Dear ALU Community,
I want to share with you important news that we communicated to our students, parents, faculty, and staff this week.
As you know, the COVID-19 Pandemic is an extremely fluid situation and is changing on an hourly basis. In fact, there has been an especially rapid acceleration over the past week in the adoption of restrictive travel and quarantine policies in several countries across Africa, including Kenya, Senegal, South Africa and Ghana (to name a few). While we are very grateful that there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Mauritius, the Rwanda government has reported a small number of initial cases there.
The anxiety and concern this situation has been causing many of our students, parents, faculty, and staff has not been lost on me. Earlier this week, ALU’s Senior Leadership Team took the preemptive step of activating our Emergency Business Continuity Plan. A centerpiece of this plan calls for the transition of in-person classes to online learning for the rest of the term to ensure that our students’ studies are not disrupted.
While the work of the university will continue, the activation of our remote learning plan and rapidly diminishing travel options across the continent necessitated that international students studying at our campuses in Mauritius and Rwanda return to their home countries to finish this term’s studies — slightly ahead of the scheduled early May end of term. In an effort to comply with health authority guidance to avoid the gathering of large groups, we are also strongly encouraging the university’s faculty and staff to work remotely through the end of this term.
This week’s decisions come on the heels of a number of other policies and actions the university took over the past several weeks. These included:
- Suspending all non-class group events — this included the cancelation of our ALU School of Business MBA graduation and the school’s on-site teaching intensives.
- Prohibiting guests, VIPs, and visiting experts.
- Bolstering transmission prevention and COVID-19 awareness signage and communications across both campuses.
- Expanding the availability of hand sanitization dispensers in high-traffic locations across both campuses.
- Enhancing training for food services and cleaning staff.
- Implementing a travel ban and remote working policies for faculty / staff / students returning from international trips.
Transitioning our school to an online learning and remote working environment was a difficult decision. Our university is built on the concept of a strong community of students helping each other and staff who are passionate about our students’ success and well-being. It was hard to stand before students the other night and tell them that they needed to pack their bags and head home in 48 hours. Our students, staff, and faculty love it here — as do I. This is our second home. But in light of the rapid escalation of the COVID-19 crisis across Africa and around the world, it was clear the window of opportunity for us to act was quickly narrowing. The consequences of inaction were far too great.
Our commitment to the health and wellness of the entire ALU community is and always will be our top priority. We will never jeopardize this and this week’s decisions were made in light of this pledge.
I would like to thank all of our students, faculty, and staff who have demonstrated remarkable composure, flexibility, and teamwork this week. I’m grateful for their understanding and cooperation. I’m also very thankful for the dozens of staff and faculty members who have been working exhaustively — including late into the night — to support our students with their departures and transition to our remote learning channels.
Take care of yourselves and each other. We will get through this. I look forward to us all getting back together in a few months.