By EARYEL BOWLEG
UNIVERSITY of The Bahamas (UB) remains open and will continue classes, although officials stress the use of online resources is being encouraged.
This comes as some universities in the United States and Europe have cancelled or temporarily suspended classes due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement posted to its Facebook page, UB dispelled rumours of the school closing.
“Please be advised that, contrary to inaccurate reports, University of The Bahamas remains open and operational and classes are continuing even though the use of online resources is being encouraged,” the statement read.
“Any decision regarding curtailing operations will be communicated via official university channels. No such decision has been made. Please continue to frequently monitor your UB email, the website and official social media channels.”
UB later said in a separate statement that a task force has been appointed to review and upgrade procedures and guidelines, conduct monitoring and make recommendations on a coordinated response to COVID-19. The school said all non-essential university-sponsored travel has been suspended.
“Even before this COVID-19 outbreak, UB had been delivering a number of its courses online. In light of current circumstances, faculty have been encouraged to utilise our online mechanisms – supported by the Office of Information Technology – to deliver course content, conduct lectures and communicate with students. Our staff have also been strongly encouraged to use online applications as the preferred mechanism for meetings and to share information,” UB noted.
Colleges in the US announced their decision on Wednesday when the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 was a pandemic. The NY Times reported, that as of Thursday, at least 1,302 people in 44 states and Washington, DC have the virus and an estimated 38 people have died.
Currently in The Bahamas, there are no suspected or confirmed cases of the disease.
As a health measure, some international universities have stopped in-class lectures and shifted to online classes for a limited period or through the semester. Institutions such as Harvard University, Yale University, and University of Florida made the drastic to close their campuses and asked students to stay home.
It has been reported that some schools have told students not return to campuses for two weeks after their return. Yet, the move has been met with criticism as it is argued that some students have nowhere to go.