Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC): Specialists from the G9 addressed the return to attendance at Chilean universities

Preventive measures, traceability and mental health, are part of the issues considered by the return to face-to-face attendance of thousands of higher education students throughout Chile, after almost two years of classes and virtual activities as a result of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. COVID-19. This new reality addressed the seminar “The Return to Presence”, where the impact on people of returning physically to the classroom and to work was analyzed.

During the meeting, organized by the Universidad Católica del Norte (UCN) and by the houses of higher education that are members of the G9 universities, Dr. Muriel Ramírez, an academic from the Faculty of Medicine of the UCN and moderator of the conference, highlighted the epidemiological situation that currently exists in the country, with just over 4.2 million cases and 57,375 deaths. She also referred to the vaccination plans, where 88.8% of the population has a booster dose.

“Near contagion is very dangerous, because the shorter the distance, the more concentrated the aerosol is” – Dr. Wehmer Brevis, academic at the Catholic University

The UCN academic led a discussion, where the civil engineer and doctor in fluid dynamics, Dr. Wehmer Brevis, an academic at the Catholic University, described how the mechanisms of contamination and contagion work on university campuses, with special emphasis on avoiding inhalation of virus-carrying aerosols.

“Close contagion is very dangerous, because the shorter the distance, the more concentrated the aerosol is,” explained the specialist, who emphasized the need to keep a distance, the use of masks, air exchange, extraction systems, handling of capacity and ventilation, among other aspects.

Dr. Ana María Moraga, epidemiologist and head of the Medical School at the University of Concepción , addressed the issue of traceability, in a scenario marked by high mobility among young university students. She explained that the institutions have to “provide and reflect” on some subjects, such as traceability, conducting tests in universities, air filtration and rethinking theoretical classes.

Preventive measures, traceability and mental health are part of the issues considered by the return to face-to-face attendance of thousands of higher education students throughout Chile, after almost two years of virtual classes and activities as a result of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. COVID-19.

Added to the above was the contribution of Dr. María Teresa Muñoz, psychologist and doctor in Public Health and vice-rector for Research and Postgraduate Studies at the U. Católica del Maule , who delved into mental health problems and situations of violence.

His presentation included the initiatives developed by universities to deal with the health scenario, as well as aid aimed at caring for, welcoming and referring people in the context of the health situation.

He also highlighted the importance of support networks and coordination with other entities outside the university environment “that can support students and workers in this new reality,” he specified.

“We do not mean to say that the pandemic is over, far from it, and that implies that we have to continue to be responsible with individual and collective self-care” – rector of the UCN, Rodrigo Alda.

The rector of the UCN, Dr. Rodrigo Alda, along with welcoming the participants in the meeting, raised the challenge of recovering daily life. “We do not mean to say that the pandemic is over, far from it, and that implies that we have to continue to be responsible with individual and collective self-care.”

The above was complemented by the rector of the Catholic University of Temuco, Aliro Bórquez , “We want with this seminar that our specialists can contribute to the discussion of new public policies for the development of our country.”

The cycle of virtual seminars of the network aims to contribute to the dissemination and public policies of the country, enriching the broad dialogue, open to the entire community, regarding higher education issues of national interest.

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