On February 20, Southern University of Science and Technology held a video broadcast of its “First Lesson” of the 2020 spring semester. SUSTech University Council Chairperson Guo Yurong, President Chen Shiyi, School of Medicine Chair Professor Gu Dongfeng, and Second Affiliated Hospital of SUSTech (Shenzhen Third People’s Hospital) President Liu Lei all contributed to the class, which was hosted by University Council Vice Chairperson Li Fengliang. The theme of this semester’s class was “Preventing and Containing the Epidemic with Teamwork Spirit and Confidence.”
The first lesson was broadcast on Tencent’s online learning platform. It was an opportunity for the entire SUSTech community to understand how the leadership of SUSTech has prioritized the well-being of everyone at SUSTech while minimizing disruption to our students’ education. Nearly nine thousand faculty members, students, and staff watched the broadcast at the same time, absorbing the positive energy on offer despite the challenging times.
Chairperson Guo Yurong opened the lesson with a session on “Guidelines by the Local, Provincial and Central Governments and Arrangements by Party Committee of SUSTech in Epidemic Prevention and Control.” She pointed out that the fight against COVID-19 is a battle for the nation, and only by uniting together will China be able to win the war. Chairperson Guo Yurong referred to a range of different measures that were put in place at all levels of government as well as by SUSTech to prevent and control COVID-19. Many teams across SUSTech have worked hard to maintain the health and safety across campus while planning for the future.
Throughout this period, SUSTech has concentrated on its education and research, with faculty and staff maintaining their typically high standards in both teaching and scientific research. The front-line medical workers at the various hospitals affiliated to SUSTech have been resolute in their Hippocratic oath, ensuring the best of medical care in this difficult period.
She reiterated the importance of the spiritual pursuit of all members of the SUSTech community. By developing a global outlook among all staff, faculty, and students, everyone develops a better understanding and responsibility for their place in the world. The incorporation of the humanities and liberal arts ensures that the best engineers, scientists, and doctors that leave SUSTech in the coming years will have greater respect for human life as part of their decision-making process.
Chairperson Guo Yurong stressed working together and trying to defeat COVID-19 using our innovative methods to seize opportunities and achieve new scientific and technological breakthroughs. She closed her section by exhorting the watching audience to remain united in the face of the epidemic, and she looked forward to seeing everyone return to campus soon.
President Chen Shiyi first spoke about the efforts made by the numerous teams across SUSTech to prevent and control COVID-19. He paid tribute to all of those brave SUSTechers, saying that SUSTech was one of the first institutions in Shenzhen to take a proactive approach to the detection of COVID-19, and all departments should continue to take a hands-on approach to their teaching, scientific research and epidemic prevention.
He pointed out that the Second Affiliated Hospital of SUSTech (Shenzhen Third People’s Hospital) has been fighting hard on the front-line against COVID-19. The SUSTech Hospital has also organized a team of 18 doctors and nurses to join a Shenzhen team that is working in Hubei Province. Several scientific research teams across SUSTech are also helping the development of medical science and technology. Many professors are active participants in high-impact scientific research projects of immediate need, reflecting the responsibility of the SUSTech scientific community.
President Chen Shiyi stressed the importance of scientific development in times of adversity. It provides an enormous opportunity for scientific breakthroughs and technological innovations. The SUSTech spirit of “striving for excellence with bold creativity and practical innovation” is imbued within every member of the SUSTech community, as he encouraged students to keep improving their scientific literacy, cultivate better judgment and use their knowledge to contribute to the world.
He recommended that students set up a regular schedule to organize their days of learning from home, to ensure that they make the best use of their time. President Chen Shiyi also suggested spending more time with their family members to enhance their relationships to make sure they had people to talk to during times of difficulty. He also encouraged the SUSTech community to manage their mental and emotional states.
President Chen Shiyi said that SUSTech remains committed to the health and safety of everyone in the SUSTech community by following the expert advice of national, provincial, and municipal health departments as they relate to COVID-19. He closed his presentation by saying that through the joint efforts of everyone at SUSTech, the current epidemic is sure to be defeated.
School of Medicine Chair Professor Gu Dongfeng (and Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences) spoke about “The Epidemic and Relevant Knowledge in Prevention and Public Health.” As an expert on the epidemiology of infectious diseases, he spoke with confidence about the discipline and was able to explain how these viruses occur, develop and spread among populations. Chair Professor Gu Dongfeng also works on developing strategies and measures to prevent, control, and eliminate infectious diseases.
He analyzed classic cases like smallpox, the black plague, cholera, influenza, SARS, and MERS to give the viewers context into the current COVID-19 situation. Chair Professor Gu Dongfeng cited the plague in northeast China of 1910-11 and SARS to compare prevention and control measures of infectious diseases in China. He went into more detail about COVID-19 from an epidemiological perspective, before moving onto the role of technology and big data in the prevention and control of COVID-19.
Finally, he emphasized the protective measures and requirements on campus before asking everyone to respect nature and protect wild animals.
Second Affiliated Hospital of SUSTech (Shenzhen Third People’s Hospital) President Liu Lei welcomed the SUSTech students before updating them on the treatment for COVID-19 and the work done by front-line medical workers. He highlighted the early work done by the Second Affiliated Hospital in researching infectious respiratory diseases in November 2019, which was transferrable to COVID-19. These preparations allowed for the transition of medical equipment and personnel to the COVID-19 response team, with the Second Affiliated Hospital rapidly providing high-impact communication to the wider Shenzhen community.
They took their first patients on January 11, at which point they had kits ready and were able to rest patients immediately. Academician Zhong Nanshan praised the efforts of the Second Affiliated Hospital of SUSTech for the rapid response to COVID-19, as did the various levels of health departments.
The medical workers of the Second Affiliated Hospital of SUSTech have taken a long-term view of this battle and worked with SUSTech to conduct high-level research guided by clinical practices. The teamwork on display between SUSTech and the Second Affiliated Hospital has seen high-quality treatment. Liu Lei encouraged SUSTech students to devote themselves to medical care and contribute their youthfulness to the health of humanity.
University Council Vice Chairperson Li Fengliang acted as the host throughout the eighty-minute class. He pointed out the measures that SUSTech had taken to prioritize the wellbeing of everyone at SUSTech while minimizing disruption to the education and research activities that take place on campus. This first lesson sought to provide students with the opportunity to cultivate their scientific spirit, rational judgment and critical thinking ability through this challenging period. He referred to the letter sent to the SUSTechers who stayed in Huibei province from Chairperson Guo Yurong and President Chen Shiyi, reminding them to be brave, wise, and compassionate.
He encouraged the entire SUSTech community to remain confident in the face of adversity and seize scientific and teaching opportunities from COVID-19 to win the battle.
Proofread ByXia Yingying
Photo ByZhang Xiaoyan