By Minerva Newman
DUMAGUETE CITY – Silliman University continues to provide temporary housing for Silliman University Medical Center (SUMC) staff, even as it acknowledged the help of academic units and donors in helping ensure the welfare and safety of students and entire community amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
SU President Dr. Betty Cernol-McCann said that Vernon Hall, a regular dormitory of the University is now being used as temporarily shelter for hospital staff after their duty. A total of 58 beds have been made available, and there are currently about 10-12 nurses temporarily staying in Vernon Hall since April 6.
“We thank Silliman University for responding to our request to allow us to use Vernon Hall as a place where our staff can be temporarily housed in a convenient, safe, and secure place so that they can be ready always to be at the frontlines in this war against COVID-19,” Silliman University Medical Center Foundation Inc. (SUMCFI) President Roberto Montebon said.
Montebon said that healthcare workers at the forefront of this pandemic need to be supported even as they keep their enthusiasm and energy to protect the community and the public.
Many cities have responded to this global situation by providing dormitories, hotels, gymnasiums, etc. as temporary housing facilities to healthcare workers for free. “We are grateful that SU responded to our call,” he added.
SUMCFI housekeeping staff are now assigned to do regular cleaning at Vernon Hall in coordination with the dormitory manager.
Meanwhile, Silliman’s various academic units and other donors have continued to contribute for the provisions of protective personal equipment (PPEs), medical supplies, and masks for the front liners, while looking after the welfare and safety, as well as providing food and financial assistance to stranded students due to nationwide lockdown.
The College of Nursing, Civic Welfare Training Service with the Office of Community Engagement and Service-Learning, and Nutrition and Dietetics Department distributed face masks and face shields to front liners in Dumaguete City while the University’s Chemistry Department also produced ethyl alcohol sanitizers that were distributed to medical front liners to help in addressing the shortage of disinfectants in the market.
McCann said that Outstanding Sillimanian Dr. Mariano Lao was one of the early responders with his extra contribution of P30,000 that aided the University in providing one-month food support each to four students and P500 outright cash assistance to 21 students.
The (25) students, currently staying in four dormitories, were not able to go back to their hometowns due to the lockdown imposed by the local government last March 15.
The Silliman Alumni Association, Inc. (SAAI) Dumaguete Chapter also donated P72,000 to help augment the food needs of 40 Silliman University student dormitory residents, stranded in the course of the pandemic. The amount will cover food for the period April 4 – 12, 2020 as well as pay for experienced outsourced personnel to take care of the food preparation.
Dr. McCann said the University received instructions to repurpose the Samuel A. and Aurora S. Malayang and Family Emergency Loan Fund to Support Working Students towards support for stranded students.
Thus, students who were left stranded in Dumaguete, may avail of interest free emergency loan in the amount of P2,000 payable in one year. As of April 2, five students have already availed of the loan.
In response to the University’s call for donations for its displaced outsourced personnel, Dr. Lao also sent an additional P30,000 which helped cover the preparation of food packs for the 188 outsourced janitorial, utility, maintenance and cafeteria crew who could not be at work due to the COVID 19 outbreak.
Community outreach has also been conducted together with the Silliman University’s Continuing Calamity Response Program (CCRP) thru the Office of Student Services (OSS) and in coordination with SU Church distributing food packs to 150 families of Barangay Looc, Dumaguete City and 30 food packs to 30 displaced security guards assigned in the University including two (2) OSS janitors, McCann bared.
McCann assured the public that the University would continue its efforts to help stranded students, the displaced outsourced workers, the front liners and the community as she expressed her gratitude to all the donors who continue to support the efforts of Silliman University.