Students stranded in campus get to express themselves in online session

By Dayang Nurramizah

GOMBAK, 22 April 2020: As coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic sweeps across the world it is causing widespread concern, fear and stress, creating uncertainty that affected everyone. The move to contain the pandemic through the imposition of the movement control order (MCO) by the Malaysian government since 18 March has also affected IIUM students who are still stranded in their Mahallah in campus here.

Concerns for IIUM students have led the Communication Department and Communication Students’ Association (COSA) to take the initiative to create a WhatsApp group for all communication students stranded in campus where they can get in touch with one another to plan for activities.

Recently an online session involving communication students with their lecturers led by the Head of Communication Department, Dr. Zeti Azreen Ahmad was held. The session was also attended by Deputy Dean (Student Development and Community Engagement), Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences (KIRKHS), Dr. Mohd Noh Abdul Jalil; Deputy Dean (Academic and Industrial Linkages) of KIRKHS, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Aini Maznina A. Manaf; the advisor of COSA, Dr. Nur Shakira Mohd Nasir, and other lecturers of Communication Department

During the session, the students were allowed to ask relevant questions related to their concerns regarding the pandemic, academic related problems, and matters concerning their stay at the Mahallah.

The following were issues that touched their hearts and were shared during the online session:

1. Food Concern 

We know that every IIUM student who is staying in campus during the MCO period receives free food on a two to three times a day. However, some students felt they cannot eat some foods because of allergy. Some felt that the food served does not cater to their taste. Responding to the issue, Dr. Zeti suggested for students to go for other alternatives such as Grab Food and few other cafes still operating in IIUM. Dr. Zeti advised the students to buy food from such cafes. 

2. Grab Food Issue

Students were unhappy with Grab Food services as they were not allowed to deliver foods inside the campus. There is a misunderstanding regarding that issue because so far the delivery services are still allowed to deliver operate inside the campus as long as the food is delivered by motorcycle riders and students observe their daily cleanliness such as regularly washing their hands before and after contact and also wearing mask if they feel unwell.

3. Going Home

Most of the residents especially local students are concerned if they can be allowed to go home after the third phase of MCO ended. Dr. Noh replied that the authorities are considering to allow students to leave for their home towns or kampung subject to certain procedures being observed to ensure social distancing and avoiding crowding in public places. Nevertheless they need to wait for the official announcement which will be communicated by the Office for Communication, Advocacy, and Promotion (OCAP). Dr. Noh quoted the latest news update as carried by Astro Awani.

“About 159 communication students are currently stranded in campus. A total of 100 are international students while the rest are local students. This data is based on students who filled up the Google form circulated in all communication groups. The actual number is expected to be more,” according to Dr. Nur Shakira, the advisor of COSA.

The session was attended by more than 40 students, both local and international. Several issues are expected to be discussed further. Other than the online meeting, the Communication Department and COSA are still discussing on activities that they intend to carry out to help with the students who are confined in the mahallah.  

Students were advised to be prepared with the new normal because even though the MCO might be lifted they still need to maintain social distancing at all time. Moreover, students were also told to make full use of their time by joining online courses or write feature stories for IIUMToday. ***

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