The new semester already started, but the door of the catholic university of Korea (CUK) is closed. This is one of the efforts to control the spread of the respiratory infection COVID-19. Now in Korea, COVID-19 has reached all over the country centering around Daegu and Kyeongbuk area, and the number of confirmed cases are more than 9,000. To cope with this situation, on the 4th of last month, the general emergency planning committee in CUK was organized with medical and health experts under the superintendence of President Jong-chul and took a lead in implementing a disaster confrontation system.
Social distancing in CUK
To arrest the spread of COVID-19, they started to control the visitor’s access to buildings. All gates except the main doors in CUK buildings are blocked. In addition, facilities at the university including every clubroom have been restricted from the 28th of last month. Only the people who have ID cards or sign their names in the daily visit log are allowed to come into the campus after passing through the thermal imager, which is installed on first floor in Kim Su-hwan Hall. Aside from that, mass in the Chapel of Scared Heart of Jesus was temporarily stopped, due dates for library books were postponed, and many offline events in February and March have been cancelled: commencement, teachers training, and the orientation for exchange students.
Unavoidably, the academic schedule in 2020 has also changed. In accordance with the recommendation of the Ministry of Education and students’ requests, the opening date of a course in all of three CUK campuses (Sungsin, Sungsim and Sungeui campus) was deferred for more than two weeks. It was also scheduled to substitute face-to-face classes with online classes for another two weeks at least. Hereupon, entering date of Stephanos dormitory in Sungsim campus was also delayed.
However, if the cyber lecture period is further extended, students could be hindered especially in some lectures like a music class, physical education class or lab classes in the science and engineering departments. Moreover, it can be wasting tuition for some students who cannot enjoy all of the campus. Because of these problems, opinions vary on this point: how long should a cyber lecture period be and whether the students’ tuition fee needs to be refunded.
Action to respond these change
There are also many efforts to cope with multiple changes. For the professors who have difficulties in making online lecture video, Teaching and learning Development institute in CUK has supported programs that helps them make lecture material and loaned filming equipment like webcams and mics. Especially, 2020 CUK fresher online orientation titled “Because CUK wants to give an OT (가대는 오티가 하고 싶어서)” was initiated by the Center for Learning and Planning Group (중앙새터기획단) and by the Academic Affairs Support team.
This online orientation is for freshers who are confused and may be disappointed about the cancellation of administration orientation and the matriculation Mass . Introduce of academic information and public relation of many clubs was conducted through Youtube live streaming for three days. On the program, Lee Youn-min, professor from the Department of Law, said “I was disappointed to hear that Learning place for newbies was canceled, but I hope that students can get help from this opportunity.”
Voluntary movement of CUK students
Not only in each division of university, but there is also a voluntary movement among CUK students. On February 27, one post suggesting the raising of COVID-19 contributions was uploaded and positive opinions were gathered in CUK EVERYTIME (community for university students). From February 28 to March 4, there were more than 1,000 students who participated in the COVID-19 contributions led by Kim Wu-won (Psychology, 19) to stretch out helping hands for neighbors, medical teams and volunteers who have led the efforts to overcome the COVID-19 has attracted public attention. A total 17,770,000 won was delivered to the Korea Disaster Relief Association and the Republic of Korea National Red Cross in Daegu.
With the ringing of safety information messages that notices additional confirmed cases, people’s feelings of apprehension are growing every day. However, CUK is making efforts to construct a quick-response system and is arrests the spread of COVID-19 with the cooperation of many other departments, taking steps such as providing hand sanitizers, disinfecting the entire buildings, or through quarantining international students for two weeks. Additionally, students’ voluntary raising contributions also have received positive comments and spread to other universities.
“I hope that people can return to normal lives as quietly as possible.” Kim Wu-won (Psychology, 19) who led the CUK students’ contribution said, “…As many people hope that situation will be smoothing down with not an apathy but a goodness of their heart. Likewise, this kind of attempt will be a driving force of the world, helping countries control emergency and moving up the day that students can safely go to university. Rather than vague terrors, active response and support are needed now in our society.