- By Pacific island Times News Staff
Digital migration: How Covid-19 is changing the way we live
Covid-19 is rapidly spreading on Guam, thus the lifting of social distancing policy is not likely to happen any time soon. Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero has extended the public emergency declaration, which requires the community shutdown to continue until April 13.
Non-essential GovGuam agencies, restaurants, bar, amusement and fitness facilities are shuttered up, schools remain closed and most people who have to continue working do their work from home.
The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way we live, work and socialize. And as Covid-19 forces residents to retreat into their homes, people’s reliance on digital technology grows exponentially. Essential business and government meetings as well as press conferences, for example, are conducted via video meeting apps such as Zoom, Skype and Google Hangout.
At the University of Guam, online classes will be the norm for the succeeding months. UOG is transitioning all of its classes into an online or alternative format for the remainder of the academic semester. Courses that had previously been in an online or hybrid format will resume as usual on Monday. All other previously face-to-face classes will begin on April 6.
“Our faculty and staff have been working hard to transform all of our classes to online or to an alternative format,” said Dr. Thomas W. Krise, UOG president. “We are confident that our students working together with our faculty will ensure a successful completion of this semester.”
The University of Guam has set up training for faculty and students throughout next week to familiarize them with various online learning tools. Students can also attend a “virtual field trip into online learning” to learn more about the e-learning, teleconferencing, and video conferencing platforms their instructors have selected to continue teaching their classes.
“Our number one goal in converting all of our courses is the success of our students,” said Senior Vice President and Provost Anita Borja Enriquez. “We will ensure no student is left behind in finishing this semester. We will do everything possible to support their needs and work with them on any issues they might have.”
The university plans to complete the semester on its original timeline, with final exams scheduled for May 18–22.
Alternate plans for the commencement ceremony are being considered, although students who will meet the requirements to graduate in May will still receive their diplomas, even if the ceremony is delayed.
Certain deadlines have been extended for this semester, including:
Deadline to apply for financial aid: April 6
Deadline for voluntary course withdrawal: April 15
Deadline for special projects and credit by exam: April 17
Deadline to pay tuition: April 30
For information about specific classes, students should contact their instructors directly. Students who need technical support with the new course formats should contact firstname.lastname@example.org, and students needing ADA accommodations should contact Senior Academic Counselor Sallie Sablan at email@example.com.
Also using video conferencing technology is the Manhoben Swim Club, which continues to connect their swimmers through daily video conference workouts. “With the pool and parks closed and our practices cancelled, a team can still be a team using modern technology,” said Coach Andy Lee. “Despite all these challenges, our daily video calls give our swimmers the opportunity to stay connected, maintain their flexibility and strength and promote wellness at home.”
The Manhoben team connects every afternoon for quick personal updates and proceeds to stretching and daily dry-land workout. These Manhoben swimmers include middle and high school students from across the island. Manhoben encourages all athletes to stay motivated and find creative ways to stay connected and active.
Earlier this month, Docomo Pacific put its Work-From-Home Policy into effect. "As a telecommunications provider, our associates are well-equipped to work remotely. As one of Guam’s largest private employers, it is our responsibility to help 'flatten the curve' of Covid-19 outbreak," the company said in a press release.