Southern University ramps efforts to protect students from COVID-19 as classes resume

Updated: Aug. 12, 2020 at 4:40 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Southern University college students return to the classroom on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

The university’s administration ramped up its efforts to protect students on the first day by increasing the amount of high contact surfaces are sanitized, and strongly urging social distancing while on campus, and requiring students to wear a mask when on campus.

Any guests or students entering campus were also required to have their temperature checked. If someone had a temperature higher than what was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) they were turned around. If a student living on campus had a high temperature, they would be sent to the student health center and then into a special dorm to quarantine.

Administrators say no one was quarantined on the first day of calsses.

The way classes are being taught also changed. There are three types of instruction available for students this Fall, according to the university.

Traditional: “The students and instructor are in a designated classroom at scheduled days and times.”

Hybrid: “At scheduled days and times, students will meet in-person or choose to receive remote instruction synchronously via Microsoft Teams and MOODLE.”

Online: “Instruction is fully online and asynchronously with no day and time specified. However, office hours can be hosted at a day and time by the instructor.”

Student body President, Chandler Vidrine says preparing for the first day of school, “Has not been a one week process or one month process.” Vidrine says he’s been in a board meeting for over three months trying to make sure university officials were putting the best processes in place for a safe return.

Zackeus Johnson, Executive Director for University College Programs says the university is working to ensure first-year students start off the year with, “good momentum filled with opportunities.”

Programs and activities are still being offered that aim to keep students engaged, Johnson says, they are just virtual.

“Parents are nervous, students are still nervous as well, but we’re saying, ‘Students once you come to Southern University, we have you,’” Johnson says. “Just don’t be afraid to ask any questions or any concerns you may have about the pandemic, about contracting COVID, if a roommate contracts it, etc. We want to make sure that you know the proper resources.”

Additional information about resources available at the university can be found here.

Vidrine says his peers are ready to return to campus, but he wants to stress the importance of moving forward in a positive light, “Understand that we’re all in the same situation. And try to continue to do what is best for the student body and as a campus community as a whole.”

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