UG hopeful for blended reopening in March but COVID concerns linger

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The University of Guyana (UG) has commenced a phased return to some in-person activities but with the enduring pandemic placing a strain on students and members of staff, the university could return to face-to-face classes in March 2022.

This is according to Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Paloma Mohamed-Martin, who spoke to the News Room at the sidelines of a recent event.

The Vice-Chancellor explained that some staff members who provide the much-needed services on campus have returned. By January, the administrators should return too, provided that the school is physically prepared.

And following the return of those administrators, students could possibly return for some face-to-face classes by mid-March, when the second semester begins. Some online classes will continue, though, as the university aims for a blended mode of teaching.

“We really want to bring our people back,” the Vice-Chancellor said, explaining that extended restrictions on face-to-face classes have been difficult for students and staff alike.

Even so, she cautioned that this reopening may be hindered by wider COVID concerns, or “exogenous concerns” as she calls them.

The new Omicron COVID-19 variant, for example, has raised concerns globally that the efforts to return to more face-to-face activities may be delayed. This variant is more transmissible, which means that it is spread more easily from person to person.

And Professor Mohamed-Martin explained that if the Government of Guyana imposes a lockdown, for example, the university cannot go against those measures.

Similarly, with vaccination requirements for entry to public buildings and some private buildings, she explained that the university would have to adhere to those guidelines.

“We will update as the situation changes but we are readying ourselves to be back in a blended form by the middle of March, 2022,” she assured members of the university.

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