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Local colleges prepare for students to come back to campus, finding ways to keep them safe

University of Akron
Posted at 6:16 PM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 20:17:24-04

The hustle and bustle of college campuses may not be quite the same come fall.

"We’ll consider wearing masks to school no different than wearing shoes,” said Joseph Urgo, University of Akron’s Interim Senior Vice Provost and acting Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Urgo says in addition to requiring students to wear masks while in class, courses will look much different.

"Getting all of our classes set up to be either fully online, partially online or fully in person,” he said.

Once students leave for Thanksgiving, they will take all final exams, do final papers and projects online.

"Once they go home for Thanksgiving, there's no sense of bringing them back for a short period of time in case they’ve seen lots of people over the holidays, they may have been exposed,” said Urgo.

The University of Akron has 20,000 students while Oberlin College has about 2,900.

When students, faculty and staff return to Oberlin’s campus they will all be required to be tested for the coronavirus and they’ll see some other changes.

"We are going to a three-semester model,” said Oberlin College’s Assistant Vice President of Student Life Adrian Bautista.

Oberlin is also putting physical barriers in place to keep folks safe.

"People want to come back together as a community of learners and so I think faculty, staff students are all excited to be back together,” said Bautista.

At Kent State, many of its students won’t be learning the traditional way. Forty percent of classes will be in person, and 60% online.

At Ashland University, similar to the University of Akron, after Thanksgiving, students will complete all finals at home and come back to campus the following semester.

As we’ve seen over the past couple of months, guidance can change quickly and each college is asking its students, families, faculty and staff for patience.

"We’ll manage as educators, we’ll do what we have to do to make sure that that classroom experience is as vital as ever,” said Urgo.