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The Antelope

The Antelope

UNK aims to keep campus safe, healthy

Senior lecturer Michelle Widger offers an online option for her students who are feeling ill or have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Despite the threat of classes going remote yet again, UNK has several safety measures in place to prevent the closing of campus this fall due to the novelty coronavirus.

All departments across campus have adapted to procedures in place to help prevent the spread of the virus.

“We have a lot of opportunities to keep students as safe as possible,” said Trelana Daniel, the associate director of UNK Residence Life. “We haven’t even begun to utilize the measures we have in place for students who do test positive with COVID. I don’t think shutdown is going to happen.”

UNK Residence Life has altered training for residence assistants and implemented educational strategies for incoming students. RAs duty shift hours were decreased to limit exposure to other students, and they were given plastic face shields and cloth masks. RAs also use a sanitation spray device for high traffic areas while completing their rounds.

This year, RA training was completed in smaller groups of no more than 16, and some were able to join in through Zoom meetings. Additional training included how to prevent cross-contamination and a COVID-19 emergency response session led by George Holman, the associate dean of Student Affairs.

Additional education material given out to students included how to maintain proper hygiene and how to properly wear a face mask. RAs have also created Facebook groups and regularly encourage students to use Campus Clear, an app that tracks students’ symptoms daily.

This fall, there has been an increase in single room requests by over 30%. Single rooms were offered by UNK Residence Life to spread out students on dorm floors.

To keep students living on campus safe, UNK Residence Life has implemented more safety precautions in dorms.

“Right now, we are just in the opening stage,” Daniel said. “We’re calling that Phase 1 of opening. We’re hoping eventually we can get to Phase 2, which is a little less restrictive.”

In Phase 1, off-campus visitors are not allowed into residence halls, equipment checkouts are not permitted and most kitchen areas have been shut off. Plexiglass and plastic shields have been installed at front desk areas, as well as sanitation stations.

In the spring of 2020, students could request a refund by moving off campus early after its closure. If campus closes this semester, students may not get the option to move.

“We haven’t made any plans for that,” Daniel said.

Students have voiced their concern about getting a tuition refund if classes go remote.

Tuition is set by the UNK Board of Regents at the beginning of the budget year, so if campus closes, tuition rates would not change. The tuition rates of in-person courses are cheaper than online courses, due to a distance education fee. Students would not receive refunds for in-person courses that go online mid-semester.

“The student who’s getting the delivery of a course that is traditionally face-to-face— if they’re able to get that in an online environment without being charged the additional online program tuition charge associated with that— then actually they’re getting that type of content at a discount,” said Kelly Bartling, the vice chancellor for Enrollment Management and Marketing.

Professors have also had to make changes in and outside of the classroom.

“Those who taught in class, we had to do three syllabi for every class,” said professor Michelle Widger, a senior lecturer for the Department of Communication. “We had to do one for in-class, a mixed and an online only.

A lot of new information had to be included in syllabi in accordance with the new policies. Professors included the university COVID-19 statement, mask restrictions and a plan for if classes go online. Some classes may go completely online after Thanksgiving.

Students can attend class through Zoom if they are self-quarantining or not feeling well.

Widger said the first week of classes went better than she expected, and some students have high hopes as well.

“Teachers are definitely adapting,” said Alyssa Hartman, a UNK senior majoring in business and English education. “They are still wanting to do the most with their class that they can.”

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