vesturbyggð municipality and Byggðastofnun Regional Development Institute of Iceland.  There will be a bus in connection with the conference

Iceland, Asia, and the Arctic: Focus Group

Since the turn of the century but especially since the 2008 financial crisis, the Icelandic government and business community has sought to build partnerships with Asian countries in order to grow the economy and enable Arctic ambitions. However, little is known about how regular Icelanders view these partnership-building efforts and how they may be changing the face of Icelandic society. An international team of researchers from the National University of Singapore, the University of Akureyri, the University of Lapland, and the University Centre of the Westfjords is holding focus groups around Iceland to learn more about the reception of the public to political, scientific, and economic engagement with Asian countries.

Plug-in electric vehicles

On Monday August 18 Dr. John Axsen gives an open lecture at the University Centre of the Westfjords on plug-in electric vehicles and their potential.
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