To continue what has been to date a highly successful strategy of minimizing the COVID-19 virus while holding in-person classes on campus during the fall semester, William Woods University (WWU) announced today revisions to its undergraduate academic schedule for the 2021 Spring Semester.
The University will be delaying the start of spring classes by one week, beginning on campus on Tuesday, January 19. Spring break in March will be cancelled, and instruction will end on Friday, April 23. Final exams will take place during the week of April 26-30.
The altered schedule will minimize the amount of travel away from campus during the course of the semester, which together with the University’s comprehensive campus health and safety plan, will continue to help minimize any potential spread of the virus. As during the fall semester, WWU will be holding all undergraduate classes on campus in-person.
“We have been able to successfully provide on-campus, in-person instruction to our students to date during the fall semester, while doing everything in our power to ensure our whole campus community remains safe and healthy,” said Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett, president of William Woods University. “I am confident that our altered academic schedule, along with our ongoing campus health and safety plan, provides us with the best chance to continue our success all the way through spring semester and to the end of the academic year.”
As of today, there is exactly one positive COVID-19 case at William Woods, a student who is currently in self-isolation off campus. There are currently no active cases among faculty or staff.
Highlights of the University’s COVID-19 health and safety plan this fall have included:
- All classes are physically distanced, with six feet of space between students, and are being taught in non-traditional areas to accommodate this spacing, including auditoriums, conference rooms, cafeterias, the library, and campus chapel. Courses are being taught both in-person and virtually, giving students an option given their health status. Seating assignments are remaining the same all semester, so if a student is seated near another student that tests positive, they can be easily informed.
- All persons on campus, including visitors, must wear a face covering at all times when physical distancing is not possible, including instructors and students while in class, in community areas, hallways, and residence hall common areas.
- All residence halls, classrooms and buildings are cleaned and disinfected daily. Faculty members have been supplied with disinfectant to sanitize students’ desks between classes. Interior maintenance cleans faculty and staff offices throughout the day. Signage is posted outside of each door, stating the physical distancing capacity for each room.
- Each room in every building on campus was measured and physical distancing was calculated for each one using a formula provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Hallways, doors and staircases are designated for one-way traffic. Faculty and staff meetings are mostly virtual. Students are asked to meet with faculty in large conference areas should they request an in-person meeting.
- Outside visitors are prohibited from entering residence halls. Many students are living in individual rooms. Campus community members are prohibited from hosting or attending parties or social gatherings on or off campus. All gatherings exceeding 20 persons must be approved in advance.
- Any student or staffmember who tests positive for the virus is required to self-isolate until a health professional approves communal activity. Students that stay on campus while in isolation/quarantine have food delivered to them and have access to health services staff. Staff that test positive are expected to stay home until a health professional clears them to return to campus. The WWU website also provides frequent COVID-19 updates, reporting the number of positive cases on campus, the number active and the number recovered. There is an email alert sent to all class members when a positive test is confirmed for any participant in the class, and an email alert to any individual who has been in close contact with someone who tests positive.
- Tucker Dining Hall has extended services to include a text ahead/takeout option, severely limiting crowds at mealtimes. A “hands free” cafeteria style service is being utilized for those who eat in-person, and the hall currently has a 50 chair capacity as opposed to the 300 chairs pre-COVID-19.