What to expect next semester: Returning to campus in 2021

By Avery Dunlap

Plainsman Online

This semester students, faculty, and staff at South Plains College have seen many changes be implemented for safety from the Coronavirus. The majority of those regulations will continue to be enforced next semester as well.

            When students returned to college in August, there were several rules put in place to ensure that there is not a super spread of COVID across classrooms. The regulations included a decrease in class size, with a class size to student ratio implemented. Additionally, for classes with a large number of students, an online or flex program was designed to educate students effectively while in virtual class. Professors and instructors were given the materials they needed to make sure they were able to teach online comfortably.

For the students who were on campus, all were required to wear a mask before entering a SPC building. Social distancing was encouraged, and the college supported this by decreasing the class sizes. Students also were asked to disinfect their workspace and desk when they are finished in class, along with other procedures implemented for safety.

            When asked about how South Plains College has handled the pandemic, Alan Worley, dean of Arts and Sciences, stated that they have, “provided and implemented appropriate safety measures to minimize transmission of COVID.” He expressed that there hasn’t been a super spread among classrooms, and that the cases of direct transmission that the college has seen on campus has been among roommates in their dorms.

            When returning next semester, “students can expect to see some of the same measures as this past fall semester,” according to Worley. All students should still come ready to wear their masks, and social distance on campus.

Since the college did not have a ton of time to prepare for the virus and the way it has changed several aspects of life, Worley states that the college is, “continually trying to improve the instructional and learning process. He added that they are “hopeful” that the Coronavirus vaccine is released soon.

Students should anticipate changes to be made as SPC learns more about the virus. Until the vaccine is released for students to receive it, Worley’s goal is “to provide a top-notch education in a safe environment.”

            With the health of students in mind, the start date for Spring Semester courses has been modified from Jan. 11 to Jan. 19. The motive behind this decision is to, “provide a larger gap between the potential gatherings and holidays, and when students start coming on campus.” said Worley.

If a student has been exposed during Christmas or New Years while visiting with friends and family, hopefully they will know whether they have been infected by the time that classes will start.

            “Feel free to live and enjoy your life, but be smart,” Worley explains.

Students should continue to wear masks, social distance, and sanitize with the anticipation that COVID will still spread during winter break. If you believe that you could have the virus or have been around someone who has tested positive, please quarantine and get tested.

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