Divine Word University in Papua New Guinea is making use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and other innovative steps to keep its students and staff and their dependents secure from the coronavirus pandemic.
The university has heeded the call by the Government of Papua New Guinea and health authorities and has taken measures to ensure public health and hygiene are being maintained at its campuses at all times.
Deputy President of DWU, Professor Fr Philip Gibbs said: “Here at DWU we are continuing to respond to government directives and the recommendations from our own committees.
“Committees within our Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences have been meeting regularly since 13th March.”
“They contribute to a Steering Committee chaired by myself.”
Prof Gibbs said: “Our DWU plan has 5 levels of threat ranging from Green, through Yellow, Orange 1, Orange 2 and Red.
“Currently with only one positive case having been identified in PNG we officially fit in the Yellow zone, however following the announcement by the government of a 14 day state of emergency after the first breach of security we raised the level at DWU to Orange 1.”
That has resulted in the university suspending all face-to-face lectures and academic engagements and using online means such as the Moodle learning platform to ensure students continue their education.
Prof Gibbs said that students who have come for flexible learning courses continue with their classes. “However, for the foreseeable future courses in Flexible learning will be limited to those that can be run entirely online or through distance learning methods,”
He said many of the University workers coming from outside the campus have been asked to remain at home for the two week period, though some such as cooks are either housed on campus or come onto campus through university transport.
“Anyone coming from outside the campus is required to observe strict hygiene practices.
“For example, any non-residential students coming to use the library or Moodle have to present their ID, sign in, and use hand sanitizer provided at the gate.
“Everyone on campus is asked to observe personal hygiene such as hand-washing, and social distancing.
“An awareness group led by the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences has set up information boards and is conducting awareness on both the main campus and Modilon campus and residences at Coronation Drive, DCA and Binnen.”
Prof Gibbs added: “We need to be aware that no cases of the Coronavirus have been found in Madang and we are not in the red zone of alert.
“We try to avoid panic and to critically assess information through social media. There is no actual emergency on campus, but students and staff are strongly advised to remain on campus during the government announced state of emergency for the nation. Entry is by ID only and there is a buai (betelnut) ban on campus with K100 spot fine for anyone found chewing or spitting.”
He said hotline telephone numbers have been set up and posted on the internal Intranet broadcast for students and staff to contact in case of any future emergencies.
The photos below are from the COVID 19 awareness in the different locations of DWU in Madang.