A Letter from President Mawad to the LAU Community

LAU President Michel E. Mawad details the measures taken to reopen the campuses.

By Editorial Staff

“In these difficult times of economic downturn and shortage in all daily basic necessities, LAU chose to counter these difficulties with an act of faith in our country, in our beloved community and in our faculty, staff and students,” says Dr. Mawad.

Dear members of the Board of Trustees and all members of the LAU family,

I am happy to inform you that LAU will be open for business tomorrow Monday, 30 August, 2021.

We will start the fall semester with in-person classes on both the Byblos and Beirut campuses following a 4-day weekly schedule (Monday through Thursday) while Fridays will be dedicated to online delivery.

All experiential learning and all exams will be conducted in person and exclusively on campus.

We have prepared the university, as best we can, to accommodate the students who are eager to return to their campus by implementing the following mitigating measures:

  1. We have secured enough diesel fuel to open our campuses, libraries, laboratories, etc. to accommodate our students.
  2. Our diesel fuel reserves will always be maintained to run both campuses and both hospitals for 9 consecutive days at calculated optimal capacity to accommodate our students and patients.
  3. The President’s Cabinet meets every Friday morning to decide on a weekly course of action with at least a 10-day margin to make a decision with regard to maintaining the campuses open.
  4. To facilitate our staff’s and employees’ transportation to and from the campuses, we have made tentative arrangements with a local petrol station in Byblos to procure gasoline for them in the most convenient way possible. We are trying hard to make the same arrangements in the vicinity of Beirut.
  5. We will be providing transportation means for faculty and staff in between the two campuses subject to logistical limitations.
  6. We will be increasing the daily transportation allowance three-fold for all full-time faculty and staff, to mitigate the increasing prices of gasoline.
  7. We have maximized and optimized our dormitory capacity to accommodate those students who wish to live on or near the campuses. Needless to mention all dormitories are at maximum capacity.
  8. We will facilitate as best we can access to campus for those students who live in remote areas of the country, including the re-activation of bus transportation along standardized bus routes.
  9. Students who have justifiable reasons for not coming to campus need to contact their individual instructors for the missed material. Instructors will make the course materials available to them online in a synchronous and/or asynchronous format taking into consideration the frequent power cuts at their homes.
  10. We have aggressively pursued a vaccination campaign aimed at immunizing all LAU constituents: Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and dependent families. I am pleased to inform you that the vaccination campaign has been a great success whereby over 90% of our faculty and staff and over 85% of our students have been successfully vaccinated. This represents herd immunity on our campuses.
  11. In addition to the vaccination campaign, and to mitigate any unnecessary risk of a spread of the COVID-19 virus on the campuses, we will implement strict precautionary public health measures on the campuses such as the mandatory face-masking, reasonable social distancing, hand sanitization, etc.
  12. Non-vaccinated faculty, staff or students will be required to undergo weekly PCR testing and to present a negative result of their test as a condition to access the campus.
  13. For the small contingent of students who are currently outside the country and need a little time to make return arrangements, we have introduced flexible delivery methods to accommodate their needs until they are back in class.
  14. Any faculty and senior academic administrators who were outside the country have returned or are on their way back.

In these difficult times of economic downturn and shortage in all daily basic necessities, LAU chose to counter all these difficulties with an act of faith in our country, in our beloved community and in our faculty, staff and students. Our students are entitled to an education and are asking for it. We simply need to provide it.

Re-opening the campuses in a calculated safe mode, although challenging and perhaps not perfect, represents a deafening scream in the face of the authorities to assert our right to a normal life, our return to a semblance of normalcy and our stubborn clinging to a bright future that we adamantly refuse to forego.

With all my best regards,

Michel Mawad, M.D.