Acting as the natural judge of the world, deciding the life and death of precious lives, outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus, or as its official name dictates – the COVID-19 has undeniably come as a shock. Amidst this chaotic situation, the Korean government, hospitals, and universities all over the nation has taken a firm stance to deal with the unforeseen event as best as they could within their judgment and power. Yonsei University has also taken numerous measures to ensure the health and wellbeing of the students while fulfilling her commitment to giving quality education. Today, we will be diving deep into the main measures taken by the University.
The most prominent decision that significantly impacted the students’ life was without a doubt, to carry out online classes until May 12th. The general reaction to this decision was positive, as it prevented the students from getting exposed to the possibility of catching the virus by coming to campus. However, there have been few backlashes as it placed international students and students from other regions than Seoul in a tough position. The period of online classes was to be until April but then got re-extended to May, making it difficult for the students to decide when to return home or in worst cases, making them unable to go back to their home countries and hometowns due to the possible offline exam period.
This pandemic situation feels unreal. For us students, and also the University. In these tough times, we are still uncertain whether the university will function normally after May 12th or whether the whole semester will continue with online classes. “Students abroad cannot come back to South Korea without being in quarantine for two weeks. There’s only a month left until May 12th, yet we haven’t heard definite information nor a statement from the university about the university’s future operation,” one junior student stated worryingly while another HASS student added, “We understand that this is an unusual situation that no one is used to nor has expected, but the lack of definite information is unsettling.”
On the other hand, there have been few successful policies taken to prevent the further spread of the virus, and one of them is the change made on the campus. Multiple halls have been closed on campus and the Central Library now limits their activities from 9 AM to 11 PM. If students want to check out books, they are only allowed to do so between 9 AM and 5:30 PM on weekdays. Also, the number of electronic copies of books in the library have increased exponentially, fostering the growth of technological innovation in the University and enabling the students to access information from afar.
COVID-19 has also altered the life in the dormitory. South Korea declared the mandatory 14 day quarantine of all nationals entering the country in early April. It is commendable that despite the lack of resources, Yonsei University has been devoted to the wellbeing of the students while abiding by the national laws. For instance, the university has directed the students who have returned to Korea from abroad to stay in the dormitories for at least 14 days. The students are staying in comfortable amenities and are being provided with food and other desirable utensils from the convenience store.
Adapting and surviving amidst the coronavirus is a struggle full of anxiety, uncertainty, and paranoia for everyone in this world. As there is never a definite answer in dealing with huge disasters, the unprecedented decisions and measures being carried out will always be painted black and white and grey. In order to effectively endure through this crisis, we should trust the institutions we are part of, stay calm, and continue to follow the protective measures. We should not let our guard down until the last Covid-19 patient recovers.