(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – Only fully vaccinated The University of the West Indies (The UWI), St Augustine campus, students will be allowed accommodation at the campus’ five halls of residence, The UWI said on Wednesday.
The UWI added however that management has decided it will not be mandating staff and students to be vaccinated “until such time as the matter is legislated or pronounced upon by the courts”.
There are three halls of residence on The UWI’s main campus in St Augustine—Trinity Hall, Canada Hall and Freedom Hall.
Another, the Joyce Gibson-Inniss Hall, is situated at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mount Hope and only accommodates students from the Faculty of Medical Sciences.
The Arthur Lewis Hall of Residence is located at the north campus on St John Road, a short distance off the main campus.
UWI St Augustine campus pro vice-chancellor and campus principal Prof Brian Copeland informed students and staff of the decisions in an e-mail yesterday, in which he announced plans for academic year 2021/2022, including the September 2021 semester, which is to begin on August 29.
“Notwithstanding, as part of the campus management’s duty to ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of all its employees and to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of known hazards, the principal encouraged all staff and students to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19,” the UWI said in a media release.
In the e-mail to staff and students, Copeland urged:
“The more members of our community who are vaccinated, the greater chance we have of suppressing the Covid-19 virus and the production of mutations. This is also the swiftest path to a full return to campus.”
The UWI announced that with effect from the start of the new academic year on August 29, “and assuming the cessation of the state of emergency”, all offices of The UWI St Augustine campus will be rostering staff, on rotation, to ensure continued operations in all areas whilst ensuring effectiveness and safety.
“All previous Covid-19 protocols will be in effect. Until further notice, the university is maintaining its restrictions on visitors coming to campus,” it advised.
Online classes to continue
According to the media release, plans for the academic year include the continuation of online delivery of classes for the semester, “except in the case of labs, field exercises, research and any other activities that absolutely require on-campus or in-person presence”.
It said Copeland informed staff and students that the planning and position on matters for the new academic year was the result of careful planning, consultation across management and engagement with the Incident Management Team, unions and student leaders.
“We have had to treat with the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic for almost 18 months now, and the resilience that our campus has shown has been inspiring,” Copeland said.
The release noted that teaching is scheduled to begin on September 6, with online course registration due to start next week Monday.
The UWI said all critical course and registration information will be available at https://sta.uwi.edu/registration.
“Among the upgrades that have been made to the registration process, the campus unveiled a new Fee Pay platform this week that will allow all students to gain instantaneous financial clearance by enrolling in a payment plan,” it said.
Copeland has encouraged incoming students to enjoy the First Year Experience (FYE) programme, which continues to meet informational demands, foster integration into the campus community and stimulate an excitement for learning.
He also urged returning students to stay connected with their peers and to the campus, and to take advantage of remote student support services to ensure success and overall good health and well-being.