Local colleges prepare for students to return to campus

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What will learning look like in the months ahead? 

It’s a question a lot of parents have been asking as the coronavirus continues to be a concern.

One Triad campus is getting a head start at trying out what the new normal might look like for students in the fall.

175 students will start moving into the High Point University campus on Sunday for the Summer Advantage Program. 

Starting with staggered move-in times, they’ll be the first students in the Triad to test out COVID protective measures for the fall.

“Face coverings. We’ll require those across all of the classrooms and laboratories,” said Gail Tuttle, the Senior Vice President for Student Life at High Point University. 

The campus will also be filled with hand-washing and sanitizing stations and other constant reminders for people to stay six feet apart from each other. 

The university has already made drastic changes to keep incoming students safe, including adding glass partitions.

“We’ll have thermal thermometer stations too,” Tuttle said. 

She said the university is taking the pandemic seriously and spreading out seats in classrooms and dining halls. 

“We’ll have a mobile app where students will be able to see the capacity of how many people are there, so that social distancing can occur, and we can advise the students accordingly,” Tuttle said. 

Just in case that’s not enough, they have back up plans, too.

“We have a whole flow chart for residential students as well as non-residential students should we have a COVID investigated case,” Tuttle said. “We have quarantine areas, so we’re ready to put them into quarantine and provide them care, so if they’re in quarantine they’ll be able to continue and sustain their classwork and immediate needs like food.”  

Tuttle said the health center has also tripled in size. One side of the health center will be for students who are actively sick and could spread COVID-19 and other infectious illnesses, while the other side is for student wellness. 

Other campuses across the Triad are still in preparation mode.

Elon University released it’s detailed “Ready and Resilient” plans for the fall. The school is also requiring masks indoors and distanced seating across campus. 

Winston-Salem State University isn’t expecting students until August 7, and staff members are still in the planning process.

“We’re trying to really work closely with our community partners: the School of the Arts, Wake Forest, Salem, Forsyth Tech. We’re really trying to implement consistent measures because students and staff will be returning from all over the country and the state, so we’re kind of in this together,” said Jason Stogner, the Director of Emergency Management at WSSU. “They’ll all be returning to the city of Winston, so we’re trying to make sure that all of our measures are consistent.” 

Stogner says it’s also up to the students to stay safe and healthy.

“While we are working hard, it’s going to take some personal ownership to make sure we maintain a safe enivornment,” he said.

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