Laureate’s COVID-19 Response
Originally posted on Thursday March 19, 2020; Updated Thursday October 29, 2020
How are you responding to the COVID-19 pandemic?
The health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff is our first priority. We continue to follow the guidance of the World Health Organization and local authorities to determine the most appropriate action. We thank our faculty and staff for their flexibility, commitment and resilience as together, we do everything possible to deliver on our promise to each of our students. Back in March, our President and CEO, Eilif Serck-Hanssen, published this letter to Laureate students, and followed up with another letter on June 23 which you can read here.
We communicate with our students, faculty and staff on a regular basis. Everything listed below is a summary of what has been communicated to each of these critical stakeholders over the past weeks.
How did you manage the transition to fully online delivery?
For many years, we invested in building our capacity to deliver high-quality, digital learning experiences. From fully online universities, such as Walden University, to campus-based universities offering a combination of campus-based and online learning environments, Laureate students around the world are familiar with this mode of delivery, and our faculty understand the importance of harnessing the power of technology to create authentic, personal, and innovative learning experiences for our students.
We acted quickly to leverage our existing technologies and learning platforms to serve students outside of the traditional classroom setting. Our universities effectively transitioned all students to an online learning environment and you can read more about how we were able to do this successfully, at scale, here.
What does the COVID-19 pandemic mean for students in your major markets?
This pandemic will result in lasting changes to higher education – many of which have been emerging trends for many years and have been accelerated during this period. This includes providing maximum flexibility to students and using technology to expand and enhance the learning experience, rather than simply moving a class from campus to online.
All Laureate universities are currently focused on planning for a safe return to campus. Most universities will adopt a phased approach, prioritizing classes that require use of labs and other physical resources. Consistent with local regulations and health authority recommendations, we will implement a range of precautions to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff and to accommodate the return of activity on our campuses.
In the U.S., Walden University has 50 years of proven experience in distance education. All classes were already delivered online and are continuing as normal. PhD residencies, field placements and in-person meetings moved to virtual delivery from March.
In Brazil, all students continue to access remote and synchronous delivery.
In Peru, Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC) transitioned to online delivery beginning March 23, Instituto de Educación Superior Cibertec transitioned to online delivery on March 30, and Universidad Privada del Norte (UPN) followed on April 6. All three institutions continue to deliver classes online.
In Mexico, 100% of classes at both Universidad del Valle de México (UVM) and Universidad Tecnológica de México (UNITEC) have been delivered online since March 23.
In Australia, all Torrens University Australia classes continue with online and remote delivery.
How well prepared is Laureate to sustain uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic?
As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, we activated our business continuity plans with the goal of minimizing business disruption and keeping our students, faculty, staff and communities safe and compliant with local health authority and government guidelines. As well as transitioning to fully online delivery, we also effectively moved other essential functions, including student support services and marketing and enrollment to a fully remote environment.
It is still too early to know the full impact of this pandemic. However, we are confident we have a network of high-quality institutions with powerful local brands, strong outcomes, and attractive returns for our students upon graduation. As shared in our 2019 year-end earnings report (which can be found here), we entered 2020 in a strong financial position.
On August 6, we reported our Second Quarter 2020 earnings, including information about how we continue to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read our press release here.
What is the role of education during times like this?
Times like this test all of us. They test our ability to adapt, to respond, to innovate, and to change. What we know for certain is that education has never been more important. We will not get through the challenges we face today without the expertise, technical skills, experience and humanity of an educated workforce. We take very seriously our responsibility to continue graduating students who are equipped to lead us through the most complex challenges of our collective future.
Where can I find additional information?
We will continue to update this webpage regularly. In addition, each of our universities have dedicated webpages related to COVID-19, which are also updated regularly (links are provided below). Should you have further questions, please email us at [email protected].