MSU Texas students return to a “new normal” semester

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 6:35 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Following both the pandemic and a rise in school shootings, college campuses around the country have also made upgrades to ensure their students’ safety.

Midwestern State University is trying to guard against both COVID and monkeypox, but faculty and administration are also discussing about how they should prepare for other emergencies. Dr. Bradley Wilson, MSU Texas associate professor, is one of those faculty members taking precautions in the classroom.

“I think everybody is ready to be back to normal and every time that somebody says that I’m like ‘okay, but it’s a new normal,’” Wilson said.

That “new normal” consists of being cautious with not one but two viruses, and faculty at MSU Texas are making their own calls about how to prevent the spread.

“For two years now, we’ve had COVID clauses in our syllabi, and I just made a choice this year based on how things were, I just took it all out,” Wilson said. “I just think COVID is here, it’s not going away, and so we’re going to treat it pretty much like we treat the flu.”

While Wilson is taking fewer precautions with COVID than previous years, monkeypox has already entered Wichita County and he is hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

“We can also say with some certainty it’s only a matter of time,” Wilson said. “That’s just the way things are. So again, let’s just be prepared for all of the eventualities and ‘okay, it’s going to happen, what are we going to do when it happens?’ I’ve been actually extremely impressed with our administrators.”

Wilson said administrators have been proactive in ensuring safety by pushing students to download the MSU Texas safety app, which has made him more open-minded about allowing cellphone use in class.

“My point of view as a teacher, this does change things a little bit like ‘okay, I don’t want students having their cellphones out in class.’ Well, if they don’t have their cellphones in class, how will they get the message? So, I’ve rethought that again,” Wilson said.

Students like Collin Stevenson are returning to campus and are also now more aware of their surroundings following the rise in school shootings.

“Yeah, I am slightly more aware, especially with college campuses especially being a little bit more lenient with weapons,” Stevenson said. “It’s a little worrying, but I guess not especially concerning.”

Wilson said he tells all his students to be aware of all exits when entering a classroom in case of an emergency and to stay home when they are sick.