By Madeline Alvarez, Sports Editor
Classes are back in session this week after a two-week Spring Break, but things are looking a little different since the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the university to stop holding in-person classes.
After the university announced the decision on March 17 to discontinue in-person classes for the rest of the semester, professors spent their breaks having to work on a plan for transition.
Many teachers have chosen to move their lectures to Zoom, a website that provides access to video conferences.
Dean of Education Cameron Carlson said that the university’s instructional designer Sara Huter provided training to faculty members to get their courses up and running online.
“I think everybody’s just done a great job of being as prepared as they can be for today,” he said on Monday.
Carlson said that education majors who are currently student teaching are still working with the district that they were assigned to so they can continue teaching their students.
Students are able to compare how each school district is handling the situation, he said.
“Right now in the short term, it affects just making sure that the students can contain that connection that they're supposed to be responsible for during student teaching…” he said.
Director of Nursing Teresa Vetter said that many of the nursing faculty will be making use of Zoom, hosting video conferences at the regular class times.
The biggest challenge for the nursing and allied health programs, Vetter said, has been trying to provide clinical experience for their students since the hospitals suspended student involvement.
“It's been somewhat difficult for us to be able to get that done and help students move towards completing this semester,” she said.
Vetter said that none of the students are doing clinicals right now, but the senior nursing students and the senior graduate students in the nurse anesthesia program will be able to complete their clinicals at Wesley Medical Center. The senior nursing students should still be able to graduate this year, Vetter said.
“We've had some facilities that are working with us on being able to allow that limited number of students to come into clinicals, and then within those clinical studying, they're limiting their exposures to what they can do also to try to decrease any risk to them from the COVID-19,” she said.
The junior nursing students will not be able to go to clinicals now. However, all of the nursing students will be able to get some clinical experience through an online service called Kaplan, Vetter said.
“They won’t be...interacting with a real person,” Vetter said, “but through these virtual experiences, they will be doing the pieces that are what makes you a nurse.”
The fine arts department has found another way to adapt to changes.
MultiPLAYcity, a festival of one-act plays directed by students taking Director of Theatre Mark Mannette’s Directing 2 class, would have taken place April 2-4. Due to the change to online classes, the event will no longer happen, Mannette said, but the students will still be required to complete their projects, whether that be through film or radio format instead of live plays.
Mannette also teaches Intro to Theatre, and one of the original assignments would have been for students to write and perform plays together as a group project. Mannette said that he is trying to work out a way for students to present them through Zoom, even though the format will look different.
“I'm still expecting students to figure out creative ways to overcome the obstacles and just deliver the assignments in a slightly different way,” Mannette said.
He is also utilizing Canvas for students to turn in their written assignments there.
“I think that this is a difficult time for everybody,” he said. “It certainly forces us to shift our perspective a little bit and adapt to a new circumstance….I think a lot of people are disappointed and saddened, but I think also a lot of people understand that this is kind of what we have to do so that the virus doesn't get worse where we are.”
Courtesy Photo provided by Newman Advancement