The UWI Administration Building, St Augustine.

Classes will remain virtual when tuition resumes at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) on January 17th. 

That was confirmed by Kobe Sandy, president of The UWI St Augustine (UWI-STA) Guild of Students, following his meeting on Monday with UWI-STA Principal, Professor Brian Copeland, to address questions about the campus’ physical reopening for Semester Two. 

“We agreed that it is impossible to bring all of the students—the whole campus—back in full force because of the difficulty to manage physical distancing,” he said. 

Sandy said after the meeting, they were assured that there will be no fully in-person classes for this semester at all.

This came after the Guild, in a release titled “Letter of Concern”, asked whether the campus will reopen to all students. 

They said they needed at least three months’ notice to prepare and also asked for better communication. 

“Students have been coming to us asking for information that we don’t have,” he said. 

On December 22nd, the Ministry of Education announced the phasing-in of more students back to physical school. 

This, according to the ministry, was after consultation with stakeholders. 

Among the list were Post-secondary and Tertiary students, who, according to the Ministry, will be allowed to attend physical classes for teaching and practicals from January 2022.

Sandy said the university will not be ready, especially with the presence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant among the population, concerns Sandy told Guardian Media the campus administration understands. He said there are students who may have to physically attend classes because of the nature of their programmes, but virtual school remains until further notice for the wider student population. 

“The campus has a lot of handwashing areas at every corner; I see sanitizers, but the only thing is that those things would have assisted limited people on campus.  It might need more of those of things when campus fully resumes whenever that time comes,” he said.  

He said The UWI will send an official statement on this decision later today.