an art school transformed into a field hospital

In Cuba, culture lends a helping hand to health. While the coronavirus epidemic is still circulating massively on the island, with some 700 new cases of contamination on average per day, mainly in Havana, the Higher Institute of Art, which has been working remotely for more than a year , welcomes Covid-19 patients. While almost all cultural places have been closed and stopped for more than a year, this emblematic place of cultural training in Cuba has therefore turned into a field hospital.

From our correspondent in Havana,

Usually at ISA, the Higher Institute of Art in Havana, students rehearse a play on the university square, a young person revises a trumpet piece or a dance choreography is improvised on the lawn. of the campus… But today it is a ballet of ambulances and patients suffering from Covid-19 parading at the Institute.

This campus is emblematic of artistic training of excellence in Cuba, but the coronavirus crisis has emptied the world-famous brick domed buildings of its students. ” We really had to reinvent ourselves. The fact of studying at a distance must not lower the rigor and the quality of the teaching and we have made sure that the form changes, but that it affects the studies as little as possible. », Says Enia Torres Castellano, vice-rector of the Higher Art Institute.

And beyond the pursuit of distance university activities for the 1,530 students, the ISA also takes care of 80 patients with the coronavirus, who currently occupy the student residence. ” It is unprecedented in the history of the university to have converted the student residence into a hospital, continues Enia Torres Castellano. Last August, the university was first used as an isolation center, we initially received suspected cases of Covid-19, and now we welcome infected people, but asymptomatic. The kitchen of the university canteen also began to work for Covid patients. In fact, it is all the logistics of the university that has been stepped up, because we maintain the university activity even if there are no students and the staff is reduced, and in addition we have to work for the isolation center. For us, this is completely new, but it is also proof of everything that can be done from a university! »

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Students engaged in the fight against the virus

Also mobilized, the students who have been sent home are assigned to the cultural center of their neighborhood where they do an internship called “social impact”, they also study at a distance, and some have also chosen to engage in fight against Covid-19. Dangel Gonzalez Correa seemed unwilling to leave the ISA campus, so this 4th year dance student, and representative of the Federation of University Students, enlisted in this field hospital. For a while, he therefore swapped his dancer’s slippers for the gown of medical personnel.

« Often, we provide psychological help, we are also responsible for bringing meals, and cleaning the premises where the infected people reside during their isolation, he confides. We must also fill in the computer database of patients, find out who is positive or negative, who has already been contaminated, how many children or elderly there are, identify vulnerable people because special attention must be paid. to these patients. »

The area is inaccessible for health reasons, and young Dangel is still in quarantine after spending 14 days inside the hospital on the campus of the Higher Institute of Art: ” As an artist we are not used to this kind of work, but the only art we can develop at the moment is helping and supporting those who need it. An example of very Cuban resilience in times of coronavirus.

Read also : Covid-19: Cuba launches the vaccination of its caregivers with its Soberana 2 vaccine

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