University Leaders in Taiwan Share the Successful On-campus Strategies for Combating COVID-19

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As the new coronavirus, or Covid-19 rages throughout the world, Taiwan has no local cases in over more than 50 days and domestic activities are preparing for large-scale deblocking. The successful experience in epidemic prevention has won international recognition.

In a video now released by The Association of International Cultural and Educational Exchange (AICCE), Taiwan, university leaders in Taiwan are sharing the several prevention strategies that were taken to combat the pandemic. Titled  “ Nine Strategies Taken By Taiwan’s Higher Education To Cope With Covid-19 Successfully”, the video features university presidents, vice presidents, and deans.

Strategy 1: Build a rapid response team

Professor Zhang Hua Fong, President of National Chung Cheng University in Taiwan shared that after receiving the epidemic notification, the first thing was to build a rapid response team and prepared anti-epidemic equipment and procedures.

Strategy 2: Provide immediate and transparent information

Professor Jeffrey J.P. Tsai, President of Asia University, Taiwan stated that every student needs to take anti-epidemic courses at the beginning of the semester. The university puts great emphasis on health education. Correct and important information was sent to students through the LINE group at any time. Mentors interact with students every day to ensure that the students’ mental state is stable.

Strategy 3: Gear up protective equipment

Professor I-Yu Huang, Vice President of National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan recalled that in early February, the university has purchased 50,000 facial masks, 770 bottles of disinfection alcohol, 53 forehead thermometers, 780 protective clothing and 500 bottles of bleach. Coordinated by the university, protective equipment was prepared by the Office of General Affairs. In addition, the university has purchased additional insurance for frontline epidemic prevention personnel of the university.

Strategy 4: Take risk control on campus

Professor I-Yu Huang, Vice President of National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan shared the university’s risk control strategy on campus. Temperature check stations were set at each building to control the flow of people with only single entrance. If the body temperature is normal, a sticker with “OK” will be provided. There is no need to be measured again when entering any school building that day.

Strategy 5: Provide quarantine premises

Professor Zhang Hua Fong also shared that the university offered a very isolated area on campus, the Zhiyuan Building, as a quarantine premise and even built a virtual fence around this area. People who came back from abroad or visited first stayed in the building for 14-days quarantine. The university also made corresponding measures on food and eating such as disinfection and put great emphasis on anti-epidemic details. The only goal is to provide students a safe and healthy environment.

Strategy 6: Improve online teaching capacity

Professor Chih-Wen Kuo, Vice President for International Affairs at National Sun-Yat-sen University, Taiwan pointed out that the university contacted those overseas partners that offer online courses. Even though students cannot go abroad as planned, they can still take courses at NSYSU. The university also expanded the bandwidth of the internet on campus to make online courses go smoother.

Strategy 7: Report suspected infection cases immediately

Professor Hua-Fu Hsu, Dean of International Affairs at National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan recalls how the university reacted with suspected infection cases. “ A Pakistani student arrived in Taiwan without notifying our university. We were not aware until we received the notice from the health department. The university mobilized different offices and provided a special pick-up for the student. However, three days later, he started to feel uncomfortable and had a fever. The student had two careful examinations in a negative pressure isolation room. We held a lot of meetings to discuss what the university should do if he was infected with Covid-19. ” The key to successful epidemic prevention is to mobilize different offices fast and effectively.

Strategy 8: Turn crisis into opportunities

Professor Ying Huei Chen, Dean of International College, Asia University, Taiwan shared that although international collaborations and mutual visits have been greatly impacted by the epidemic, for Taiwan, the more encouraging news is that because Taiwan’s performance in epidemic control is good, it helps raise the visibility. Therefore, during the two to three months, Asia University signed six new partners. Because of the advancement of Taiwan’s image and epidemic prevention performance, he believes it will have a positive influence on Taiwan’s international collaboration outreach.

Strategy 9: Joint efforts to safeguard the campus

In the end of the video, the presidents and vice president express their appreciation for both teachers and students for making the prevention measures impenetrable and for supporting and abiding by all measures taken on campus. At the beginning, these measures may cause a little inconvenience. But looking back now, thanks to those measures, we can ensure everyone’s safety and have teaching and research continue as usual. President Jeffrey J.P. Tsai of Asia University also reminds us that before the vaccine is developed, we all need to be extremely cautious. “Stay positive, be confident, creative and take care of personal hygiene. We can use this crisis as an opportunity. As long as we work together, we will definitely defeat the virus.”

To view the video, please go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQMA-i2hSKs.