Reflecting on the Impact of COVID-19

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Entrance to the Exhibition

Really? For Real? A true? Did this really happen? Oh wow? Is this correct? These are the popular phrases that reverberate throughout the UWI Museum as visitors tour “Surviving COVID-19”. Exhibiting the impact of the pandemic on The UWI as well as the University’s response through photos and archival material has provided visitors with insight into previously unknown information.

For example, visitors were surprised to learn that the University developed a policy to respond to the pandemic prior to the first confirmed case in the English speaking Caribbean. On February 29, 2020, The UWI established the COVID-19 Task Force and commenced broadcasting ‘COVID-19 Protocols & Procedures’ to prepare staff and students for the coronavirus. The UWI Emergency Action Plan outlined strategies to reduce virus spread, and procedures to implement in the event of an outbreak. A public education campaign quickly disseminated The UWI’s strategic response to the larger community following the confirmation of COVID-19 in Jamaica.

Academic staff visitors are extremely surprised when they see multiple notices featuring postponed or cancelled events that they organized or had planned to attend. The various news reports, dating from the detection of the “Mystery Virus” in Wuhan, China in 2019 to the pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine debates and demonstrations of 2021/2022 encourages visitors to reflect on their own experience and the mayhem that the virus created across the globe.

So yes, for real, the information is indeed accurate. In spite of the challenges, the UWI was prepared for COVID-19. Yes, it is true, COVID-19 was cataclysmic for many, but we are surviving.

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