Improvements in Covid protocols expected for Spring 2021

The coming semester brings many questions for our students, from distance learning to visitors from off campus arriving for events.

With classes being cut short spring 2019 some hoped that the details of virtual learning would be fleshed out before returning this fall, but the number of options for alternative communication between students and professors has somehow made things more difficult.

Many students have voiced that they feel uninformed as to what the plan for this new normal will be with social activity, curfews and being able to find the people tasked with supporting them in this system. 

Adairre Wilson, junior class president, weighed in on such topics like what changes have you seen on campus that should be continued or even expanded in order to help keep us safe. 

“I’ve seen a lot of things like the hand sanitizer and on screen thermometer available in Grambling Hall and the Career center in JTS,” he said. 

There have been free testing available which he believes should be expanded. 

“I consider us now more of like a closed campus… Social distancing should be encouraged and like that most of the events we’ve had on campus have been outside,” Wilson said.  

Wilson added she feels the campus should have created a one size fits all version of distance learning for continuity amongst students. 

“Yes the university should have created a standard mode of class and had training for the professors,” she said. “With the time we had over the break they may have been able to find the mode that’s most flexible for professors because even I’ve had to download two or three apps for different classes.” 

Distance learning takes time to perfect for the professor as well – with Zoom calls and Microsoft Teams being just a couple ways to connect. 

Wilson pointed out that “teachers have been asking for input and considering we all have to adjust together I think professors have done well so far.” 

Facilities on campus have been open throughout campus under a capacity limit, which affects class sizes if offered in person and the availability to find faculty on campus. 

“It’s not about whether the building is open but if you’re going to find who you were looking for, but students have to take initiative in the coming semester by emailing the faculty member. Distance learning teaches that same thing, it keeps students accountable for communicating with their professor whether the workload is piled on or not,” Wilson said.  

Tisha Arnold, Director of Communications for Grambling State University, said protocols the university is under for the coming semester and the plans for the availability of facilities are still being hammered out. 

Our plan will align with ULS and CDC best practices, so it is difficult to say at this time exactly how the plan will look,” she said. “This semester, the state of Louisiana primarily operated in COVID-19 Phases Two and Three; however, we are preparing for an increase in cases similar to what we observed during the spring semester. If the projections of medical experts become a reality, we will respond accordingly.” 

Many students came to campus in hopes of in person courses to find that many professors opted for online learning. 

Arnold said there will be more face to face learning in the coming semester, adding that things have gone well this semester in the continued fight against COVID-19 

“You can expect more in person classes,” Arnold said. “These classes will be in the form of hybrid and face to face classes. It is likely that during the first couple of weeks of classes for the Spring 2021 semester a faculty member may decide to teach the hybrid or face to face classes, 100% online. The Return To Campus Task Force will expand to include an institutional COVID-19 coordinator. With the addition of the new role, we hope to have more cohesion and coordination of our COVID-19 prevention and awareness efforts.”

Adairre Wilson