Advisory 47

Dear Staff and Students,

In light of the lifting of the Suva lockdown and easing of restrictions in our member countries, the University’s Senior Management Team has met today and further considered the resumption of remote teaching which is scheduled to begin on Monday 20 April 2020. As such, all staff are required to resume work, where possible on Campus, effective Monday 20 April. However, staff must check with their Supervisor for further clarification. It is expected that social distancing and other protocols associated with COVID-19 will be observed. Please note the following:

  1. Undergraduate courses All Undergraduate courses will be taught remotely for the rest of Semester 1. Consequently, all students can access USP teaching materials remotely through Moodle. Please note that we expect all students to resume studying remotely next week. For students studying in trimesters or other terms, please contact your Course Coordinator for further information.
  1. Postgraduate courses For Postgraduate courses where student numbers are less than fifteen, if Course Coordinators wish, these can be taught face-to-face as long as Government measures such as a curfew, social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols are observed. Postgraduate courses with student numbers in excess of fifteen will be taught remotely.
  1. Moodle accessWe strongly recommend that students continue to access Moodle through Vodafone and Digicel where possible as they have made provisions in Fiji for their customers to access the USP website and Moodle for free. For Fiji Telecom customers, Telecom has doubled the amount of data available during this period.

    For our students in the Regional Campuses, similar arrangements with network providers are being sought by our Campus Directors. Regional students please stay in touch with your Campus Directors for further information.

  1. Campus FacilitiesOur Campuses will be open on a restricted basis and operate from Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm. All recreational facilities including the gym, swimming pool and playgrounds at Laucala Campus will remain closed until further notice. Nevertheless, other facilities on Campuses such as the Library, Book Centre, food outlets and computer labs will remain open from Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm. Please note that these facilities will take into account social distancing provisions and there will be strict monitoring of numbers. Regional students, please stay in touch with your Campus Director for further advice. In addition, it is strongly recommended that staff and students wear facemasks and practice handwashing protocols at all times.
  1. Student Halls at LaucalaThe ongoing COVID-19 crisis requires us to review our agreements in Student Halls at Laucala further to the Fiji Government announcement of 16th April.

    Those students who wish to cancel their Halls contract from the end of April, please contact the Halls office. For those students who cannot currently return to Suva due to travel restrictions, we will discuss arrangements for storing your belongings. If you do not wish to cancel, your room is now available for access. You are reminded to be aware and compliant with the COVID-19 directives on social distancing and personal hygiene.

    Any regional students in the Suva area who wish to be added to the waiting list for Halls rooms please contact the Halls office.

  1. Remote teachingFurther clarity around the arrangements announced on 14 April is provided below:

    (i) Courses in Programmes that are not externally accredited

    In Semester 1, courses in Programmes that are not externally accredited will have 100% Continuous Assessment with no further face-to-face tests or face-to-face final examination. However, if required, open-book tests and/or the final examinations can be conducted online. More information on forms of assessment will be provided by your Course Coordinators.

    (ii) Courses in externally accredited Programmes

    For courses in an externally accredited Programme where a face-to-face examination is required by the accrediting body, specific arrangements will be made to ensure that such exams are held at an appropriate time when Campuses reopen.

    (iii) Change of Grading System

    Whilst we are confident that our students will be able to adapt to fully remote teaching, we are cognizant that some students will find such learning challenging. If a student fails a course in Semester 1 2020, neither the course nor the grade will appear on the student’s transcript, nor will the grade affect their GPA.

    • To pass a course, you will need to demonstrate, via your performance, that you have met the learning outcomes of the course. This will differ for each course but if you have any doubts please check with your Course Coordinator.
    • A Fail grade means that you have not successfully completed a course. The failed course:
      • will not appear on your Official Academic Transcript
      • will not be used in any GPA calculations
      • will not prevent you enrolling in any further courses this year for which the failed course is a prerequisite.

    If a student fails a compulsory or prerequisite course in Semester 1 2020, the student will still be required to re-take the course in subsequent semesters.

    The 75% progression rule will not apply to progress to Semester 2, 2020.

    This change in grading system will apply only to students who registered in Semester 1 2020.

    (iv) Courses with labs, fieldwork, practicums, projects, internships, attachments

    Where the above elements are required for the successful completion of a course, and cannot be accommodated with alternative arrangements, those elements will be deferred to a later date. Your Course Coordinators will provide further information when Campuses reopen.  Until these elements are completed the course will be recorded as an IP (In Progress) or I (Incomplete).

  1. Revised Academic Calendar YearSemester 1, 2020
    • 20 April – 05 June:  Rest of Semester 1, 2020, dedicated to teaching & learning activities
    • 08 June – 12 June: Study/ Assessment Week
    • 15 June – 26 June:  Exam/ Assessment Weeks
    • 29 June – 10 July:  Grades submitted, including Mid-Year Break
    • 13 July: Semester 2, 2020, starts.

    Course Coordinators can include the Study Week (8 – 12 June) and the Exam Weeks (15 June – 26 June) for their continuous assessments if they do not plan to have a final examination component.

    Trimester 1, 2020            

    • 4 May – 15 May: Trimester 1 Break
    • Before 15 May: Final Exam/ Assessment
    • 18 May: Trimester 2, 2020, starts.

    Please note that the University is constantly monitoring and reviewing the COVID-19 Pandemic and we request that USP staff and students regularly check their emails, USP website and USP social media outlets. We also encourage all staff and students to practice clean hygiene protocols, social distancing and limit travel and movement.

    We thank you for your understanding in these challenging times.

Professor Pal Ahluwalia

Vice-Chancellor and President

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