Classroom COVID Changes

As students have returned to campus for classes all over the nation, there was a fear and uncertainty that surrounds this semester. How would classes be conducted, would the classrooms change, where could students go, and are there certain doors they must use? All questions students are asking due to COVID-19 hitting its peak in most states and new guidelines being released.

Students here at VU are being kept in the know and getting updates as they are needed when it comes to guidelines that are to be followed. Several of the departments here are having to make changes day by day and get creative with how they are conducting classes.

Janet Thomas, Department Chair of Health Information Management Program and Health Care Services Administration said VU has made many changes to keep students safe. These changes include required mask or face shield, six foot social distancing, rearrangement of desks and tables in classrooms, clear shield blockers, designated entrances and exits, and constant cleaning and disinfecting of areas where students are present.  

Thomas’s job is to enforce these regulations to students and staff. Asking college students to comply with new rules isn’t always easy, but we’re all in this together and need to help each other stay safe. Thomas said “everyone seems to be doing their part,” and she has not had any compliance issues reported. 

All of the measures that have been put into place should significantly decrease the chances of COVID spreading. Since the reopening of VU, there have only been six confirmed cases on campus. When there is a case or a potential case, students are required to be quarantined in their rooms, with no contact for 14 days. Vincennes University and all of the departments are doing everything possible to keep students out of danger.    

The chemistry department is working diligently to keep up with all the changes to make sure that all the students and staff are safe and taken care of. Elizabeth Lowe, Chairperson/Associate Professor of Chemistry, stated that COVID has impacted a lot in the chemistry department.

The largest change, according to Lowe, is that major chemistry courses that are normally six hours a week are now split in half. This is due to new guidelines released from the CDC causing them to only have about half their students in class at a time. This has led professors to have to make many of their labs hybrid, which prevents another challenge because they have to take in lab activities and make them work online. Not only that but,

“[They] still have to keep the concepts that the students are going over the same. We have to teach what we need to teach,” Lowe said.

With these changes the staff have been learning along with the students about online sources, video calling apps, and simulations. Many would have never thought of using these sources or methods, but they have made this transition easier. 

“The faculty and staff within the department are really good about being able to change things very quickly,” Lowe said.

It’s hard to try and stay protected during a time like this. VU Staff is doing everything in their power to protect students during this troubling time. Students should have to focus on their education and future, not getting sick. We’re all in this together and need to work as a team in order to be successful.