Last year, on March 15, 2020, the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities (CRUCH) made the decision to officially close the classrooms of our universities in order to protect our students and staff from the imminent threat of COVID-19.
Literally no one in the whole wide world knew what was coming, and almost a year after that moment, we are still experiencing the effects of the virus that continues to destroy families, economies and our liberties.
We are in the middle of a new application and enrollment process in Chilean higher education, and I have been thinking a lot about our young people these days; about the students who entered in 2020 and those who are entering university this year.
This situation of uncertainty is not the same for people who already have a life, with achieved goals and a certain amount of life experience, as it is for entire generations of young people and children who do not know what is going to happen, what the future will be like, and what awaits them, considering that, besides of the typical teenage problems, these young people are also going through a pandemic.
Older generations know that the younger ones are very advanced regarding this digital world of virtual interaction – unlike us, who had to rethink our way to communicate and interact and to understand that everything is different – but even though, I think that university life these days is very far from what it should be.
In this context of abnormality, and being fully aware of the situation, at UFRO we have taken – and we will continue to do so – all the precautions to ensure the well-being of our students: they are the center of our work, the university would not exist without these young students who get trained as professionals and grow as a person each day. Therefore, all our support programs for them are still available, because we must take care of them. We want their start in higher education to be a pleasant memory, and we want them to get a training of high quality and excellence during these challenging times. For that reason, I want to invite all of us who are part of the university to be flexible, understanding, empathetic, patient and aware of the world we are living in.