How Should Universities Cope with the Coronavirus Outbreak?

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There is no denying that, at the moment, we are in the midst of a global crisis, that of the coronavirus outbreak. The COVID-19 virus has spread in 210 countries around the world and has affected more than 1,900,000 people. From these, around 125,000 people have died, while around 466,500 have recovered. Furthermore, with each passing day, new cases come to light, leaving the world in a state of chaos. Indeed, many governments have adopted strict measures in order to stop spreading within the country. Indicatively, the governments of many countries have ordered restrictions in human interaction to the bare minimum, and in some cases have placed the country under lockdown.

This situation is slowly but steadily becoming apparent in every aspect of our everyday lives. Universities and colleges are struggling to keep a stable schedule and, for this reason, many have also taken measures to protect both the students and the faculty personnel. However, as the coronavirus outbreak is set to continue for a period of time, universities need to adapt to the new data. In this article, we are exploring all the ways that colleges, universities, and other educational institutions can cope up with the global crisis of the coronavirus outbreak.

1. Move Their Courses Online

The academic year right now is well in progress. However, the educational institutions were the first to close down by the government, as a measure to prevent further spreading of the COVID-19. Even so, all the lost academic time will put an extra toll on all the students, some of which might come from all around the world. For this reason, universities have moved their classes online, so that the courses can be completed on time. Some universities, even make their courses accessible from mobile devices, because they realize that some students might not have access to laptops.

No matter the case though, students log in to the university’s system and attend the lecture online. The professor is there for them to answer all of their inquiries. This sudden change though should be a good opportunity for the educational institutions to re-evaluate their online courses and their pedagogic systems.

2. Develop More Distance Learning Programs

Taking into consideration the current situation, the universities should be well-prepared for bigger future disruptions. As this epidemic is going strong, colleges should start planning for the case that it will continue well into the future. This problem can be tackled by developing new distance learning programs. All of the courses should have their online equivalents, whether they are beginner or advanced courses. This way, they can still attract students who wish to study at this particular university from their homes, which might be in a different part of the country or even another country. Therefore, the institutions will offer educational opportunities to all the prospective students and, at the same time, they will not suffer losses.

3. Make their Management Flexible

In the midst of this global crisis, universities need to ensure that all of their processes are working correctly, without causing any further delays or inconveniences to the students. These processes include the examination, the coursework submission, the payments, and the admission processes among others.  All of these, usually work with deadlines, some of which might not be feasible in the current situation. For this reason, the institutions need to review their management processes to make them more efficient and flexible. This is the only way that the students can be helped to complete their higher education.

4. Comply with the Regulations of the Government

Educational institutions, like schools, universities, and colleges, were among the first measures that every government is trying to adopt. This is due to the fact that within the campus lives and gathers a great number of students. In the case of COVID-19, that is an extremely contagious virus, this could lead to the quick spreading of the disease and potential tragedy. By complying with the regulations of the state, the university ensures the health of its students.

Even in the countries where the state hasn’t closed down the educational institutions, the universities should issue regulations for their students and faculty members. These guidelines should encourage the practice of social distancing as well as keeping personal hygiene. Therefore, the faculty will be taking active measures to prevent the spreading of the virus.

5. Inform the Students about Coronavirus

People often say about diseases that knowledge is the best prevention. This phrase is also true about the corona-virus disease. Universities, as an active member of society, should do its best to inform its students about all the aspects of this new virus. First of all, institutions should inform the students about the way that COVID-19 works in the human body and how it could be dangerous. The symptoms should be explained in detail and students that show some of them should be encouraged to get tested and self-isolated to protect the people around them. Most importantly, universities should inform the students of the ways that they can stay healthy, giving extra care to personal hygiene. Therefore, the students will not only be protected, but they will also learn how to be responsible members of society.

6. Offer Emotional Support to those Affected

A side effect of the corona-virus outbreak is this universal feeling of anxiety and unrest that has taken over the world. Especially in countries that the disease has widely been spread, students will feel uneasy, even suffering from panic. The university should take measures that will actively help those students who suffer. Some students might have been affected, or have members of their family affected. Other students might find the self-isolation depressing. Either way, mental health support should be readily available to everyone.

The corona-virus outbreak is a serious issue that has put a challenge on the world, especially for the students who wish to study abroad. Universities and colleges have been affected by this disease, but they are slowly finding ways to adapt to this new situation. The key to successful education during this trying time is online programs and distance learning.

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