Student well-being comes first

Enough for all: Free food and drinks are available for UMT students at their campus during the MCO.

SINCE the pandemic broke, varsities have been working hard to ensure that their students’ needs and safety are prioritised.

Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) students have been receiving free meals three times a day since March 18.

Its vice-chancellor Datuk Prof Dr Nor Aieni Mokhtar said the varsity is also conducting regular health screenings, ensuring medical attention is available and maintaining proper hygiene, during the movement control order (MCO).

She added that parents and students do not have to worry about their children’s welfare and safety whether on or off campus, as students will be well looked after as part of on-going efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

UMT’s Act of Kindness and Gerobok Rezeki Mutiara UMT teams also coordinate the distribution donated supplies and snacks under the AOK-GR Kitchen and Store project, while the health centre, security office, volunteers from the uniformed bodies, and staff, make sure that things go on without a hitch.

Over in Johor, the Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia’s (UTHM) Welfare, Wellness and Safety (3K) plan is in place.

Headed by UTHM deputy vice-chancellor (student affairs and alumni) Assoc Prof Dr Afandi Ahmad, the 3K plan looks into students’ basic needs, including accommodation, food and beverage, their daily needs and security.

Daily meets: The emergency response team discussing the daily situation at the UPM Covid-19 operations room.Daily meets: The emergency response team discussing the daily situation at the UPM Covid-19 operations room.

Nearly 2,300 students from UTHM’s Parit Raja and Pagoh campuses are being cared for with integrity and dedication.

Mental health issues are addressed and moral support is provided to students by the varsity’s counselors who are contactable via mobile or Whatsapp.

UHTM has enhanced its Internet accessibility and is conducting online activities to help students fill their time with positive activities and to keep their minds active.

The food distribution process is also in place for students staying in residential colleges, as well as those residing in rented properties.

In Serdang, the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) emergency response team led by its vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Aini Ideris has been integral in preventing the spread of the virus.

All Covid-19-related issues are handled at its operations room where the emergency response team committee meets for a daily video conference call to coordinate activities, decide on urgent matters and plan initiatives for efficient crisis management.

Risk assessment forms are distributed to everyone on campus and the responses are analysed daily. Those found to be in the high-risk category are immediately contacted.

An action plan is also in place to ensure that orders issued to the campus community are clear.

Data on the number of students in the residential colleges, their movement in and out of campus, the number of staff and students related to Covid-19 cases, free food distribution schedule and donor list, is updated every two hours.

Relevant statistics are sent to the Ministry of Higher Education twice daily.

All food suppliers are required to attend a health briefing and the operations centre also ensures food safety and cleanliness at the colleges. Any area that has been contaminated, is disinfected.

UPM Engineering Faculty Chemical and Environmental Engineering head Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Razif Harun said over 750 bottles of hand sanitisers were produced and placed around the faculty for their students use.

Made from aloe vera gel, ionised water, natural alcohol and natural essential oils such as lavender, lemon, peppermint, tea tree oil, and a blend of other essential oils, the hand sanitisers comply with World Health Organisation standards.

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