MESSAGE TO USJ’ STAFF AND STUDENTS
18 March 2020
Dear Staff and Students,
The virus crisis is placing a strain on everyone. Many of us have family, friends and colleagues in re- gions where the pandemic has been active or is now spreading. To add to our worries, there is now the knock-on effect on the economy and the sharp downturn in the financial markets. This is a state of affairs that breeds distress and anxiety, always difficult to manage on our own. Caring for one an- other is important. It nurtures hope at the heart of our human condition. In some cases, however, it may not be enough. For those who would like more professional help, we remind you that USJ’s counselling services are freely available1.
As we enter the 7th week of preventive measures against the COVID 19 virus, the DSES has set the earliest possible date for return to classroom work and has published a five-page document with detailed guidelines on how to proceed2. The date and guidelines were drawn up after a very frank discussion with the leaders of Macao ́s higher education institutions (HEIs), chaired by the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ms Ao Ieong U, and they allow each higher education institution a great deal of flexibility in managing the return to classroom mode.
- STUDENTS, please note – THIS DOES NOT MEAN CLASSROOM WORK WILL BE RESTARTING FOR EVERYONE AT USJ. The return to work on campus will be gradual, and only for some modules. You will be contacted directly by your teacher, coordinator or dean if returning to classroom work includes one or more of the modules you are taking.
- TEACHERS, please note – WE CONSIDER THE RETURN TO CLASSROOM MODE A FALL-BACK SOLUTION. Given the complex logistic implications of returning to classroom mode while general restrictions are still in force, it must be discussed with your Coordinator, endorsed by your Dean and approved by the Registrar.
- ALL OF US (STAFF AND STUDENTS), PLEASE NOTE – USJ TAKES EXTREMELY SERIOUSLY THE TRAVEL RE- STRICTIONS LAID DOWN AND PERIODICALLY UPDATED BY THE MACAO SAR GOVERNMENT. Any of us who travel outside Macao will not be allowed to enter the campus and take part in classroom work until we have fully complied with government requirements. If you have travelled recently or need to travel urgently, please inform your superior (teacher, coordinator, dean, head of office). The information will be forwarded to and collated by the Rector’s Office.
Below are some of the points that Deans, Coordinators and teachers should consider, when ponder- ing whether, how and when to return to classroom teaching.
1. The 1st of April is the earliest date for returning to regular classroom mode.
2. In scheduling classroom work from that day onward, the following should take priority:
a. Classes with students who are ending their programmes should be scheduled so that they can complete their studies before the end of the current academic year;
b. Classes that involve mainly students who have been living in Macao, without in- terruption, since before the preventive measures were introduced;
c. Modules that call for hands-on activities, such as laboratory work, studio-based courses and courses requiring software or equipment available only on campus;
d. Internships and assessments that require face-to-face meetings.
3. The fact that classroom work may start does not mean that it should or must start.
a. Modules that are being successfully run online may and probably should continue online, to avoid the many logistical issues mentioned in (4). It may well be more convenient to limit classroom work to tests and final exams, if required.
b. In the case of visiting academics, it is preferable to organise their modules online until the end of the semester, and provide local classroom support where neces- sary, if tests, exams or other classroom activities are required.
c. Modules that are still to start and for which classroom presence does not meet the criteria set out in (2.c and 2.d), will be assumed to be in online mode, unless a request to do otherwise has been submitted and approved.
4. To restart classroom work, USJ must be in a position to certify that DSES guidelines have been followed for every module. Conditions on campus, therefore, need to be carefully assessed with the Coordinator and a written request, endorsed by the Dean, must be submitted to the Registrar for approval. Some of the required conditions are:
a. Each time, students and staff enter the campus they must present the official Personal Health Declaration, attesting that they have not been outside Macao or visited listed countries or territories for the last 14 days.
b. Until further notice, face masks shall be used in all teaching and learning activities on campus.
c. Classrooms or other working spaces should be accessed by a limited number of students at any one time. Participants must be at least 1m apart. This may re- quire splitting larger classes into two or more groups.
d. All must be aware, and written instructions easily available, of how to proceed if a participant feels unwell or shows worrying symptoms.
We are proud of the amazing team spirit with which you have all faced these challenging two months. Teaching and learning in online mode have been surprisingly successful. We have devel- oped skills, worked harder and got to know one another better, when the opposite could so easily have been the case.
Module by module, unit by unit, we have been collecting information about this powerful learning experience. It is already providing food for thought at all levels. The ideas, expertise and procedures we have been developing on and off-line over the past two months will serve USJ well in the years to come.
Take care. Keep safe!
Fr Peter Stilwell
On behalf of USJ’s Executive Council
- 同學們請注意 – 這並不表示聖大所有的課堂教學就此恢復。回歸校園的工作將逐步恢復，並且只涉及部分課程。如果您修讀的一個或多個課程將恢復課堂教學的模式，您的老師、課程主任或者院長將直接與您聯繫。
- 老師們請注意 – 我們認為課堂教學模式的恢復是一種倒回式的解決方案。考慮到復課將帶來複雜的後勤工作，並且由疫情引起的普遍限制措施仍在生效中，復課必須與您的課程主任商議，並經由您的院長和教務長的批准。
- 所有同事和同學們請注意 – 聖大嚴格遵循澳門特別行政區政府制定的旅行限制，並定期更新。在完全遵守政府相關隔離要求之前，任何在澳門以外地區旅行的教職員和學生都不得進入校園和參加課堂工作。 如果您最近離開過澳門或需要緊急旅行，請告知您的上級（老師，課程主任，院長和辦公室主管）。 相關信息將轉發至校長辦公室並進行整理。