Student Lifestyle Editor
As the university prepares to reopen, The Equinox caught up with Campus Executive Steve Nelson for the Student Lifestyle Roundtable to discuss state and CDC guidelines and other updates.
While classes will begin online for the first three weeks, starting Monday, Aug. 17, the school is still committed to open for in-person classes.
Some of the on-campus guidelines:
- Masks will be mandatory everywhere
- Social distancing will be mandated, which includes some restrictions indoors
- Larger rooms will be used as classrooms to accommodate more students
- More events will likely happen outside to make social distancing easier
- Many events will be online
When it comes to safety guidelines, he said in addition to social distancing and mask-wearing, sanitation will be maintained.
“We’ll be doing a lot of cleaning of rooms in between uses including high touch points, door handles and various things. Water fountains will not be used unless it’s the refillable water fountains for water bottles,” he said.
The Equinox asked Nelson about the “new online platforms” President Christopher Capuano mentioned in his latest update that will include more online activities.
Asked for some examples of these new platforms, Nelson said, “We’re still solidifying which ones we can use. Our IT department is actively engaged with our student-life folks, and working with them to try to find the best platforms that most people are familiar with and usable.
“The type of platform where people can gather and work together on different things. Obviously, Zoom will be a big thing, and Microsoft Teams meetings … but there may be other ones as well that we can do on a more social level.”
Nelson also addressed the processes for the immunocompromised and students at high risk when they return to campus, noting that there will be health screenings.
“Everyone will need to be doing screening every day. We’re finalizing which app we’re using on that right now,” he said.
“So we will be reporting that out every morning. And if there’s a red flag that occurs, maybe somebody’s got a high temperature, some kind of symptom that can be equated to COVID, then our student health services will be notified, and we’re gonna work with that student to get them the help that they need, to make sure,” he added.
Nelson said that the first step will be a quarantine, followed by isolation. The residence halls will set aside certain rooms for both.
“They will be tested, but we’re not going to test everyone who is not symptomatic,” he said.
When it comes to some events that are impossible to hold even with social distancing, as important as they are to our college life, we’ll just have to hold off on them or find the best way to have it online, he said.
Will there be class field trips and shuttle transportations?
There was a simple answer: “No.”
“Field trips are just uncontrollable. First, you have this lack of social distancing in a vehicle. And then we’re going to a place that we don’t control what happens there, or we don’t know who’s exposed,” Nelson said.
Finally, The Equinox asked about the new directive by the Trump administration that international students must be enrolled in a university that has in-person class in order to stay in the U.S.
“We have to abide by the law of the land. That is our first thing. I know there are some schools that are challenging this, but whatever the law of the land is we will abide by it,” he said.
That said, the campus will open as planned.
“We are planning on in-person classes. Unless something happens that doesn’t allow us to have that, we should be fine,” Nelson said. “That rule really won’t apply to us as long as we’re having those in-person classes, which is our plan and our goal for right now.”
When it comes to some events that are impossible to hold even with social distancing, as important as they are to our college life, we’ll just have to hold off on them or find the best way to have it online.