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Liberia: UL returns to blended learning semester

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By Winston W. Parley

The University of Liberia (UL) says it has returned to blended learning due to health officials’ report of a significant decline in Coronavirus infection rate here.

The blended learning will start during its second semester for the academic year 2020 / 2021, citing improvement in health statistics, availability of a new batch of vaccines, and rapid testing kits in the country.

The University made the pronouncement days after a violent demonstration erupted on the main campus as students made demands for a return to in-person learning at the UL campus.

The University President, Prof. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, flanked by officials of the university, announced the decision Monday, 9 August.

Dr. Nelson informed the public through the live press conference that with changes affecting the conduct of the current semester, a new calendar of activities has been released by UL Academic Affairs, disclosing that classes will resume on Wednesday, August 25, 2021, and end on Saturday, November 27, 2021.

He indicated that for the physical wellbeing of its faculty, students, and staff, the university was constrained to make some adjustments after the Incident Management Team (IMS) and the Ministry of Health announced on 21 June 2021 that the Delta Variant of Covid-19 had hit Liberia.

But he added that improvement in health statistics, vaccines availability, and rapid testing kits have provided an opportunity for UL to rethink the conduct of its second semester, adding: “On the basis of these developments, and in consultation with all stakeholders, the University of Liberia hereby announces a revert to BLENDED LEARNING for the current semester,” Dr. Nelson said. 

He, however, cautioned that given the fact that Liberia is not yet fully out of the third wave of Covid – 19 spread and that health protocols are still in place, participation in the ‘Traditional Learning’ aspect of this blended learning semester is conditional.

Dr. Nelson, therefore, encouraged UL employees and students to uphold all other aspects of the revised Covid -19 guidelines released by the health authorities, and that everyone must wash their hands at the gates of UL campuses and wear facemasks at all times while on campus.

Additionally, Dr. Nelson stated that students signing up for In-person sections are highly encouraged to take the Covid -19 vaccine or must present (at a specified interval) negative Rapid Test results; and that number of students allowed in a section will be determined by the size of the room assigned.

Meanwhile, the UL President said while students’ protest is allowed at the University of Liberia, it, unfortunately, degenerated into violent episodes and was extended beyond the campus perimeters. 

“There are reports of multiple injuries sustained by students and staff as well the destruction of properties on Capitol Hill and in parts of Sinkor,” he said. 

He strongly condemned these acts of violence perpetrated by some students and assured all that at the conclusion of the ongoing investigation, those found culpable will bear the full weight of the rules and regulations of the Revised Student Handbook of the University of Liberia. 

“The right to protest can be exercised without resorting to violence or compromising public peace and safety. Violence has never resolved any problem in the history of our country,” Dr. Nelson warned.

“This is why we continuously teach men and women of the University of Liberia to choose dialogue over violence as a path to resolution of grievances while respecting their rights to peaceful assembly and protest as well as the rights of others,” he concluded.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/breaking-newsul-campus-turns-bloody/

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