AUC Coronavirus Response Task Force Holds First Virtual Campus Conversation
The Coronavirus Response Task Force at The American University in Cairo (AUC) held its first virtual campus conversation today with the community to discuss the University's response to the global coronavirus pandemic. AUC community members were able to send questions prior to and during the campus conversation and watch the latest updates from the task force through live streaming on the AUC website.
Members of the AUC task force are President Francis Ricciardone, Counselor Ashraf Hatem, Provost Ehab Abdel-Rahman, Vice President for Student Life Deena Boraie, Vice President for Management and Operations Shereen Shaker, Vice President for Digital Transformation Ayman Abdellatif and Vice President for University Affairs and Chief of Staff Ranya Boraie. The task force is headed by Vice President for Marketing Communication and Public Affairs Dina Abulfotuh,
AUC has already been taking several precautionary measures in an effort to help limit the spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), starting with moving the Spring Break forward, beginning last Sunday for one week, in addition to moving to online instruction for two weeks starting next Sunday, March 22.
President Ricciardone said: “The care, safety and security of our people is our number one priority. The University is actively monitoring the local and global health situation and is taking all the needed precautionary measures. So far, we have no confirmed cases among our community.”
Ricciardone also added: “Our second priority is to carry on with our core mission of the production and transmission of knowledge, that is higher education. We are determined to save the spring semester, save the investment of our students all these past months so that they graduate on schedule.”
He also praised the faculty and staff colleagues at all levels, saying: “I’m especially proud to serve with our fine students, faculty and staff at such challenging moments, and commend all for their commitment and confidence as we race to the finish of our centennial year’s spring semester.”
The Center for Learning and Teaching has been conducting training for faculty members in online instruction and tools, and continues to provide all the available support before and during the shift to online instruction.
Abdel-Rahman addressed questions about online classes, including grades and midterms, saying: “Classes and assignments will resume (via online instruction) beginning Sunday, March 22. Faculty members are asked to be flexible with the attendance policy and focus instead on the quality of student work completed during this time. We expect that certain types of assignments and activities will be delayed until face-to-face classes resume. We also asked the faculty not to give any assessments that require any proctoring.”
He also said that the Executive Education and the School of Continuing Education will also shift to online instruction.
“While I realize that the coming weeks will undoubtedly bring disruption to the spring semester, I am confident in our ability to not only rise to this challenge, but to use it as an opportunity to learn and improve. I am thankful to the dedication of all the faculty and staff that have been working around the clock on our move to online instruction,” affirmed Abdel-Rahman.
Placing the highest priority on the health, safety and security of its entire community while ensuring the continuity of academic programs and essential functions, AUC adopted additional measures for remote work arrangements during the two weeks of online instruction and will be minimizing staff presence on campus, unless essential.
AUC has implemented campus-wide efforts to respond to and protect the AUC community from the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, including deep disinfecting and sanitizing of the campus as well as installing hand sanitizer dispensers all around the New Cairo and Tahrir Square campuses and on the buses.
The Office of Medical Services at AUC is closely monitoring the situation and providing regular updates to the community. As a precautionary measure, the Office of Medical Services has designated a specific examination room to serve as a flu clinic for any suspected cases of the flu. The examination room is continuously disinfected. All physicians and nurses are trained to follow international protocols in dealing with suspected cases.
For latest updates on AUC’s response to COVID-19, visit www.aucegypt.edu/coronavirus.