During this unprecedented worldwide public health emergency, Birzeit University has taken constructive approaches that befit the university’s values as a community of life-long learners. The university's staff and faculty members have been working around the clock to develop contingencies to handle our new realities. The university has moved to online teaching to diversify the communication between the students and faculty beyond boundaries, and has taken preventive measures to maintain the safety and well-being of Birzeit University’s community.
Measures to be taken to improve public health preparedness and prevent and contain Coronavirus
Amidst ongoing health and safety concerns with the global outbreak of the novel Coronavirus, Birzeit University Council has taken the following decisions on March 4, 2020:
- Launch an awareness campaign to help the campus community be mindful of precautionary practices;
- Suspend all travel to and from campus, including students’ participation in international competitions and exchange opportunities. The university requires those who have traveled to undergo a medical examination;
- Cancel the annual career day and use the university’s online portal to help students find employment;
- Suspend the organization of international and local conferences;
- Encourage the university’s visitors and all international delegations to be mindful about their visits to the university and update them regarding the university’s decisions;
- Avoid mass gatherings and large events;
- Form a crisis cell, headed by the university’s president, to monitor and manage updates related to the virus;
- Form a committee, headed by the assistant to the presidents, to explore the possibility of using online teaching during times of emergency;
- Form a committee, headed by the vice president for administrative and financial affairs, to manage administrative issues during times of emergency.
Online Learning during Coronavirus Lockdown
Birzeit University switches to online classes due to Coronavirus
Birzeit University has moved to online teaching for its 14,800 students, as the government has ordered all schools and universities to close in efforts to contain the growing Coronavirus outbreak, continue reading.
Birzeit University invests $250,000 to enhance e-learning opportunities amid coronavirus lockdown
The university’s decision to invest a quarter million dollars and improve its online servers and infrastructure falls in line with Birzeit University’s responsibility to serve the needs of education and address potential disruptors such as the coronavirus, continue reading
Latest Birzeit Research, Articles on the Global Pandemic
Birzeit University is at the heart of COVID-19 research response in Palestine. The university is continually monitoring and highlighting latest political, legal and public health issues about the virus.
“The Aftermath of the State of Emergency Declared in Palestine to Combat the Coronavirus Outbreak: Predicted Scenarios and Risks” (in Arabic)
A paper published by Asem Khalil, Birzeit University’s vice president for community affairs and the H.H. Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor of Constitutional and International Law, and Rashad Twam, a coordinator and developer training programs, explores the aftermath of the state of emergency, declared in Palestine in attempts to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak, probing to what extent the Palestinian Authority can extend the current state of emergency beyond thirty days.
“Tracking COVID-19 Responsibly”
Rita Giacaman, the director of Birzeit University’s Institute of Community and Public Health, and Rania Muhareb, a legal advocate at Al-Haq, noted that the Johns Hopkins dashboard was initially listing data recorded by the Palestinian health ministry in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip under its entry for Palestine, while data for Israel was listed separately, but on Mar 10 they replaced the entry for Palestine with oPt. The next day, the oPt entry was removed and its figures merged with the entry for Israel.
From Palestine on COVID-19, Curfews and Mutual Aid: Interview with WeeamHammoudeh
Hamoudeh was interviewed by the Independent Jewish Voices-Canada, on April 2, 2020, highlighting life in Palestine amid the spread of COVID-19 under military curfew and siege, and the restrictions imposed by Israelis on the entry of medical aid.
“Food Insecurity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Reflections in Light of the COVID-19 Lockdown”, blog post by WeeamHamoudeh, Rawan Kafri and others published at LSE Middle East Centre Blog
Birzeit University’s research team on the LSE Academic Collaboration project ‘Re-conceptualising Health in Wars and Conflicts: A New Focus on Deprivation and Suffering in the oPt,’ investigated the impact of occupation on food deprivation. The analyses suggest that living conditions under occupation increase the incidence of food insecurity and are detrimental to dietary diversity. This study is particularly relevant in light of the current COVID-19 related lockdowns which further exacerbate an already dire situation.