Face coverings, social distancing and hand hygiene: Panelists emphasized the importance of these actions for a safe reopening of Creighton’s campus while answering questions during the Creighton Students Union virtual town hall addressing COVID-19 and racial injustice.
The event on July 21 followed the July 15 release of a campus reopening guide for the fall semester, which comes as many parts of the U.S. are facing rising cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The guide, developed in part by the Critical Incident Response Team, outlines the campus-wide screening program that includes daily temperature checks and online symptom screening, explains the various options for course delivery and gives a glimpse of what residence halls, to-go dining and even the Kiewit Fitness Center will look like beginning in August.
Face coverings are required in all public spaces on campus, except when a person is eating, exercising or in a private residence. Dr. Carrie Hoarty, director of Student Health Education and Compliance, said that face coverings should be worn in a private residence if a person is around someone they don’t live with for more than 15 minutes and they are unable to social distance.
Hoarty said that testing will occur during move-in and will be focused on students living in residence halls. She recommended that students living off campus who want to get tested should visit TestNebraska.com to schedule a test.
“The reason why we're focusing on individuals in the residence halls is because we know that people who live in higher densities are more likely to have exposure to coronavirus,” Hoarty said.
Tanya Winegard, CIRT leader and vice provost for Student Life, said that students are required to complete daily temperature checks at the front desk of their residence hall and wellness screenings on the Campus Clear app. Students coming from off campus must have their temperature checked at a screening station once they’ve arrived on campus.
If a student is concerned that someone is not complying with Creighton’s social distancing or face covering requirements, Winegard said they should reach out to their RA, file a Student Complaint Form or file an anonymous report using Tell Someone.
About following the community standards, Winegard said, “we really are asking this of our community so that we can stay together as a community for the fall term.”
Winegard also answered questions about course delivery. She said students will be able to find out their class format by viewing their class schedule on the Nest and looking for the following notations: in-person classes will be marked SD100; hybrid classes will be marked SD200; remote classes will be marked SD300; and courses using online instruction will be marked SD400. An email will be sent to students once all courses have been assigned a format.
In response to a question about reduced tuition this semester, Winegard responded in the Zoom Webinar Q&A feature that “Students will be receiving instruction and credit for the courses taken this fall. There are not plans to discount tuition based on the modality of learning.”
She said Creighton would consider going completely online if the Omaha health care system becomes too saturated to deal with the number of local cases or if the bandwidth of Creighton’s isolation and quarantine plan for those who have been exposed or tested positive runs low.
Michele Bogard, associate vice provost for Student Engagement, said that new and returning students will still be able to experience the activities that make Creighton feel like Creighton. She said some Welcome Week activities will continue. Blankets will be distributed for students to sit on to maintain social distancing at outdoor events. She also said volunteering, Fraternity and Sorority Life chapter meetings, Campus Ministry events and other organized activities will continue with needed modifications.
The Kiewit Fitness Center will be open seven days a week, she said, with a limited number of time slots. Machines will be distanced and some equipment will be moved to courts A and B. Bogard said personal training and group fitness classes will continue, as will club sports and intramurals with modifications. The Rasmussen Center will remain closed.
College of Arts and Sciences senior Maggie Sackinsky, who is also the CSU vice president for programming, said that students should try to establish a routine, stay active and communicate their feelings to minimize any feelings of isolation.
Student Counseling Services has telehealth appointments available for counseling and other mental health services, said W. Wayne Young Jr., associate vice provost for Student Development.
Students moving into on-campus housing will move in at a scheduled date and time beginning Aug. 12. Classes are set to begin on Aug. 17 and conclude on Nov. 25.