COVID-19 (BCP Issue No. 11: UTB Circular 03/2020)

Following the current situation of COVID-19 outbreak, and as an additional measure to minimise the risk of potential COVID-19 spread in the campus, as well as to safeguard the well-being of our students and staff, the University Senate on 26th March 2020 has approved the following recommendations of the Academic Session Committee (Ad-Hoc) and at the School/Faculty Board level on Tuesday, 24th March 2020 and Wednesday, 25th March 2020 respectively.

  1. Online Teaching: The suspension of face-to-face teaching and learning for students on all programmes is extended from Monday, 30th March 2020 until further notice. Teaching and learning will still be continued online, and remote instructions will be provided to the students.
  2. Alternative Assessment: There will be no on-campus examination. All assessments are to be converted to 100% coursework.

Other related matters:

  • All students’ work to be submitted online;
  • Final date of examination is fixed. There will be no extension or shift of exams date for all levels of students. This is also to avoid delay for the Final Year students to compete their study;
  • Individual lecturers to set their own submission deadline. The final date of marks submission will be sent out by Examination office;
  • Assignment/coursework can start now so that students will not be overwhelmed; and
  • There will be no changes in the Degree classification.

 

3.   Work-From-Home: All lecturers will work from home on weekly basis.

In addition, we wish to inform that UTB is also taking other precautionary actions as per below until further notice:

  1. To postpone all activities organised by UTB that involves gathering large number of people and public service for the time being;
  2. To ensure the cleanliness of the University by cleaning and disinfecting the vicinity of the campus;
  3. To perform checks on body temperature and provide face masks and hand sanitisers;
  4. To exercise/practice social distancing and less interactions to limit unnecessary exposures;
  5. To arrange with host organisations for students on the ExperiencePlus to work from home; and
  6. To restrict access to the campus including laboratories except for group design projects, final year projects and other research projects as recommended by the respective supervisors only. Students must observe the current access procedures put in place by the University and the respective rules and regulations for laboratory use of the respective Faculty/School. Prior permission must be obtained from BCP Team via email: utb.bcp@utb.edu.bn

BCP Issue no.10: Work From Home (WFH)

The University has produced Guidelines for Working From Home (WFH) in view of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  This is part of the University’s Business Continuity Plan and in line with the Prime Minister’s Circular number 06/2020 issued on 16th March 2020, paragraph 1.2 on flexible working arrangements. Our University’s Business Continuity Plan is made available in our intranet. We are in Level 5, Countrywide crisis in view of the COVID-19 disease.

WFH means performing work outside campus following the normal working hours that is from 7:45 am to 12:15 pm and 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Please be informed that WFH is NOT CONSIDERED AS A LEAVE.  The venue of WFH is the respective staff place of residence.  When staff WFH, they are strictly required to adhere to the working hours.

Staff who fall under the following categories and have declared their medical condition to the respective Assistant Registrar/Head of Section are considered as vulnerable staff and they can be given special consideration to WFH on a daily basis.

(A)  60 years old and above

(B)  Having underlying medical conditions e.g. respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease and cancer; and

(C)  Expecting mothers.

Should the vulnerable staff opt to come to work on campus, the staff should fill in a self-declaration form, see attached, and to take necessary precautions and observe the preventive measures as prescribed by the Ministry of Health.

As an additional measure to minimise the risk of potential COVID-19 spread in the workplace, the University also allows non-vulnerable staff to WFH but on rotation. The rotation will be on a week-by-week basis except for certain jobs that require some staff to be on campus daily, where half-day shifts could be considered. It is the responsibility of the respective Programme Leader/line manager to schedule the rotation in consultation with the staff members. The recommendation from the Programme Leader/line manager should be approved by the respective Dean/Director/Head of Section endorsed by the Vice-Chancellor. The objective is to reduce the number of staff working on campus at one time to 50% during the period that WFH is being implemented.

You may have received the week-by-week schedule (by rotation) from your Programme Leader/line manager up to a total of 50% WFH including the vulnerable staff. The recommended lists by programme area within your Faculty/School should add up to 50%.

The first group to WFH will start tomorrow, Thursday, 26th March 2020. In the event that suspension of face-to-face teaching is extended for another two week, this first group will continue to WFH from Monday, 30th March 2020 to Saturday, 4th April 2020. The second group will then start their WFH from Monday, 6th April to Saturday, 11th April.


BCP Issue No. 9: Secondary Contact and Self-Declaration Procedures

As of 16 March 2020, the Ministry of Health has announced 4 new cases that have been confirmed with COVID-19 bringing the total number of cases in Brunei Darussalam to 54 people. 3 of these new cases are categorised as the second generation of the Kuala Lumpur tabligh cluster. These are individuals who were infected indirectly due to being close contacts with the attendees of the Kuala Lumpur tabligh mass gathering. There is also a single imported case. 

SELF-DECLARATION PROCEDURES

With reference to Paragraph 3 of the Circular from  the Prime Minister’s Office ref. 06/2020 (SK JPM 06/2020), civil servants (including UTB staff) are required to declare the following to the Registrar and Secretary at the earliest convenience:

3.1 If the officer or staff is confirmed infected by COVID-19;

3.2 If the officer or staff is the close contact of anyone who has been confirmed infected by COVID-19 to the extent he knows;

3.3 If the officer or staff is the secondary contact of anyone who has been exposed to the close contact to the extent he knows; and

3.4 If the officer or staff or any of his/her close contacts has just returned to Brunei Darussalam from overseas, especially from affected countries.

Civil servant (including UTB staff) who fails to make a declaration or give a false declaration will be liable to current legal action.

In addition, with reference to Paragraph 4 of the same circular (SK JPM 06/2020), the precautionary measures for officer and staff who has been exposed to a confirmed infected case of COVID-19 and individual who is suspected of or possibly being infected by COVID-19 are as follows:

 

IF EXPOSED TO AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IS CONFIRMED INFECTED BY COVID-19:

4.1 Officer  or  staff who has been exposed to an individual who is confirmed infected by COVID-19 is the close contact and required to self-isolate and to undergo COVID-19 test as directed by the Ministry of Health.

4.2 Period of self-isolation will not be deducted from annual leave entitlement.

IF EXPOSED TO AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IS SUSPECTED OR POSSIBLY INFECTED BY COVID-19:

4.3 Officer or staff who has been exposed to the close contact (a contact of an individual who has been confirmed infected by COVID-19) is a secondary contact. As a precautionary measure, the Permanent Secretary at the relevant Ministry should instruct the officer and staff who is the secondary contact to undergo self-isolation as an early action, pending confirmation of the result of the COVID-19 swab test for the close contact. The next course of action will depend on the result of the COVID-19 swab test on the said close contact and in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s guidelines.

The officer or staff or relevant ministry should contact Health Advice Line 148 to seek further instructions from the Ministry of Health and if during the Self-Isolation, they have symptoms of fever or respiratory infection such as coughs, cold and breathing difficulty.

4.4 Period of self-isolation will not be deducted from annual leave entitlement.

If any civil servant including UTB staff fail to obey the quarantine order, self-isolation, fail to make a declaration or make a false declaration that could endanger the public, then the authorities will take legal action based on current laws.

The Circulars from the Prime Minister’s Office ref. 01/2020, 03/2020 and 05/2020 are cancelled. The Circular from the Prime Minister’s Office ref. 06/2020 is effective from the date of its issuance on 16 March 2020 and will be updated from time to time according to the latest requirements and developments.

Reference

Press Release Ministry of Health ref. KK/PR/2 dated 16 March 2020

Circular from the Prime Minister’s Office ref. 06/2020 dated 16 March 2020

 

BCP Issue No. 8: Temperature Screening and Leaving the State

TEMPERATURE SCREENING:

The UTB BCP Team would like to inform that currently temperature screening is centrally done at the Phase 2 Entrance Lobby UTB for all staff, students, contract workers and visitors. In the near future, temperature screening will also be carried out at other locations as follows:

Temperature Screening Location Category 
Security House Contract worker, visitor
Library Staff, student
CEB Building, Phase 3 Staff, student
Faculty of Engineering Lab Student

 

Those with temperature reading above 37.5 degree Celsius will NOT be allowed into the UTB premises and will be advised to call Ministry of Health’s Health Advise Line 148 (operating 24 hours). They will be assessed over the phone.

LEAVING THE STATE:

With reference to the Ministry of Health’s Press Release  Ref: KK/PR/2 dated 15 March 2020, all citizens and residents of Brunei Darussalam (including expatriate staff and family members) are restricted from leaving the country, except in certain circumstances such as undergoing urgent medical care, attending court hearings or resuming study abroad.

Requests for permission to leave the country are subject to the approval of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Any application in this regard may be addressed by email to travelapplication@jpm.gov.bn by including scanned copies of the relevant documentation. For guidelines and application form, please visit the PMO’s website, http://www.pmo.gov.bn/GFECA/Home.aspx.

Thank you for your attention and cooperation.

Reference: Press Release Ministry of Health ref. KK/PR/2 dated 15th March 2020


 

BCP Issue Number 7

Please find attached UTB Circular Reference Number: 02/2020 for your attention.

We wish to inform you that the university management is closely monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 and as the situation continues to change rapidly, our top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of everyone on campus. We would like to inform that the university management has decided to suspend face-to-face teaching and learning for students on taught programmes for at least two weeks starting from Monday, 16th March to Sunday, 29th March 2020. 

However, teaching and learning will still be continued online and remote instructions will be provided to the students. UTB will be utilising its Online Education Platforms (OEP) and other non-face-to-face delivery methods of teaching and learning.

It is important to note and understand that we are not closing the university but changing, our methods of engagement with students considering the current COVID-19 situation. The university remains open and operational with appropriate measures to protect the health of its community.

We have also issued a press release relating to the above.

Thank you for your kind attention and cooperation to keep our campus free of COVID-19 disease.


BCP Issue Number 6

Our Registrar and Secretary’s Office has issued a circular relating to COVID-19 disease yesterday to all students and staff, see attached.

We wish to remind not to panic and continue to maintain the following good practices at all times as a precautionary measure:

  • Maintain a high level of personal hygiene;
  • Practice frequent hand washing with soap and clean water or using hand sanitiser (especially before handling food or eating, after going to toilet, or after coughing or sneezing);
  • Wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms such as a cough or runny nose;
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue paper when coughing or sneezing, and dispose the soiled tissue paper in the rubbish bin immediately;
  • BE RESPONSIBLE if you have symptoms of infections, seek immediate medical attention and rest at home and avoid visiting public places and attending public events. 

Students and Staff are not allowed to travel to the affected countries listed in Category A and advised to postpone non-essential travel to the affected countries listed in Category B and C until further notice, as previously mentioned in our BCP Issue number 1 to 5.

Thank you for your kind attention and cooperation to keep our campus free of COVID-19 disease.


BCP ISSUE NO 5 : DECLARATION FORMS

With reference to the recent Mid-Semester break and in light of the reported first case of COVID-19 in Brunei Darussalam, we would like to seek your co-operation to fill in the Declaration Form: Returning From Overseas for those who have travelled outside of Brunei especially to the affected countries in the past two (2) weeks, as part of our monitoring and to stop and limit the spread of the COVID-19 disease as per the link below:

https://forms.gle/iuuKwNGRMqTbeNfs8

On a similar note,  you are required to fill in the attached Declaration Form: Full Compliance and Visiting Countr(ies) at High Risk of Transmission of Covid-19, prior to travelling abroad.   Your are kindly advised to observe the advice stated on the first page of the declaration form.  The duly completed form should be submitted to the Staff and Students Centre, prior to your departure.

Upon returning from your leave, please also fill in the Declaration Form: Returning Form Overseas for those who travel  outside of Brunei especially to the affected countries, as part of our monitoring and to stop and limit the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

The BCP Team would like to remind all staff and students to avoid any non-essential travels to countries at high risk of spreading the COVID-19 infection. 


 

BCP Issue No. 4: COVID-19

the Ministry of Health, Brunei Darussalam has announced the first COVID-19 case after a 53-years old Bruneian man tested positive for the coronavirus yesterday, 9th March 2020.

The BCP Team would like to remind all UTBians not to panic and continue to maintain the following good practices at all times as a precautionary measure:

  • Maintain a high level of personal hygiene;
  • Practice frequent hand washing with soap and clean water or using hand sanitiser (especially before handling food or eating, after going to toilet, or after coughing or sneezing);
  • Wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms such as a cough or runny nose;
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue paper when coughing or sneezing, and dispose the soiled tissue paper in the rubbish bin immediately;
  • BE RESPONSIBLE if you have symptoms of infections, seek immediate medical attention and rest at home and avoid visiting public places and attending public events. 

All UTBians are not allowed to travel to the affected countries listed in Category A and advised to postpone non-essential travel to the affected countries listed in Category B and C especially during the upcoming school holidays.

Staff and students who have to make the trip abroad are required to fill in the respective Declaration Forms provided by the Ministry of Education, which can be obtained from the Staff and Students Centre (SSC), UTB. The completed form must be submitted to the Staff and Students Centre before travelling. The staff / student is required to report to the Staff and Students Centre immediately upon returning to the University. This covers both official and personal travels.

As of 4th March 2020, all countries affected by the COVID-19 infection have been divided into the following four (4) categories and action to be taken are as below in reference to the Ministry of Health Press Release reference KK/PR/2 dated 5th March 2020 and the Prime Minister’s Office Circular number 05/2020 dated 7th March 2020:

 

CATEGORY ACTION TO BE TAKEN
Category A: Countries showing sustained spread of infection. Includes Mainland China, Italy, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Korea For citizens and permanent residents of Brunei Darussalam returning from the countries listed in Category A, they are required to undergo SELF-ISOLATION for 14 days upon arrival.

 

Self-isolation means isolating oneself from joining any activities involving the general public and is prohibited from leaving the house or receiving guests or going to public places during the isolation period, except for getting medical treatment.

 

The 14-days period will not be deducted from the annual leave entitlement, subject to approval from the Ministry of Health.

 

Category B: Countries showing limited infection but large-scale clusters have been reported. Includes: France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Singapore

 

Category C: Countries showing local spread of infection. Includes Macao SAR, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vietnam

 

Whereas individuals arriving from countries listed in Category B and Category C are required to undergo SELF-MONITORING without having to self-isolate themselves from others.

 

Self-monitoring means monitoring one’s health for 14 days without isolation and if symptoms of high fever or signs of respiratory infection develop such as dry cough or shortness of breath, immediate medical attention should be sought at any health centres.

Category D: Countries that report isolated cases or imported cases. Includes: Other countries that are affected.

 

 

Anyone who requires confirmation on the self-isolation can contact the Disease Control Division, Ministry of Health at 2380316 or 2380318 during office hours.

 

For further information, members of the public can contact the Health Advice Line at 2381380 and 2381383 during office hours or Talian Darussalam 123 after office hours. For the latest updates on the COVID-19 infection, the public can visit the Ministry of Health’s website at www.moh.gov.bn/SitePages/COVID-19.aspx


 

BCP Issue No 3: Situation of COVID-19 in the Republic of Korea

Below are for UTBians’ information and attention on the situation of COVID-19 in the Republic of Korea  (ref. KPE/HE/S17/2016/J5 dated 26 February 2020):

  • There is an increase from “orange” alert level (Level 3) to “red” alert level (Level 4 – the highest level) in Korea. The increase is due to a rapid spike of infection at present.
  • Cases have been reported across Korea (involving 17 cities / regions on 24 February 2020).
  • Almost all places where Brunei students are residing, have reported COVID-19 cases.
  • ​Some of the institutions are still on holiday or the semester break has been extended.

In this regard, the Ministry of Education has arranged for all Bruneian students in Korea to return home. They will be required to undergo self-isolation for 14 days upon arrival in Brunei Darussalam. Meanwhile, students who are studying or will study in Korea but still in Brunei Darussalam are advised to postpone their travel to Korea.

The BCP Team would like to advise all UTBians (staff and students) again to postpone any travels to Korea. For individuals who have returned or are returning to Brunei Darussalam from Korea are required to undergo self-isolation for 14 days upon arrival in Brunei Darussalam. 

With reference to Paragraph 1.3 of the JPM’s Circular Ref. 03/2020, the BCP Team would like to remind UTBians to avoid any non-essential travels to countries at high risk of spreading the COVID-19 infection

Reference: Memorandum from the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health ref. KK/SUT/M:10/2013 dated 25 February 2020 via memorandum from the Permanent Secretary (Higher Education), Ministry of Education ref. KPE/HE/S17/2016/J5 dated 26 February 2020 that we received on 03 March 2020.

Thank you for your attention and cooperation.​


 

We would like to share information with you on the SOPs​ and work flow charts for the COVID-19 infection control measures that we received from the Ministry of Education.

RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES:

Religious activities such as recitation of Doa Tolak Bala and reading of the zikir to pray for the prosperity and security of Brunei Darussalam, and for the country’s and our safety, primarily against infectious disease, will be held every morning before classes, led by Ustaz Awang Mohd Fazalley bin Haji Hidup, Head of Ugama Unit, UTB.

 

WHAT TO DO IF STAFF / STUDENTS BECOME ILL:

Infographics and printed materials from the Ministry of Health are attached for reference.

Reminder:

  • Keep the numbers of staff attending to the ill staff / student to a minimum and they should wear masks and disposable gloves.
  • Please report the names and contact details of all persons who have been into contact with the ill staff / student to me and Puan Hajah Noorul Farizalina as Co-Secretary of BCP Team.

COVID-19 MAP and Affected Countries:

Here is link of the COVID-19 map https://cna.asia/wuhanvirusmap for your reference. Again, we would like to remind and advise everyone to avoid any non-essential travel to those affected countries.

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