The academic activities of the Federal University of Ouro Preto (UFOP) were suspended for an indefinite period of time - with a fortnightly reassessment - in an extraordinary meeting of the University Council (Cuni) of UFOP this past Tuesday, on the 17th. The meeting evaluated the Institution's functioning and the precautionary measures to be taken as indicated by the Committee for Confrontation Against Coronavirus, which prepared a document with "Strategies for preventing and containing the contagion of Coronavirus," presented at the meeting. The recommendations proposed by the Committee take into account the pandemic declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the latest guidelines from Brazil’s Ministry of Health. The recommendations from the Forum of Public Institutions of Higher Education of the State of Minas Gerais (Foripes) were also evaluated.
Cuni's decision defines immediate suspension of the activities of undergraduate, graduate and extension courses, as well as the operation of the university restaurants, libraries, museums and the cinema; the holding of institutional events and the removal of staff for travel. Activities that cannot be interrupted, such as master and doctorate defenses, some researches and extension activities will be maintained due to the in advance established deadlines. The Pro-Rector of Research and Graduation, Sérgio Aquino, highlighted that it is not a total stoppage, since "part of these researches developed at the University are focused on the fight against diseases, creation of vaccines and medicines".
The recommendation is to pursue all the ways to reduce the sharp curve of contamination, which could overcome the health system capacity installed in the municipalities. It is requested that parties and other forms of agglomeration are not held, and it is indicated to students to return to their homes. As for the government employees, the impossibility of interrupting activities and, when appropriate, performing them remotely should be evaluated. There is also a negotiation with the contracted companies so there is no negative impact for the outsourced staff.
The situation must continue as long as there is a risk of large-scale contamination. The assessment will be made fortnightly based on government information and technical analysis from UFOP’s team. "The national scenario is of great risk with the rapid spread of the virus. The suspension of activities may slow down this process", clarifies dean Claudia Marliére, pointing out that the suspension does not have the character of cancellation of the semester.
COMMITTEE EVALUATION - The guidelines proposed by the document of the Committee for Confrontation Against Coronavirus include the administrative, educational and welfare axes:
ADMINISTRATIVE - In the administrative axis, there are the indications for protocols to be observed by the management of UFOP to ensure the safety of all those involved in academic activities, honoring the reduction of on-campus contact. It is indicated the operation of essential sectors, the acquisition of inputs for prevention and treatment, the cancellation of government employees’ holidays considered essential for the moment and the prioritization of off-site activities.
EDUCATION - In the educational axis, the measures to be taken must focus on the dissemination of information related to prevention, diagnosis and combating fake news, through conventional media (radio, television, printed matter) and digital (sites, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). The proposal is also to establish partnerships with local municipal governments to collaborate on the dissemination of information about the assistance flow in municipalities and, especially, to encourage vaccination against the influenza virus, scheduled to begin on March 23rd.
WELFARE - In the welfare axis, the measures to be taken focus on training and qualification of the health team and on the adequacy of UFOP’s Health Center at the Morro do Cruzeiro Campus, for the start of service, with the implementation of the service influx for suspected cases of coronavirus. In this sense, the Clinical Analysis Pilot Laboratory (Lapac) is also considered a strategic sector for the relationship with Ouro Preto’s community. Priority will also be given to training the assistance and support team on the assistance flow, with the processing of health products, cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and the processing of clothes and waste treatment. In order to carry out prevention and treatment activities, technically qualified staff from other sectors may be temporarily relocated to the service areas.
A page has been created to keep the academic community informed about the measures taken by the University: ufop.br/coronavirus