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How are Universities Worldwide Responding to the Covid-19 Outbreak?

How are Universities Worldwide Responding to the Covid-19 Outbreak?
Today, spreading faster than a viral YouTube video is the novel CoronaVirus. As of now, it has brutally impacted China, USA and the whole of Europe. Amidst these tensions, we have gotten to see reactions from the World Health Organization, from the governments in form of locked downs and from the Gen Z that went on to name the virus as the “Boomer Virus” in the light of the fact that it affects the elderly more than it affects the milk teethed Gen Z kids. 

In response to the growing tensions, the orthodox pen and paper education system of the globe has changed drastically and has emerged in a new online avatar. Universities across the globe are sensitive towards the issue and have collectively taken proactive measures. If you are a student or a guardian worrying about your child in the university, you will be surprised to know these measures that universities have taken.

Shifting Classes Classes Online

Cecilia Decals, a graduate student at NYU, is attending her semester while being self-quarantined in her apartment. She says, her batch is using video conferencing software to attend the classes and discuss doubts. First, she was afraid that she’d miss the peer learning sessions that one gets to indulge in the university campus, but shifting the peer discussions over the web conferencing applications was not a hard part for her either.  A few of her batchmates who returned to their home in China are making it to the classes despite the difference in time zone. To add to the struggles of her friends stuck in China, they have to use a VPN to get past the Great Firewall of China. 

The officials across the globe are now mandating universities to shift on video conferencing software and are asking the teachers to prepare their online materials. What’s more, universities are even encouraging students to stay at home by giving them extra credits for the assignments they are submitting during the quarantine period. Online sessions by colleges are just one of the necessary measures taken by the educational institutions across the globe. 

Cancelling Travel

The Proactive measures of the universities also include cancellation of accepting any international entries or students via a student exchange program. Even before the advisory from WHO, many state-run colleges in Canada, USA and the UK began cancelling study abroad programs. Not only this, but universities have also taken measures to minimise the movements of students in and out of the campus. 

Inside the campus, they are setting up a door to door delivery mechanisms for essential commodities for the students in the hostels. In the meanwhile, faculties have adjourned any group meetings scheduled for the whole semester. It has also been advised to students to make payments digitally which are completely contactless. Assignment help services and academic consultation services are also now only accessible online for students.

Providing Special Support For The Students Under The Risk Group

While the Covid-19 Virus is known to affect the elderly the most, students suffering from chronic ailments are not any less prone to face the serious repercussions of the widespread Novel Virus. Thus in support of these students, some universities like the University of Waterloo and the New York University are taking measures like providing them access to special dorm rooms to help them isolate themselves from any potential career.

Helping Chinese Students

China, the epicentre of the Covid-19 Outbreak, has taken devastating hits due to the rapid widespread of the disease. According to a survey conducted by the International Institute of Education, that included 234 institutes in the USA, says that 37% of the Chinese students enrolled in courses are stuck in China. To help them, the universities are offering them a chance to do independent study or even take a semester off or enrol themselves in the online mode of study. PS, for the Chinese students currently at the campuses of universities in Australia, the UK or the USA, the problem is Reverse. They are stuck at the university campuses and can not go back home for their summer break.

Issuing Warnings and Guidelines

To help stop the spread of CoronaVirus, the universities are actively educating students about the necessary precautionary measures via online videos, Emails, Blogs and Notices. Across the countries, universities are trying to settle down the panic and are trying to calm the students as well as their parents. Universities are ensuring that the right information reaches both the students and their parents while gripping the spread of rumours on the campus. Campus health centres have been given heads up to test suspects with Covid-19 and take measures to isolate any student affected by the novel virus. Sanitizers and hand wash are being made available along with other essential necessities to help survive the quarantine period.

Planning For Future Disruptions

Directors of one of the top universities have claimed that the universities are planning for bigger disruptions. “No one knows what the future holds and despite the hopeful solutions, we need to be prepared for the worse.” Universities are anticipating a shift to the online mode of education and are strategising a swift transition through this change. Officials anticipate that the quarantine season has involuntarily started the revolution and the future of teaching could lie in the video conferencing and  cloud-based platforms. 

When asked, students seemed to be optimistic about the future and a majority claimed that they were ready to shift to the online mode of education for the rest of their studies as well. That was all for this article. Amidst the times like these, it is imperative for us to stay alert and cooperate with the guidelines that are being issued. Minimising movements and social interactions has been reported as the only choice to curb the spread of this virus.



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