We are currently entering a critical period in the prevention and control of the COVID-19 epidemic. Based on a series of important instructions given by General Secretary Xi Jinping for epidemic prevention and control and the work arrangement of the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Party Committee of the Open University of China (OUC) attaches great importance to epidemic prevention and control work, and is actively implementing various prevention and control requirements. The university is concerned for the health of its 100,000 teachers and more than 4 million students and their families across China, in particular, teachers, students, and their families in branches in Hubei and Wuhan.

In order to gather collective strength and work together to overcome difficulties, the OUC held a special video conference on the prevention and control of COVID-19 on 30 January 2020. The meeting allocated the epidemic prevention and control work for the OUC organisation system and explained the enrolment, teaching, and examination work for the new semester. Leaders of the OUC, responsible personnel from all departments, Party secretaries and presidents of all branches and colleges, as well as the leaders in charge of teaching in the university, and the heads of the administration offices and academic affairs department, watched the conference video at home or in the office using their mobile phones or computers. Cao Guoyong, executive deputy secretary of the Party committee of the OUC, presided over the meeting.

Jing Degang, Secretary of the Party committee and president of the OUC, gave a speech in which he passed on the instructive spirit of general secretary Xi Jinping and the MOE special session on the epidemic prevention and control work, and put forward six requirements for epidemic prevention and control within the OUC system.

1. Party members should play a leading role in epidemic prevention and control, which should be led with political guidance

Leading cadres and party members should take the initiative during epidemic prevention and control and play a leading role to ensure the implementation of the decisions and work allocation of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and guarantee CPC party leadership in the front line of the struggle to prevent and control the COVID-19 epidemic. We should investigate, identify, evaluate, and use cadres on the front line of epidemic prevention and control, and use the actual performance of leading groups and cadres in the struggle for epidemic prevention and control as an important measure to investigate their political quality, purpose awareness, overall perspective, control ability, and spirit of responsibility.

2. Do a good job, pay attention to every work detail, and take responsibility

We should further study and formulate an epidemic prevention and control work plan, making sure that we do a good job and pay attention to every detail of the work in accordance with the requirements of the plan. Party secretaries and presidents of each college and branch should safeguard their "fields of responsibility,” protect their employees, stand fast and remain at post, and play a commanding role at the front line, comprehensively implement joint defence and control measures, build a tight defence line for mass defence and governance, resolutely put an end to dereliction of duty, and conscientiously take responsibilities in safeguarding their responsibility zones.

3. Work together to overcome difficulties

Party members should play a leading role as role models and Party branches should be like fortresses in a battle, uniting and leading faculty and staff, working together, guarding against the epidemic, and overcoming difficulties. Organising and mobilising Party members and cadres of the university to win the battle of epidemic prevention and control is a major political task and epidemic prevention and control work is a major responsibility of all teachers and students. Efforts should be made to win support from local Party committees and governments in accordance with the principle of territorial management. We should unite our strength to overcome the ongoing difficulties together.

4. Remain calm and ensure precise prevention and control

In the face of the epidemic, we should keep calm and not create unnecessary confusion. Party members and cadres are the backbone of the epidemic response. They are expected to take the initiative and fight hard in a calm and cool-headed manner, obey the command of the local government, take their own responsibilities, and keep the epidemic out of the campus in order to resolutely protect the lives of teachers and students.

5. Strengthen communication and safeguard the life of each person

In accordance with the requirements of MOE Minister Chen Baosheng, we should adhere to bottom line thinking, be responsible for teachers, students, and members of society, fully estimate potential difficulties, and deal with small probability events with large possibility thinking. We should use information technology and big data to further investigate the situation, accurately grasp the mobility trend of teachers and students, closely monitor the epidemic, and use an early warning system to ensure detection, reporting, isolation, treatment, and recovery. All branches and colleges should provide epidemic prevention and control reports in a timely fashion, and each unit and department should communicate about whether there are any COVID-19 cases in their institution, in order to give a clear picture of the situation and fight the battle confidently.

6. Scientific protection in the responsibility of every individual

Effective scientific protection starts from our own actions. We should strengthen the pertinence and effectiveness of prevention and control in accordance with the unified deployment of the government and the requirements of the university. We should strictly abide by national laws and regulations, consciously abide by online security norms, and avoid spreading, creating or believing in rumours.

At the meeting, it was stressed that epidemic prevention and control is currently the most important task. We should conscientiously integrate the spirit of general secretary Xi Jinping's important instructions and the specific requirements of the decisions and work allocation of the party central committee and the MOE into our ideology and actions. We should complete every task in line with the requirements of firm confidence, joint efforts, scientific prevention, and control and precise policy implementation. According to the meeting, the school running system of the OUC will do a good job in accordance with the requirements of the party central committee and work allocation of the MOE party group, and play an important role in winning the battle for the prevention and control of the epidemic.

Liu Qianxin, president of the OUC’s Wuhan Branch, introduced the university’s epidemic prevention and control work. At present, two of the branch’s teachers infected have been with COVID-19. The two teachers are in a stable condition and there has been no infection reported among students. The branch university will focus on epidemic prevention and control, as well as preparation for the new semester.

Lin Yu, vice president of the OUC, made arrangements for recruitment, teaching, and examination work during the epidemic prevention and control period. The OUC will give full play to the advantages of the Internet plus University model, and carry out Internet-based enrolment, teaching, and examination work based on the Internet according to the needs of epidemic prevention and control.

By Jin Hongyu, OUC