ACU’s Campus Health and Safety Team’s plan for fall return keeps students in-person through non-traditional classrooms and extended passing periods.
The team started working in the spring with a subcommittee of academic members that included Dr. Jessica Smith, associate provost for curriculum and assessment, Dr. Bill Carroll, Chair of Faculty Senate and Lauren Wasson, former president of Student Government Association. The team looked at all classrooms to evaluate normal capacity and how each classroom could accommodate the social distancing rules set in place by the Campus Health and Safety Team.
In order to fit campus social distancing guidelines for classrooms, each room must accommodate students being six feet apart and faculty being 10 feet from the nearest student, “since the faculty would largely be facing the students and speaking over them,” Smith said.
After each room had an official capacity, Smith looked at the fall schedule and assigned each class a room based on the number of students in each class.
“We ran into a large challenge during larger classes while trying to make sure that we had adequate space for everyone, which led to untraditional spaces,” Smith said. “We are really grateful to be able to use those spaces and to the students and faculty who are making this work. Every time we have a class in an Hunter Welcome Center or in the gym that is a class that would have been online otherwise.”
The Campus Health and Safety Team also recommended longer passing periods to provide time to disinfect classrooms in between use, allowing disinfectant to sit for ten minutes of “dwell time,” as well as to provide students time to get to classes that are farther apart than usual.
“I take pride in being in nursing school and having my classes in the nursing building, so it’s frustrating that I can’t have most of my classes there,” Laura Loftus, junior nursing major from San Antonio, said after having classes in Teague Special Events Center rather than Zona Luce.”But I understand why, and I’m honestly just happy to be on campus.”
While some professors are choosing to have classes outside or in their homes, masks and social distancing are still recommended when possible.