Following a Joint Faculty Senate and Administrative Council (JFSAC) meeting held via Zoom conference, the University of Liberia (UL) has unanimously decided that all classes be conducted fully online in adherence to the latest health protocols in the wake of the resurgence of Covid-19.
The University authority made this decision Friday, June 25, following series of engagements by the Administration with stakeholders, including the Government of Liberia, Faculty, Students, and academic directors, on the UL's appropriate operational and policy response to the new and more deadly variant of the Coronavirus in Liberia as well as the associated alarming death rate.
According to a release, the decision of the UL administration, however, cuts across all degree-granting programs. The UL administration further said based on lessons learned from the past two semesters, feedback, and recommendations from students, the university has also decided that it will give exceptions for the conduct of face-to-face classes for specific courses that require some levels of demonstrations or in-person interaction.
The release further noted that the university will ensure rigorous monitoring of instructors and the use of modules throughout the semester for an unhindered online learning experience.
At the same time, the University of Liberia has also announced that it will operate at less than 50% staff capacity, from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, which already began on June 30, 2021. The UL authorities also said Directors and Chairpersons are to report to work daily while staff members will work on an alternating schedule.
The Online Second Semester for Academic Year 2020/2021 is expected to begin on Monday, the 5th of July and shall end on the 16th of October 2021.
According to the adjusted schedule released by Academic Affairs, classes will commence on the 12th of July; while the add-and-drop process will run from July 19-31; Midterm is from August 23-30; the lectures will end on October 2; Final Exams will run from October 4-16 and Grade sheets will be accessible on October 25, 2021.
Furthermore, the UL administration has clarified that Faculty members and students will undergo refresher training in preparation for the semester to improve familiarity with the eLearning platform and ensure expected learning outcomes.
In a related development, the University has announced the resumption of registration for the Second Entrance and Placement Exam for 2021. Accordingly, registration resumes on Monday, July 5, and will end on Saturday, July 24, 2021.
Meanwhile, the university said that the decentralized Undergraduate exams will be conducted on Saturday, July 31, 2021, while the rolling Digital Aptitude Test for Graduate and Professional Schools will be administered on August 7, 14, and 21, 2021.
The Entrance and Placement Exam and Aptitude Test will be administered with strict adherence to the Ministry of Health’s new Covid-19 safety guidelines.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the newest decision by the university authorities, the Daily Observer held an exclusive interview with some students.
Oliver Wilson, a student at the University of Liberia, welcomes the university’s decision. According to him, instead of staying away from school due to the pandemic, it is good to take advantage of eLearning because it will help many students who are about to graduate. “I am appealing to my comrades and friends to utilize this platform to end the academic calendar instead of postponing the school’s activities, “he said.
However, Hannah Jallah, Jefferson Lamie, and other students who also spoke with the Daily Observer differed with the UL authorities. According to these students, while it is true that COVID-19 is real, it is also important to note that not everyone has a smartphone to study online.
“UL administration should have taken into account the current state of the economy, buying data, and the lack of sustainable electricity is a bit challenging,” they said.
They said that eLearning is not helping at all. Most of the students, according to them, find it difficult to understand the online lectures. “It's not helpful at all,” they said.