TOWN HALL: President of NCU, Dr. Lincoln Edwards, making his address at the virtual town hall meeting streamed live on YouTube last Thursday, April 16, 2020. In his speech, Edwards updated the University community on the institution’s responses given the current COVID-19 pandemic.
|by Jayda Lunan, journalism student
President of Northern Caribbean University (NCU), Dr. Lincoln Edwards, announced that the University will waive various student fee charges to relieve the financial challenges that many are facing because of the coronavirus crisis.
During the NCU virtual town hall meeting held last Thursday, Edwards stated that the Administration granted waiver of general fees for summer one and two, waiver of CIS fees for the summer session, and waiver of finance charges as of May 1, 2020 until further notice.
He said that unused portions of boarding charges and meal plans will be refunded to students, as well. Also, the application fee for the upcoming fall semester was reduced by $1,000JMD, and students who already paid this fee will have their accounts credited accordingly. “We are mindful of the severe impact of COVID-19 on our students. Many students who would normally go overseas to work or engage in colporteur ministries to earn their tuition will be unable to do so due to travel restrictions and border closure,” Edwards acknowledged.
He recognized that with family members losing their income from the closure of the tourism industry, students’ family support has become limited or non-existent. Edwards highlighted that the Finance Office has added a WhatsApp number to enable ease of contact with them. “Students are encouraged to make the necessary arrangements through their Departments, the Office of Finance so that they will be able to access their final exam,” he said.
As additional assistance, the University opened its computer lab facilities since yesterday, to remain open until May, 8 2020, for students without adequate technology at home to be able to sit their virtual exams. Students who have to travel from afar for this purpose can be accommodated at the University’s Hilltop Hotel or on a dormitory. “You will need to apply at Student Services where your need will be evaluated and, if deemed necessary, accommodation at no-cost to you will be granted on a first-come basis,” Edwards instructed.
The university will also open the library during the exam period from Mondays – Thursdays at 9am to 1pm each day. The library will only accommodate 5 persons at a time for book returns, user queries and catalogue/database assistance. However, students and workers who need to visit the campus must notify the Campus Safety and Security Duty Office in advance via email.
The President also informed that graduation exercises scheduled for August 7-9, 2020 are still being planned, but if the COVID-19 situation persists, students set to graduate will be provided with evidence of their programme completion and be eligible to participate in the next planned graduation service.
“The University Administration was proactive in assembling a team to chart the way forward and be prepared for the impact of COVID-19,” Edwards remarked.
Vice President of Academic Administration, Dr. Vivienne Quarrie, and Mr. Errol Mantle of Student Finance also made addresses at the virtual town hall, and students’ questions were answered.