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OU prepares for ‘fall semester like no other’

Campuses adding webcams, disinfecting due to COVID-19

In a letter to regional campus students, Ohio University has outlined how they will reopen for fall semester classes.

Last week, OU Southern began offering offer in-person Student Services appointments at the Ironton campus to help with admission, advising, registration and financial aid. They will expand that on Aug. 3 to include limited staffing in IT, testing and library services.

“You deserve to fulfill your educational goals in a setting that provides you with the safest experiences. We believe that all of the planned interventions will provide that,” the letter reads. “There is still much work to do to prepare for a safe academic year, but our dedicated faculty and staff are committed to the task. We will continue working through issues and challenges for the remainder of the summer in order to be prepared for a fall semester like no other.”

Among the changes on campus will be campus signage and in classroom expectations, which are intended to keep students and campus community safe. Social distancing will be enforced and shared objects like desks, computers and lab equipment will be disinfected frequently. So will high-traffic areas like entrances and lobbies.

There will also be plastic barriers put up in offices so people can meet face to face.

Water fountains have been disabled but fountains to fill bottles will be available. Masks will be provided and required on campus.

Classrooms will be reconfigured to follow guidance from the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health.

“We are also installing webcams and boundary microphones in our classrooms (so students can meet via Microsoft Teams or Zoom) which will provide greater flexibility to faculty and students and will facilitate virtual engagement,” the letter reads.

“Regardless of the course delivery mode (in-person, online, OULN, hybrid, etc.), our faculty and staff are working to ensure an engaging learning environment for you this fall.”