After consultation with the State of Emergency (SoE) Controller David Manning, on April 21,2020, the Department of Higher Education Research and Science and Technology (DHERST) has instructed to notify all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) that learning and teaching academic activities must resume on Monday April 27th, 2020
Instructions for Resumption of Academic Activities.
In resuming academic activities on campuses, all HEIs must ensure that the following instructions are adhered to:
Strictly follow and implement strategies approved by HEIs governing bodies to mitigate COVID-19 challenges;
- Reschedule the learning and teaching activities for 2020
- Reschedule 2020 graduation ceremony (for example, if a HEI planned graduation was previously planned for March or April, the HEI is to plan the graduation to mid year) to ensure that all students meet academic and non-academic requirements.
- Consider allocating one additional hour of class contact time to each unit/subject offered at the institution
- Arrange for contact classes to be in smaller groups with face-to-face teaching, for example, /one/two hours duration for each group.
- Maximize the use of learning and teaching facilities by offering afternoon/evening classes. This approach will allow HEIs to manage smaller groups of students in the class/lecture rooms/library/laboratory, keeping to the requirements of physical distancing for students and staff
- Consider dividing classes in cohort(s) as such that non-residential students could have face-to-face contact classes in the morning to noon and residential students could have face-to-face classes in the afternoon.
- Where online study is possible , it must be used to full capacity
- Consider a blended learning approach where online study is partially possible; and
- Where there is no possibility for online study or blended learning approach, handouts must be used and distributed to students to enhance their learning experience.
Adherence to SOE Orders
The following instructions must be adhered to as per the State of Emergency orders and the Guidance of Higher Education Institutions to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
- Residential students or staff who have left a HEI’s campus of their own accord must, upon return, be quarantined (by self-isolation) for a minimum 14 days. If, however, the students and staff have been medically cleared of the COVID-19, they may be allowed to reintegrate into the campus. If a student’s absenteeism is in breach of HEIs academic and non-academic policies, he or she must repeat the academic year.
- Each HEI musts identify a clinic on campus or other suitable facility to provide healthy and quality quarantine or isolation.
- Non-residential students should not be denied an education. Therefore, each HEIs must ensure that before those students enter campus, they are adequately assessed. If they have symptoms of cold and flue, the students musts be isolated. Otherwise, they should be allowed to continue their studies as mentioned above. No student should be left behind.
- All HEIs must maintain strict control and monitoring of campus access (in commuting to and from campus).
- All students enrolled in health and education academic programs whose studies require clinical or teaching practicum must complete the academic year 2020, including their clinical and practicum hours. Strict control measures must be facilitated by the HEI to ensure the students and staff safety is also maintained. Further advice concerning teacher education and health programs will be communicated to HEIs in a separate correspondence this week, and
- All HEIs should collaborate with their local health authority and the HEI alumnae to provide educational awareness in their surrounding communities.
All HEIs must follow all principles as provided in the Guidance for Higher Education Institutions to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), keep students, lectures, and staff safe at the campus and to stop the spread of this disease.
Word of Thanks
On behalf of the Minister for Higher Education ,Research and Science and Technology (DHERST), Hon.Nick Kuman, MP, I take this opportunity to thank all the HEI’s Chancellors, Vice Chancellors, Presidents, Directors, Principles, Academics and Non-Academic colleagues for the continued staff during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. I also acknowledge students, continued support and cooperation during this unprecedented time the effort they made in their resilience demonstrated.
Assurance and Believe In God During This Period
We pray to the Lord, in this time of uncertainty. We pray for His Wisdom and peace. We pray for those who are sick that they would be healed. We pray for the health care workers, that they would have the strength and emergency to care for the sick. We pray for the wisdom of leaders as they navigate difficult decisions in protecting us all. We ask the Lord to use this time to unite us all and turn towards their neighbours with love and compassion. Please remember that the Lord goes before us, and we are not alone.
Thank you and I wish all the best in the resumption of academic activities.
Professor Fr. Jan Czuba
Note: This messasge was original press statement released by DHERST to the public media