NUL set to welcome freshmen

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By Pulane Chaka

The National University of Lesotho (NUL) today sent out a notice to all admitted first year students that the institution would be holding orientation on the 9th of September and that students are expected to arrive on campus by the 8th.

Amid the ongoing pandemic and concerns for safety, the institution has chosen to have a physical orientation rather than a virtual one, with students coming from all over the country to the Roma campus.

NUL Director of Communications and Marketing, ‘Mamosa Moteetee stated that although students would be convening on school grounds, the university has taken every precaution to ensure the safety of not only the arriving students, but the staff as well.

Moteetee stated that the estimated number of students that would be arriving, based on the number of applicants and number of acceptances, would be anywhere between 1 200 and 1 600 though they were preparing for more.

Moteetee stated that the institution has taken into account the ongoing pandemic and would be splitting students according to their faculties during orientation in order to keep as much physical distance as possible. She further expressed that the school had sanitizer stations and would also be leaving their bathrooms open in case people needed to wash their hands.

Moteetee also explained that the on-campus clinic would be ready and available should there be anything that may appear suspect and that there is an active ‘task team’ on campus.

“We have a COVID task team that is made up of representatives from various departments, academic and administrative. This team was responsible, from the onset, for ensuring that there were sanitization products, that there were thermometers for screening…” she stated.

She further explained that the task team would be monitoring campus activities on a day to day basis in order to “ensure that safety measures were being adhered to especially during the orientation.”

Aside from the sanitizing stations and the open bathrooms, Moteetee explained that the institution had invested in fogging machines for daily disinfection purposes as well as having advised arriving students to have masks, though there will be masks available for purchase on campus.

In regards to international students, the university is aware that they will not be able to physically attend the orientation and although the school would like to have a virtual orientation for this matter, the main concern, according to Moteetee, is connectivity.

Moteetee told KDNews that because there were large quantities of returning students, all their applications would be done online but the first year students needed to be on campus because they are unfamiliar with the schools online library and the institutions intranet.

She further explained that the school had the equipment for virtual interactions with students, as they had been using them since the lockdown with their enrolled students, though they could not use them with first time students.

She also explained that the reasoning behind the school choosing to do a physical orientation is that not all students have access to the basic things needed for online interactions, such as electricity, stable internet connection or smart devices. Other than these basic necessities, she stated that the schools budget would not have allowed for a live all-day online event.

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