University of Las Tunas

“The school is open, students and teachers at work. What's closed is the building, so we do not have to be confused.”

Las Tunas, Cuba.- The message was shared on her Facebook profile by Yithsell Santiesteban Almaguer, dean of the faculty of social sciences and humanities at the University of Las Tunas. In a few hours, it went viral among students and educators with countless signs of support, because that's how it is: the university community has not been paralyzed in times of the COVID-19.

“We have kept in touch through the different media, the faculty has not stopped sending orientations that allow systematizing the objectives and contents of each major and the exercises of completion of the studies will be carried out with the same quality and joy as always. We have been ready, no matter what day or time, to answer any questions, doubts, or concerns of anyone who has requested it," explains the dean.

"Our students in their final years have their place of work assigned, which is an important guarantee. Our teachers are still active, they are self-prepared, they produce teaching materials and study guides, they continue to contribute from science to local development, they advance in their research, and they publish scientific results. Others, brave and worthy of admiration, together with non-teaching workers, work tirelessly in the isolation centers," says the young Ph.D., aware that it is her duty to make the most of this situation.


FEU President Dayron MartínezThere are many ways that the inhabitants of Las Tunas have found to join the hard crusade against the new coronavirus. In the house of high studies the initiatives grow because now more than ever individual performance is essential for the common good, support and creativity become shared missions.

This is what Dayron Martínez, a student of Social Communication and president of the University Student Federation of the institution, proudly tells us. From his home, in the municipality of Camagüey, Florida, he misses his university and all those who are trained there, but he actively collaborates from the social networks in the promotional campaign that takes as its premise the most urgent and repeated phrase in these days of emergency: Stay Home.

He assures that “we do not stand in the same place, the students of my major collaborate in their localities with the media. There are also many young people who serve as volunteer messengers in their communities, bringing medicine and food to the elderly and other vulnerable people. Teachers and students have also been involved in the digitization of the Territory's consumer registry in the near future."

Vice rector Yoenia BarbánFor several days now, another major responsibility has been given to more than 20 students in the field of computer engineering and a similar group of workers in the center's computerization department. They work in the command posts of the four health areas of the main city and in the municipal management of the sector, monitoring the information of the Virtual Researcher, an application for mobile phones designed to detect possible symptoms associated with the presence of SARS-CoV-2, as a complement to the active research that takes place from house to house.

Dr. Yoenia Barbán Sarduy, the first vice-rector of the institution, tells 26Digital that they all received training from professionals at the University of Computer Sciences in recent days on how the software works. Then they were placed in the polyclinics near their residences, in order to facilitate the transfer, in which they have 12-hour shifts.

The community of the university system of Las Tunas shows that this crisis is an opportunity to act in a conscious and different way, on what is in our hands to do. In COVID-19 mode, the largest scientific center in the Balcony of Eastern Cuba will celebrate its 25th anniversary in May and they will not celebrate it as they had hoped. However, those who are part of it have the certainty of new teaching learned and the satisfaction of not being detained in time, but in the midst of a great challenge.