The University of Papua New Guinea has immediately responded to the announcement that a student has tested positive to Covid-19. While awaiting further testing and contact tracing from the NCD PHA Rapid Response Team, the University has activated the University’s Covid-19 Business Continuity Plan, which reflects all of the directives from the SOE Controller in relation to this Stage 3 situation, and has commenced to own internal contact tracing measures.
All possible student and staff contacts have now been traced and identified and are being closely monitored by the University Clinic as a matter of priority. Quarantine arrangements have been activated to determine any suspected cases amongst day students, residential students, staff and their dependents. All Schools, Divisions and Departments have been directed to closely monitor the contact between resident students and essential core staff. Any suspected cases will be isolated and transported to the Rita Flynn Medical Facility for further testing and possible isolation. The University has also immediately heightened its security at the only entrance to the campus and the residential area for vehicles and pedestrians.
These strict arrangements include:
- Vehicle passes for essential core staff and essential suppliers;
- Personal emergency passes for essential staff and service providers to enter the University;
- A campus curfew from 7:30 pm each day to 6:00 am for the period 24 July through 5 August 2020; and
- Students and staff who enter the University each day will be required to show their ID Cards, sanitise their hands, and have a temperature check before being allowed to enter.
During the next fourteen to 21 days, any ongoing classes and essential academic activities will continue in online, or if required, in strict blended learning situations. This will apply mainly to the open college and residential students who remain on campus, as the Semester 1 Break will continue until 10 August 2020.
The University administration is well prepared to act on advice from the Department of Public Health and the SOE Controller, if, or when, a decision is made to close any of its campuses to all but residential students, and which is endorsed by the University Council.
The students and staff are strongly advised to maintain advocated safety and hygiene measures that are part of the program to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus:
- Practise social distancing by maintaining 1.5 metres between each other;
- Wash your hands as often as necessary and for the use of hand sanitiser;
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; and
- Avoid social gatherings and crowded places.
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay blessed.
PROF. FRANK K. GRIFFIN