Augustana implementing ‘Viking Flex Plan’ during pandemic
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Classes start back up at Augustana University on August 26th. The university will be implementing its "Viking Flex Plan" to help with social distancing and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students will notice some changes. In most classrooms, the capacity will be cut in half. And the goal is to keep students spaced out.
“Our facilities director has done a phenomenal job of increasing airflow and making sure the rooms are safe,” said Joni Krueger, Registrar and Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Programs.
“Everybody will have masks on. We have hand sanitizer at the front of the room for when students enter and when they leave.”
Face shields may also be used at certain times. For an extra layer of protection, teachers will stand behind plexiglass.
There will also be 20 minutes between classes instead of ten. This will give faculty time to spray down their classroom with a product that kills germs.
Each classroom has a camera so students can watch over Zoom.
“We are strongly encouraging and basically mandating our students. If you are not feeling well, if you have a fever, if you have a cough, your job is to stay home or stay in your room and watch your class online,” said Krueger.
Teachers and staff believe these measures will be effective in preventing COVID-19.
“As long as the students are smart when they aren’t in the classroom. I’m not worried about my students getting sick while they are on campus. I’m worried about what they are doing when they are not on campus,” said Paul Egland, Department Chair of the Biology Department.
Augustana will also be utilizing their outdoor classroom more this year to help with social distancing.
“One of the great things about teaching outside is that you really already have social distancing. We’ve got this constant prairie breeze that comes through here so we’ve got really good air circulation. We’ve got the sunlight as we know is a great disinfectant,” said David O’Hara Associate Professor of Philosophy.
Students can even sit on the grass to spread out even more. Come rain or shine O'Hara says he will use this outdoor classroom.
“I’m an environmental studies professor, so my parameters for weather are if the weather doesn’t kill you, I’m still willing to teach outside,” said O’Hara.
Whatever it takes to get students safely back to campus this school year.
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