Despite having been indefinitely closed down by the Government, Learning Institutions have been witnessed to be on the receiving end as far as dealing with the effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic is concerned. Both the Administration, Teaching and Non-Teaching personnel were in one way or another caught off-guard as they struggled to put measures in place to adjust to the new norm. It is therefore evident that there has been great need to develop and implement various strategies to help the University fit in the new existing normal of Covid-19.
It is due to this that the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences (CAVS) effectively stepped up by providing appropriate initiatives and responses which have seen promotion of measures needed to curb the spread of Covid-19 Pandemic. Sensitization, Online Counseling, Partnership, creation of a hotline, utilization of digital platforms, mapping and identification of the students were just but among the initiatives that the College Management came up with to promote this.
As a way of sensitizing the masses, the College has used respective Class Representatives to reach out to support groups such as Student County Representatives, “Nyumba Kumi” students’ initiative and UoN Student Welfare groups such as ‘Comrades Arena’ from Kisumu. This has been effective as the Support Groups have indeed continued to spread the word to the masses. The idea has also worked well with Online Counselling since the Student Counsellor and support groups like the Peer Counsellors have managed to reach out to a number of students and addressed the social challenges they are faced with during this pandemic period. Most of the counselling sessions have been on one-on-one basis while others through groups.
Additionally, creation of partnerships with stakeholders such as the Kenya Red Cross Society and other Individuals have also been effective to the course. This has facilitated mobilization of resources by providing necessities such as minimum monetary donations and foodstuffs to the affected students. A Hotline has also been established to enhance communication and enable efficient interactions between the three channels of communication, that is; The Student Counselor with Class Representatives, the Principal and Dean’s direct reach to Students and the Student Representatives with the students.
The College has also made good use of the available Communication Platforms to effectively enhance Student-Staff interactions within and outside the College. Google meet, Zoom, WhatsApp groups, emails, text messages are just but among the few platforms that have necessitated virtual communication among the two units. The platforms have also been used to assist in identifying eligible needy students and also providing counselling services to the existing ones.