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Campus principal of UWI St Augustine, Professor Brian Copeland is appealing to students to stay calm, as the tertiary education institute makes the necessary adjustments to accommodate the recently announced extended closure of all schools by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, on Monday, as one of the several precautionary measures imposed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

All schools inclusive of tertiary institutions were instructed to remain closed until April 20. Since the announcement, students had been calling for the continuation of classes online instead of halting it altogether. A petition seemingly started by students for such was even circulating on WhatsApp.

In a telephone interview with Copeland yesterday, he said he was unaware of any petition circulating, but indicated that campus officials were engaged in lengthy meetings all day discussing plans going forward to treat at best adequately with the needs of the university’s students.

Copeland said currently there were already courses that were conducted online and by next week the hope is that all lecturers could go online to continue classes.

However, he did indicate that the institution had to make these changes subtly, given the limited time frame it is working with to transition the remaining courses. Copeland said while he understood all concerns aired by students, it must also be noted there would be some “kinks” in the process, but he gave the assurance all matters would be sorted out respectively as per protocol.

After Rowley’s announcement, an internal letter presented by the institution’s marketing and communications department on behalf of Copeland was initially sent out to students presenting guidelines for both local and non-national students.

The letter also addressed living accommodations for students who may not have alternative residences to access during the closure. It assured accommodations would be made for such students as well as hall residents in need of continuing accommodations.