IT Technology Improvements How Universities Are Fighting COVID-19

How Universities Are Fighting COVID-19

Students from Syracuse University participate in a U.S. Diplomacy Center simulation. (State Department photo)

Source: state.gov

Over the past month or two, as the COVID-19 pandemic in America has become over-emphasized and magnified, it is also clear that it will soon be necessary for colleges and universities to recognize their resources to help in their battle against the deadly virus. Recently, there have been campuses answering phone calls, research laboratories, using faculty expertise, and applying campus leadership to assist others who are similarly affected with the pandemic. Below is a list of some specific examples.

Temporary Hospitals. Middleburg College, Tufts University, and New York University prepared and modified their campus dorms into temporary hospitals to accommodate beds for patients who are no longer accepted in city and community hospitals. Others, like Ohio and Wisconsin University, are ready and waiting to convert their dormitories into hospitals should there be a need to do so.

Trials, Testing, and Disease Tracking. Researchers are now using university health facilities to experiment on certain medicines that may be able to treat the symptoms of COVID-19, and the University of Nebraska is one of those that were approved to perform clinical trials of the medication Remdesivir. This anti-viral was used during the Ebola outbreak. Other institutions that are doing the same are the University of California San Diego and the medical centers in San Francisco and Irvine.

Montgomery County with drive-through COVID-19 testing

Source: pa.ng.mil

On the other hand, students have also been coming forward to share information and innovative solutions. A team of students from Cornell College, for instance, has donated processing power from their arena computers to a worldwide network of computers to create an international supercomputer that is mimicking COVID-19 proteins.

Finally, John Hopkins University has also formed its COVID-19 global tracker that would show how the virus has been spreading globally, down to the individual city level. This tracker was created by Lauren Gardner, a professor and her student Ensheng Dong.

PPEs And Testing Kits. All over the world, engineering schools and university facilities have started to work on making personal protective equipment, such as face shields, coats, and gloves. Tennessee State University utilized their existing 3D machines to create some parts of the face shield, and the Stony Brook University also did this. Other major universities have also worked to come up with materials to make 7000 testing kits. There is a national, regional, and global shortage of collection kits right now.
A group of researchers from Chicago University and the Argonne National Laboratory have just discovered a train of the SARS-CoV-2 protein, which is the primary virus that leads to the symptoms of COVID-19. This finding makes it possible for SARS medications can be developed to help treat the Coronavirus.
The smaller colleges chipped in as well, starting in Missouri and Salisbury. The students there have come together and collect healthcare materials from their athletic and academic centers and had PPEs made so they can donate these to their neighboring hospitals. Maryland University is doing its part too.
Providing Accurate Information. Students and teachers are helping provide correct public health details regarding their town in terms of the number of positive cases and recoveries, among others. They gather information from disease specialists and other health professionals and then share these details through social media, cable, the local radio stations, and newspapers.
Photo of scientist talking with teachers.
Source: giss.nasa.gov

Leadership in Universities and Colleges. School administrators must be acknowledged and praised for the way they have led their institutions as well as the several communities that they have served. They are currently struggling with intensely tricky tasks such as:

  • Evaluating and planning the expenses needed to keep the schools and communities financial stable for the long-term
  • Screening the types of demands received daily while pursuing effective learning strategies for students, teachers, and university staff
  • sharing the school’s resources in a way that it helps serve the country during this devastating crisis.

 

 

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