Rowan University held online panels for both faculty and students on Wednesday, Oct. 7 that highlighted both the spring semester plan and what to expect for the remainder of the fall.
“We are at a point right now where we are as open as we will be as an institution. I think from the standpoint of face-to-face classes, we are at a maximum this fall,” Anthony Lowman, the provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at Rowan, said.
During last month’s announcements, Rowan revealed the move from 20% to 30% in-person classes, which Lowman expects to remain even into the spring semester.
“As we move into spring, we are getting a lot of questions, and we are close to having the finalized plan. We have not announced it yet because we want to make sure we talk to all of our stakeholders,” Lowman said. “The anticipated spring semester is going to end up looking a lot like the fall semester.”
Lowman also highlighted some lessons the school learned and how things will differ in the spring from the fall semester’s launch.
“There are some differences; we have some learning points. We know now we need to build in an acclimation period at the beginning of the semester, where everything will be remote for the first week. We will bring back certain classes in week two, like labs, experiential learning and studios. In week three and beyond, we can start to bring back other classes,” Lowman said.
In addition to a delayed launch of specified in-person classes, the next semester will not have a spring break.
“We will not be having a spring break; we will adjust the schedule accordingly along the way, so we aren’t sending students off in March to go all over the country,” Lowman said. “The official announcement as to what spring will look like should be going out this week.”
One last change that Lowman announced was that the start of the spring semester will be a week later than the usual start.
“So we will bring students back at the normal time [MLK weekend], rather than starting classes that first Tuesday [Jan. 19]. The first day of class will be the following Monday [Jan. 25],” Lowman said. “Learning from this semester, we saw our cases peak at the two-week point. So we feel like a week of acclimation, providing safe opportunities around the dorms for students, followed by one week of remote learning would give us time to handle [whatever may happen].”
Lowman reaffirmed that these decisions are flexible to changes in health and safety guidelines. Scott Woodside, the director of the Wellness Center at Rowan, highlighted some new data in the school regarding cases.
“We currently have 22-23 active cases, that’s down from a high of 175 at our peak in September. It’s very promising that we keep this number low,” Woodside said. “We are still available and doing a lot of symptomatic and contact testing, although that demand has dropped considerably since September.”
Woodside also updated faculty and staff on Rowan’s first-ever drive-through flu shot clinic.
“We are going to be doing it at the Tech Park. It has to be registered, so we know how many resources to bring to the table that day. We will be able to [vaccinate] hundreds if not a thousand people no problem,” Woodside said. “Please register for that clinic if you are able, it will be a good chance to see what that will be like when we get a COVID vaccine here at campus.”
All participants must register before attending the flu clinic. Students received an email with instructions to complete and print a consent form, COVID-19 screening form and a copy of insurance information.
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