Qatar University (QU) has tightened its precautionary and preventive measures against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in all its facilities, including student housing.

Assistant Vice President of the QU for Student Life and Services Dr. Abdullah Al Yafie told Qatar News Agency (QNA) that the QU Student Housing Department has started its precautionary measures against the novel coronavirus since the beginning of its discovery and before its spread worldwide within the context of the precautionary and preventive efforts initiated by the QU at various levels and in all facilities, adding that the Department took the situation seriously and put the health and safety of students and housing staff as a priority.

He stated that the Department has taken several measures in several phases that are in the interest of students and employees according to the evolving situation and in accordance with the decisions and directives issued by the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management and directives issued by the Ministry of Public Health.

Before the beginning of the apparent spread of the COVID-19, the Student Housing Department activated the first phase of its precautionary procedures, which included a set of awareness workshops for students and sending messages to them on health behaviours and practices that should be followed, he pointed out, adding the Department banned visits by those who are not staying in the student housing as a precautionary measure.

Al Yafie stated that with the development of the situation globally, the Department moved to implement the second phase of the precautionary and preventive measures package, including asking all housing students whose guardians reside here in the country to stay with their families with the aim of reducing the numbers of students and giving housing employees a greater opportunity to focus their efforts and provide a higher degree of care to the rest of the students.

He also pointed out that the Student Housing Department suspended the policies of double rooms and redistributed the students by allowing one student in each room without imposing additional fees, providing them with sterilizers and disinfectants, and presenting instructions on how to best use them, in addition to amending the controls and procedures for leaving the housing.

Among the measures taken during the second phase, he said, was the closure of all gathering facilities such as entertainment and internet halls, study halls, fitness centers and prayer rooms, and the redistribution of dining tables in the designated hall to ensure that there is sufficient distance between students according to health guidelines.

As countries moved to impose more measures to preserve lives, the Department decided to implement the third phase of its preventive measures, which included reducing the numbers of students through arranging travel reservations for students who are on scholarships and allowing them to leave to their countries while following-up them to ensure that they reach their families safely, he said, adding that only students who have reasons preventing their departure were allowed to stay in the residence and were provided all means to ensure their safety.

Concluding his statement to QNA, Dr. Al Yafei pointed out that the precautions taken by the QU Student Housing Department were within the framework of keenness to ensure the health and safety of students and employees, which is a priority for the QU, while stressing that all QU facilities, including student housing, have the highest standards of security and safety and that they meet all the health requirements to make them a safe student environment at all times. (QNA)

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