MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — When students at the University of South Alabama return to campus in the fall, it will be anything but normal… even after President Tony Waldrop laid out a plan for reopening.
This plan laid out encompasses all life on campus, paying extra attention to academics. “The goal has always been to make sure we can bring students back to campus this fall in a way that will protect the health of everyone on campus,” said David Johnson South’s chief academic officer. He went on to tell us the plan laid out came after extensive talks with a committee made up of administrators, faculty and experts at USA Health.
“We are going to call on our students to have a high-quality normal semester as we can, but we have to stay within these parameters in order to protect everybody’s health and we are going to call on the jaguar spirit to have them look out for one another,” Johnson said.
The plan begins with a condensed semester, an early start for courses on August 17, and students not returning to campus after Thanksgiving. Instead, their final exams will be before the holiday, to lessen exposure for the students.
The parameters Johnson mentioned are pretty extensive and include more online courses and coursework, masks, and social distancing being required for those in-person classes. Plus, students will not have a fall break to make up for the condensed semester and to avoid students traveling and contracting the virus.
We spoke with multiple students today, and they do have their concerns with this reopening plan. Tia Nickens, the SGA President at South, said, “The semester is shorter so that is kind of scary. It’s not going to be normal, it is going to be a new kind of normal, at least for a while anyway. So I think it is going to take a lot of adjusting.”
Senior Ben Morris is more concerned for the on-campus amenities, saying, “I have mixed feelings about it, I think the main thing would be is that I wish they would just commit one way or the other because to me just cutting back classes I don’t know how much that solves.”
Both Morris and Nickens however expressed that they understand South is doing all they can for the safety of their students. Nickens said, “It is going to be different, but I think South is making the best of the situation and are doing everything they can.”
USA Housing is also expected to be laying out a plan for students living on campus which they plan on releasing soon, which could include move-ins happening over a period of 10 days.
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