Oklahoma State University officials met Tuesday afternoon for a virtual town hall to discuss the concerns going into the fall semester and COVID-19. The event gave a great insight into what daily life in the fall semester will look like. It featured a general discussion of next semester as well as a Q&A. Here's six key takeaways from the virtual event:
1. Creative classrooms:
There's no doubt that classes will look different this semester-- very different -- but that doesn't mean students won't enjoy the classroom environment. OSU has set up classrooms in both Gallagher-Iba Arena's O-Club and the suites of Boone Pickens Stadium so that students can stay distant, while also being in an interesting environment.
2. Professors cannot make attendance mandatory:
With anxiety levels at an all-time high for some students, it's hard to make people go to class right now. That said, OSU has come up with a middle ground for this: non-mandatory attendance. Faculty members are asked to come up with other means of making a classroom interactive this year with the expectation that some people may miss due to anxiety or illness. In addition to this, students who do not feel comfortable attending class are asked to reach out to their professors before the semester starts to see if they can be provided with live streamed lecture. Officials have asked professors to record lectures and post them on Canvas.
3. Strict with masks:
OSU official Doug Hallenbeck said it best: "We are going to be pretty strict on the mask policy." If you don't have your mask with you, you won't be allowed inside a building or classroom. Officials encouraged students to bring multiple masks with them at all times to ensure they don't forget them.
4. The Colvin is open:
The Colvin Recreation Center, OSU's main gym, will be open for business this fall. Officials said people at the gym will be "very spaced out" and masks will be required. While the machines will be open, the basketball and volleyball courts will be closed because of the close contact nature of the sports. In addition to this, the Colvin will also offer online fitness classes that you can do at home to exercise.
5. Students/faculty enforce the masks:
This fall, students are in charge of policing the mask policy. Officials said in the meeting that if a student or faculty member sees another person without a mask on, they should ask them to wear one. Should a student be reported for not wearing a mask, they will have to face the student conduct office. The penalty for not wearing a mask is not known at this time.
6. Greek life:
Officials expect fraternities and sororities to follow the same guidelines as the university. According to officials, sorority recruitment will be almost all virtual with some in-person settings. Students who live in sorority or fraternity houses will be tested as they come in and have similar social distancing guidelines as residential life.