UTech forges ahead with hands-on dentistry training in spite of COVID-19 pandemic

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The University of Technology’s (Utech) College of Oral Health Sciences, which offers undergraduate courses in medical dentistry, dental nursing therapy and dental hygiene, has forged ahead by putting measures in place to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, while maintaining its commitment to providing students with hands-on, practical experience.

In a press release today, the university noted that directives from the Government of Jamaica in mid-March 2020 which placed restrictions on face-to face teaching and learning has posed challenges for both students and instructors, given Utech’s reputation for hands-on, practical learning.

In surmounting the challenges, Dean, Joint Colleges of Medicine, Oral Health and Veterinary Services, Dr Mark Edwards, explained that among the mitigating strategies being employed by the college has been the utilization of several online platforms for didactic instruction, while dividing larger classes into smaller groups for face to face laboratory and preclinical lessons.

Dr Edwards also noted that some clinical requirements have been consolidated, while consideration is currently being given to students performing several patient-based procedures on models.

In facilitating practicals, the dean advised that, “We have also employed COVID-19 mitigation guidelines, which include the mandatory wearing of masks and face shields, temperature checks, hand sanitization, social distancing while on campus and reporting any health issues promptly.”

He added that there has also been an increased emphasis on enhanced infection control guidelines.

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