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The global spread of COVID-19 has prompted countries worldwide to design initiatives and measures to ensure public health and safety. Saudi Arabia launched a “Stay-at-Home” initiative in March 2020 involving all sectors of society. This exploratory study employed a qualitative research design using written journal reflections to discern the views and opinions of Saudi female graduate students at a large public university in the Eastern Province. The research posed three questions: (1) What were participants’ perspectives of the impact of the “Stay-at-Home” initiative; (2) What values did participants manifest during the initiative; and, (3) What were participants’ recommendations and innovative solutions to deal with the initiative’s effects? Findings reveal that boredom and loneliness, fear of infection, and financial concerns dominated students’ perceptions of the impact of the initiative. Participants further identified divine protection and global unity as two key values that were heightened to deal with the initiative and the pandemic. Finally, innovative solutions to mitigate the effects of the initiative were categorized into 13 sub-themes organized around two main spheres of Saudi life — public (governmental/societal) and private (family/home).
Keywords: COVID-19, Saudi Arabia, higher edducation
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