The ministry of higher education has given the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) the go ahead to resume face-to-face classes.
The decision came earlier than§ anticipated in order to accommodate needy students who are unable to afford online learning. Initially, Nust said it only expects students to resume face-to-face learning around 3 August. Acting vice-chancellor Andrew Niikondo last week explained the transition of the country to stage 3 post-lockdown has presented an opportunity for Nust to address challenges faced by students who could not attend online classes such as lack of devices and connectivity limitations. Taking into consideration these circumstances and the need for access to laboratories for some students before completing their semester one courses, Nust applied to the ministry of higher education for permission to resume face-to-face classes. “I am delighted to inform both students and faculties that we have received approval from the ministry to resume face-to-face classes including practical work,” Niikondo noted. In anticipation of this decision, Nust says it has ensured the campus is ready to start receiving students for face-to-face classes and laboratory work.
However, Niikondo indicated due to the stringent nature of the standard health and hygiene guidelines for stage 3 and the complexity of timetabling more class and laboratory groups, not all face-to-face sessions can start on 15 June. As such, Nust has adopted a phased-return approach whereby students will return in smaller groups and not as an entire group. The earliest date that the university can open for students to return to campus using a phased approach is 22 June. From next week, the affected students will be informed individually about when their face-to-face sessions will commence including details of how this will happen and the timetable, using Nust communication channels. Invited students will be required to practice strict social distancing, wear protective masks, maintain the highest hygiene practices possible, and comply with all the measures set to keep the campus environment safe. He assured the resumption of face-to-face classes would take place in strict observation of recommended standard health and hygiene guidelines. These include amongst others, having no more than 50 students per class or lecture group and observing social distancing protocols of at least 1.5 metres between persons at all times. Niikondo clarified the implementation of this phased return for face-to-face sessions does not mean that the current emergency remote online teaching and learning will stop. Therefore, students who do not receive an invitation from the university to return to hostels should remain at home and continue to study as before through online remote learning. – firstname.lastname@example.org