— UL, UMU, others remain shut down
The Ministry of Health and the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) has issued clearance to 15 universities to begin academic activities as the University of Liberia and the United Methodist University miss out.
The universities and colleges, which are expected to open October 1, were issued clearance after successfully meeting up with Ministry of Health’s updated COVID-19 government guidance on the opening of school, particularly the limited class size.
According to the NCHE, only 15 out of the 47 universities and colleges operating in the country met the health authority guidelines issued to them months ago. Among the 47 institutions of higher learning, the United Methodist University, and the University of Liberia (UL), are just two of the notable universities which have not been granted approval and ordered shutdown.
As for UL, its students’ population has protested against online learning–a move that made it difficult for the university to reopen in line with health authority guidelines of social distancing–which could reduce class attendance level.
NCHE Director-General Prof. David S. Dahn, during a press conference yesterday, said that “the health assessments and protocols are aimed at ensuring that all higher institutions of learning in the country are in line with the standard protocol control requirements before reopening to avoid further spread of COVID 19.”
“The assessments included trained staff for temperature screening and record-keeping, availability of hand washing stations with soaps and water at all entrances and strategic locations, and waste management system. Other areas of assessments were the availability of disinfectants to spray classrooms and bathrooms regularly, set up of an isolation area in case an emerging case, the compulsory mandate of wearing of masks, sitting capacity arranged in social distancing, and compulsory behavior bond sign by students and parents/guidance to ensure adherence to measures,” Prof. Dahn said.
Universities and colleges which are expected to reopen beginning October, are African Methodist Episcopal University (all campuses); African Methodist Episcopal Zion University (AMEZU all campuses), Cutting ton University (only Gbarnga campus); Stella Maris Polytechnic University (Only Capitol Hill campus), and Starz University (Only Airfield campus).
Others schools are the Liberia Theology Seminar, Adventist University of West Africa, Monrovia Bible College, Liberia Maritime Training Institute, Blue Crest University College, Smythe Institute of Management and Technology, Notre Dame University, Bomi County Community College, Bong County Technical College, and the Lincoln College of Professional Studies (Clay Street).
However, Prof. Dan of NCHE said the universities and colleges who are caught red-handed for reopening without been given clearance will be dragged to court and institutions will be shut down.
NHCE is the government agency responsible for formulating policy guidelines concerning the supervision and coordination of all tertiary institutions in Liberia as well as designs collaborative mechanisms for financial management with donors; and mobilizes technical human, financial and material resources nationally and internationally among others.