Covid-19 maintains influencing various areas of life in distinct geographic regions. Kurdistan Region has experienced the influences of this disease regarding the process of education. The authorities have been keen to contain these influences and took several measures towards this end. Universities were temporarily closed at the early stages of the outbreak of the Coronavirus1–3. With their opening afterwards, the educational process witnessed a shift. Instead of classical face-to-face education, digital learning became the dominant norm for a period. The process of education at the college of medicine in the University of Zakho became a hybrid process of these 2 modes temporarily4. The present article aims at illustrating the potential non-reporting of the Covid-19 cases by medical students at the University of Zakho during the fall term 2021/2022.
Face-to-face reopening of universities in the Kurdistan Region started with a public concern about the spread of the Covid-19. The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research issued health guidelines in relation with the reopening process of the universities. A major point of concern was associated with the commitment of students to the implementation of the health guidelines5. Administrative units at the University of Zakho instructed medical students to closely follow the health guidelines for the sake of the containment of the Covid-19. They implemented a mechanism that allowed students who tested positive for this disease to take temporary study leave. None of the students submitted to the administrative units a request for the study leave due to the infection during the fall term 2021/2022 (IA Naqid, personal communication, February 25, 2022). According to this procedure, this article argues that the students potentially did not report cases of Covid-19 during this period.
Several variables provide an explanatory power for this circumstance. The very nature of the Covid-19 constitutes one of them. The old generally present strong symptoms of the disease. In association with the young medical students at the University of Zakho, symptoms of Covid-19 could very well be mild6. The campus of the university witnessed the launch of campaigns concerning the administration of the vaccination against the disease. These campaigns could have encouraged the staff of the college, the lecturers, and the students to take the vaccine against the Covid-19. The rate of the disease was accordingly influenced. A third illustrating factor regarding the absence of reported cases by the medical students at the University of Zakho was the necessary knowledge that they had about the Covid-19. The students were mainly armed with information about the symptoms of the disease, its effects, and its prevention. This background appeared to have motivated them to behave reasonably about Covid-19. The students were mainly committed to the implementation of protective procedures against the disease. They wore medical masks, practiced physical distancing, and followed hygienic measures. It also deserves to be mentioned that the general rate of Covid-19 in the Kurdistan Region during the last months of 2021 was low. This was positively linked with the rate of the disease in universities given the inevitable interaction between students and the wider population of the region7.
The outbreak of the Coronavirus has influenced the educational process in universities in Kurdistan Region. In response to this circumstance, the authorities in the region took measures to allow education to proceed smoothly. In the case of the medical students at the University of Zakho, the fall term 2021/2022 seemed to be a successful experience in relation with the containment of the disease. This article attempted to illustrate this experience to contribute to the knowledge on the containment of Covid-19. It demonstrated that an availability of recommended guidelines combined with a personal commitment to their effective implementation has a positive correlation with the containment of Covid-19.
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The author declares that there is no financial conflict of interest with regard to the content of this report.
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Ahmed Ameen Mosa.
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