WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - As COVID-19 casses continue to rise in Wichita County, Midwestern State University and Vernon College are working to figure out the safest way to bring students back to the classroom.
With mandating masks and social distancing, campuses are hoping it’s enough to still provide the college learning experience.
“This fall is going to look very different than anything we’ve ever done before,” said Greg Fowler, the division chair for Vernon College’s Behavioral and Social Sciences department.
“There are certain things our students expect when they come to Midwestern,” added Marcy Brown Marsden, “and we try to make sure we make that happen for them when they come back.”
Both Vernon College and Midwestern State University have been adapting their lecture halls and classrooms to make sure everything follows health and safety guidelines.
Desks are set up so students sit at least six feet apart, forcing classes to operate at half- or less-than-half-capacity.
At MSU Texas, students will have assigned seating, and sticky notes on seats as a reminder to leave them empty.
While the details are still being worked out, the changes mean some students will have to virtually attend class in real time.
Dr. Marcy Brown Marsden is the dean for MSU’s College of Engineering, and said the biggest hurdle comes with classes requiring labs. She said to help limit how many students are in one room working, most of the work will have to be done online.
“We try to streamline the amount of time a student needs to be face to face, but give them the opportunity to be face to face,” she said.
Vernon College’s Greg Fowler said similar work is being done at his campus, as the college works to adapt student schedules and coordinate who attends class when. Even though work is being put in now to get classes ready, he said the idea of a hybrid learning model is always changing.
“The plan is to be really flexible,” he said.
Marsden adds, “we’re designing these guidelines and processes without students on campus.”