Staff of the Faculty of Medcine and Health Sciences in a workshop on "Flipped Learning" with
Associate Professor Iwona Kolodziejczyk PhD, director of the Centre for Learning and Teaching recently.
Divine Word University is preparing to resume classes on Monday 27 April.
This follows an announcement by the Prime Minister James Marape this week to lift restrictions on academic activities and allow higher education institutions to resume classes on the date.
The suspension of classes in all educational institutions were among measures the Government of Papua New Guinea took on 23 March after the detection of the country's first positive coronavirus case.
The two weeks lookdown was followed by the Parliament voting for and declaring a national State of Emergency for two months that also decided that classes remained suspended until the decision to lift the restrictions this week.
The Government expects higher education institutions to resume classes as long as they put in place safety measures to mitigate any occurrence and spread of the coronavirus on their respective campuses.
DWU was tentatively informed of the government decision and is awaiting formal written correspondence from the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (DHERST) with details of the government decision.
Deputy President of DWU, Professor Father Philip Gibbs informed the DWU community that the management is awaiting specific instructions from DHERST about the resumptions of classes.
Professor Gibbs said: “So, it seems we can resume next Monday (27 April).
"There will be some conditions."
"I will share that when we receive them.”
DWU, on its part, had planned to resume classes last Tuesday 14 April after putting in place necessary safety protocols to mitigate COVID 19. The University had been awaiting direction from the Controller of the State of Emergency Mr David Manning to resume classes throughout last week.
Professor Gibbs noted then how staff and students and the University management felt they were ready for classes starting last week. He said the decision was reached after assessing the coronavirus response measures put in place on campus, the capacity to conduct classes in ways that include online content, and consultation with authorities.
The University has beefed up staffing and resources at its Alessandro Clinic in the main Madang campus and put in place contingency plans to mitigate any occurrence of COVID 19 on campus.
Professor Gibbs said: “New health workers have joined us so now we are fortunate to be able to offer 24 on-call service at our clinic.
He told DWU community: “You will notice that we are setting up part of the St John Paul II hall for people to come first where a decision can be made as to whether they are attended to at the Clinic or elsewhere.
The hotline numbers are Digicel 75722527. and Bmobile. 78394610”.
A notable feature of DWU’s preparedness to resume classes is the training of teaching staff to use various information communication technologies-based non-contact academic program delivery modes.
DWU’s Centre of Learning and Teaching headed by Associate Professor Iwona Kolodziejczyk PhD has been in the for front of preparing teaching staff to use more ICT non-contact academic program delivery modes.
The academics have variously engaged with their students online using the Moodle learning management systems and other online platforms during the initial 14-day nationwide lockdown and the subsequent State of Emergency. Ends/
Deputy President of Divine Word University, Professor Fr Philip Gibbs SVD
Divine Word University is awaiting direction from the Controller of the State of Emergency, Mr David Manning to resume classes this week as planned.
Deputy President of DWU, Professor Father Philip Gibbs SVD noted how staff and students and the University management felt they were ready for classes starting this week.
He said the decision to resume classes was reached after assessing the coronavirus response measures put in place on campus, the capacity to conduct classes in ways that include online content, and consultation with authorities including Minister for Higher Education Mr Nick Kuman.
Professor Gibbs said DWU President Professor Cecilia Nembou is seeking advice from the SOE controller on whether the University should resume classes this week.
The Government tentatively announced 27 April as the date they would advise whether classes in all educational institutions would start, however waiting that long to begin would mean that some programs would have to continue through Christmas into New Year in order to complete the necessary learning activities.
Professor Gibbs told staff that while awaiting the response from the SOE controller, they can proceed to contact their classes “by email or Moodle or other means and by assigning some constructive activities.” “The SOE has certainly provided a boost for our technological readiness,” Professor Gibbs noted.
Professor Gibbs said the University had taken significant measures to safeguard its campuses against any occurrence of coronavirus since the first two-weeks of nationwide lock-down announced by the Government. The lock-down followed the first confirmed case of COVID 19 detected in Morobe Province on 13 March.
The measures put in place in the Madang campus include strict control movement of people at the main-gate, campus-wide awareness, regular meetings among various committees and management, ban on betel nut, smoking and alcohol, procurement of personnel protective equipment and use of infra-red thermometers to check the temperature of people entering the campus.
Professor Gibbs said he has also participated in the regular meetings and briefings of the response team led by the Madang Provincial Health Authority.
The University’s Centre for Teaching and Learning has also been busy conducting trainings for staff to facilitate various online and blended modes of teaching and learning during the lock-down and SOE periods.
Professor Gibbs has also advised the physiotherapy department to conduct recreation and fitness activities so staff and students can boost their fitness during the SOE.
Meanwhile, Professor Gibbs said students who wish to leave and travel to other Provinces should formally withdraw from studies and not return until next year. He said those wishing to leave the campus and travel inter-province for genuine reasons will have to return and go through a period of 14 days quarantine and isolation on their return. He said this is for the good health and safety of everyone on campus.
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.
Human Resources Management officer Helen Tuka (left) taking new tutors Shirlbyna Ramtonic and Debbie Ogano on a tour of
the campus today (Monday 20 January). Photo: DWU Marketing
Divine Word University staff in the main campus in Madang began duty for the 2020 Academic Year in earnest today (Monday 20 January 2020).
The campus came to live with staff going about getting themselves organized, filling in forms, taking ID cards and setting themselves up in their respective offices for another hectic academic year.
New staff also joined in to begin their sojourn as staff of DWU.
The rest of this week is marked for staff preparation in their faculties, departments and division.
Next week (starting Monday 27 January) is set aside for the year’s preview presentations by the President, Deputy President, Vice Presidents, Deans and Directors sharing with the staff what the plans are for each of their sections of responsibility.
Students will begin registration and participate in orientation programs on the week starting Monday 3rd February.
The academic year will be launched on Friday 7th February at the St John Paul II Hall. Archbishop of Madang Archdiocese, His Grace Anton Bal will be the main celebrant in the Eucharistic Celebration (Mass) and will deliver the keynote address after the Mass.