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 Universities Respond to the Unprecedented Times
Maria Thomas

Hi! Maria Thomas is a Editorial Account Manager for IDP Connect. An Economics graduate turned writer, she likes to pen down something every now and then. An avid reader and dreamer, she often dwells in worlds created by books. Favourite author- Ayn Rand, favourite quote- The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.

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30 Apr 2020 321 Book icon 4 mins Share

COVID-19: Universities Respond to the Unprecedented Times

Every news that you read about Corona isn’t necessarily bad, take a look at how the universities across the globe are responding to this situation. We bring to you updates from uni’s across the world…

30 Apr 2020 321 Book icon 4 mins Share
 Universities Respond to the Unprecedented Times

COVID-19 has become an uninvited guest in our lives. The whole world, the global economy and every sector has taken hits during this time. The story isn’t different when it comes to higher education. You must be keen to know what the universities across the world are up to. We’re gonna give you a glance at what the educational institutions are doing to fight this pandemic.  

United Kingdom 

As the pandemic thrashes the world, bringing everything to a halt, universities in UK are in the forefront responding to this crisis. They are doing everything they can to ensure that their students, staff and society is safe and healthy. The university sector has already begun their medical research into figuring out a vaccine for Covid-19, donating medical equipment to National Health Service and is constantly exploring ways to make lives better. Let’s see what they are doing for their student population:  

  • University of York - launched an Emergency Student Support Fund, which provides bursaries of up to £500 for students facing unanticipated financial challenges due to Covid-19. 

  • Solent University - is providing Asda vouchers to any students in need. Additionally, they are ensuring that student support groups are available to self-isolating students in need.  

  • University of Aberdeen - uni is continuing their online teaching via recorded lectures, tutorial sessions allowing students to engage virtually in a class setting. 

  • University of Manchester - Along with helping the vulnerable sections of the community, they are taking a huge effort in caring for their students who are still in residences. 

  • University of Leicester - regular employability workshops are available virtually for students to access whenever they need to. All appointments will are being conducted over Skype or by telephone and support will be offered towards application processes, career coaching and mock interviews/assessments. 

The universities had commenced online classes in April and almost all the universities were delivering classes virtually. JISC, an organisation that provides digital solutions for UK education and research is in collaboration with, Kortext, the UK’s leading digital textbook platform to guarantee that university students and academic staff can access key learning resources online at this time. Almost 120 UK universities have signed up to set things in motion and this will benefit around 1.4 million students. 

United States 

In United States, the University of Washington was the first major university to commence online classes and exams. By mid-March, almost 1,100 colleges and universities in all 50 states had begun their digital journey.  

  • University of Hawaii - Many colleges have pushed the deadline for students to declare their intent to attend a school and reserve a spot for the fall. Some institutions have extended deadlines even further. This uni will consider applications until August 1, 2020.  

  • Mississippi State University - Uni has come up with a detailed plan to assist students who might lack access to an internet connection. Additionally, they have opened the university libraries on a limited basis and is also distributing mobile hotspots to students.  

  • University of Delaware - was able to move 6,422 course sections online in just two weeks between March 16 and the start of classes on March 30. Also, the uni has created a platform with resources, tips for learning in the online environment and free virtual drop-in tutoring sessions.  

  • University of North Texas - created a fund to assist students who have urgent and pressing needs, such as health, residential, and educational expenses.  

  • Virginia Tech - this uni has allocated $9.7 million to emergency financial aid grants for eligible students.  

Australia 

Universities in Australia are one-step ahead, from delivering online classes, supporting students and contributing to the government’s emergency relief funds.  

  • University of Sydney - Uni has made general bursaries available to all enrolled students if they are experiencing financial hardship at this time.  

  • CQUniversity - has transitioned face-to-face teaching to online for most course offerings. Additionally, this uni has hygienic resources made available in areas such as receptions, computer labs and common areas. 

  • University of Newcastle - established the ‘University of Newcastle COVID-19 Student Hardship Fund’ valued at $1 million for its students.   

  • Deakin University, Australian National University, and Monash University- each of these uni’s have donated between AU$25 million to AU$15 million in response to Covid-19.  

  • Victoria university- has launched a COVID-19 Student Support Fund to help students studying in Australia by providing emergency financial assistance during the pandemic. The fund will cover emergency financial grants, technology grants and crisis housing support. 

Canada 

Canadian universities have joined forces with governments at all levels by donating critical medical supplies, and working with community partners to provide a wide range of supports for the national public health response to COVID-19.  

  • University of Toronto Scarborough- students still living in residences received care packages from UTSC staff and students that included a gift card, small treats, and exam prep items like pencils, highlighters and study tips.  

  • University of Victoria- the student union is planning to use remaining funds from the events budget to donate grocery gift cards to students in need, prioritising its international students.  

  • California State University- the uni plans to start the fall semester online and, if governmental and health authorities permit, they will gradually move back to on-campus operations. 

  • Algoma University- launched its first Virtual Wellness Party, connecting students from all three campuses.  

  • Nipissing University- Uni’s student union is ensuring that the students stay connected by means of a variety of online resources, including stress management guides, workshops and mental health supports. 

New Zealand  

Echoing the same, universities in New Zealand are coordinating with their governments and public health volunteers in their fight against Covid- 19.  

  • University of Auckland- the uni is planning to conduct examinations and other forms of invigilated assessments online. Their May Graduation ceremony has been cancelled, but more ceremonies will be added to the Spring Graduations in September instead. 

  • Victoria University of Wellington- their international office is operating online and applications are still open for Trimester 2 until further notice. 

  • Massey University- the uni will continue to teach online for the remainder of Semester 1 and existing students can apply for financial assistance.  

Ireland 

The Irish universities are functioning efficiently, doing their best to keep their students safe. They have galvanised into immediate action by means of contributing to the national emergency response in the best way possible. 

  • Dublin City University- uni will conduct all its teaching and assessment/examinations online for the remainder of this academic year. Also, uni is offering teachers and lecturers a free online course to equip them with the latest technology to aid online teaching.  

  • University of Limerick- The UL Critical Operations Team & Executive Committee (COTEC) created a UL COVID Action group to coordinate the many activities in progress and emerging across campus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

  • University College Cork- the uni is continuing the online delivery of classes and critical services are open to students. An emergency team is available which will continue to work together to ensure the welfare of all.  

Additionally, a lot of uni’s are offering on-campus accommodation to students who have lost their private rental and to medical and nursing students working on the frontline who have been unable to remain in their private rental accommodation. 

Hang in there… 

So, now you know that the universities are working hard to ensure that they do their best in a dire situation such as this. This is exactly why you shouldn’t give up on your study abroad dreams anytime soon. Keep visiting the uni website for regular updates and soon you’ll hear some good news!  

We are here to help you in any way we can. Our counsellors are available digitally to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have at this time.

Feel free to write to us at  va-counselors@idp.com  or call us at  1800 103 2581.

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