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UB courses will be held virtually for new school year

University of The Bahamas (UB) President Dr. Rodney Smith announced yesterday that most of the university’s courses will be delivered virtually during the 2020/2021 academic year.

On July 9, the university indicated that it would resume all classes and student services for fall 2020.

However, according to Smith, “Since then, the number of positive cases has climbed exponentially both globally and locally. While we anticipated that we would be able to offer a hybrid/blended learning environment this fall, we were also mindful that we would have to be fluid enough to adapt to our current reality.”

He continued, “Given the uncertainty of COVID-19, we have determined that the 2020/21 academic year — fall 2020 and spring 2021 — will continue in emergency remote operations. This means that all lecture, seminar, tutorial, some laboratories and practicum courses will be conducted virtually.

“For these courses, distance education technologies will be used to deliver the course 100 percent via virtual means. There will be no on-campus visits, visits to other designated sites or in-person events.

“These courses have both synchronous and asynchronous elements. These are not self-paced and have substantive faculty-initiated interaction as an integral part of the course.”

Smith said some courses will be exempted.

He noted that those courses that must be face-to-face will have “strict social distancing protocols, wearing of masks and facial shields”.

He said those course exceptions include clinical rounds, studios, kitchens, specified fieldwork and some laboratories.

“We are calling our plan ‘Protecting Mingoes’ because our success to return to any semblance of normalcy is predicated on the disciplined efforts of each member of the UB community to protect themselves and each other,” Smith said.

“Our protocols are consistent with the Ministry of Health and the WHO’s guidelines.”

He reiterated that the health and safety of the university community remain “paramount”.

Smith noted that decisions must be made “in the best interest of all”.

“In the coming days, more information will be provided regarding staff and the way forward,” he said.

“As conditions change and decisions are made impacting the community, those details will also be placed on UB’s COVID-19 webpage, which is updated frequently.”

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