News , University life
photograph of two university students handling liquids

Photography: Courtesy of Laura Clavijo and Alejandra Rojas

The beginning of a weekend in March 2020 and the euphoria to rest, became the latent and unexpected event that today continues to haunt the life of the university community of CES University, the academic alternation.

The mandatory quarantine, decreed in the midst of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, came without prior notice to the students and teachers of the institution. One day everything became different and face-to-face events such as classes, degrees and oaths became virtual.

In the case of Laura Daniela Clavijo Páez, a ninth-semester student in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, who had already bought her dress and organized a dinner with her friends, she went to “burn clothes”The decision to suspend the promise ceremony in March 2020. However, 6 months later he managed to realize his dream as a professional this time through virtuality.

Although her promise was postponed and her laboratory practices canceled, as a pharmaceutical chemist, Laura adopted a part of her house to continue her research for a degree project, where she adapted a kind of garden and planted her mushrooms. Every time he needed he would light two lighters and simulate the laboratory environment for his projects.

“In my alternation I get up to virtual class at 6:00 am where they are usually theory subjects. I leave before class because I have to attend the IPS CES Sabaneta laboratory. That's where I do all the practical part. The alternation gives me time to distribute my spaces between the theoretical and the practical, I like it, although all my colleagues cannot attend the laboratories, ” said Laura.

To attend the practice spaces or the university, there are strict biosafety protocols, with the application of methodologies such as'peak and faculty', where students and teachers attend the venues for days; the implementation of the platformCES takes care of meto carry out epidemiological control at the entrance of the headquarters of all internal and external personnel; All this to avoid crowds and allow only one capacity in each of its headquarters of more than 38%.

From the camera to the classroom ...

The situation of María Alejandra Rojas Hincapié, a third semester student of Biomedical Engineering, is different from that of Laura. Since she entered the U as a primipara, she only attended two months in person.

When CES University decided to implement alternation, María Alejandra felt satisfied knowing that she could attend U on Fridays and meet her friends for a calculus class.

“Being in total virtuality I suffered because I could not concentrate in my house, the noise was sometimes uncomfortable to study. I also suffer with the internet when it falls in the area and I lose explanations. On the other hand, in the presence I have the opportunity to concentrate more ”, commented María Alejandra.

Classmates who leave their microphones open in class and begin with their songs are some of the humorous events that virtuality has left to María Alejandra. Also going from the camera to the presence, led her to ignore and meet again her teachers and classmates, where the capacity of her classroom is 10 people and they must wear their mask all the time.

“It's a new world when I get to U, where I don't know the face of the teacher who teaches the class or the classmate who talks to me on the chat. I am not the only one that happens, teachers also feel confusion when they arrive at the classroom, without knowing who we are because they have not seen us, "she said.

From virtuality to practice

For Natalia Córdoba Álzate, an eighth-semester dentistry student, virtuality was a “cold water flushing”. She was to start her clinics in the sixth semester. These are undergraduate subjects where the patient's oral care is simulated before moving on to professional practice with the real patient. However, due to biosecurity measures of the pandemic they were suspended.

However, the panorama changed with the passage of biosecurity measures and the behavior of the pandemic. Natalia is currently in alternation at IPS CES Sabaneta doing her practice in Dentistry.

"I see all the theoretical classes virtual and I like it because I don't necessarily need to go to U. I have more time to plan other things. I started my alternation when I went to the clinic for my practice. Here I see my colleagues with whom I am distracted, apart from the fact that I also have to attend to patients and fill the void of those subjects that were canceled in the sixth semester ”, he said.

Finally, Natalia considers that alternation is a model that favors students in the last semester for the good management of their time in theoretical classes and practices.

Currently more than 1,200 students attend in person practice centers, laboratories, rotations, all in the midst of strict biosafety protocols at the University and its headquarters.

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