Brescia dean: ‘Students have really been desperate to be back’

August 19, 2020 | 12:07 am

Updated August 18, 2020 | 10:26 pm

Photo courtesy of Brescia University

Brescia University is officially bustling with life again as small, distanced classes began Tuesday. 

Students are attending in-person classes once weekly on designated days while a small minority of students have chosen to begin the school year entirely virtually, according to Brescia Dean Josh Clary. 

“Overall students have really been desperate to be back on campus,” said Clary, who added that this feeling was magnified for freshmen that finished their senior year of high school online. 

Prior to class, students receive health screening forms via texts or emails each morning so they can self-report possible COVID-19 symptoms. If anyone reports symptoms, university staff contacts the student and directs them to local health resources. 

Face coverings are strictly enforced indoors and outside on Brescia’s campus. Some professors opted to wear face shields so that they could still project their voices. 

“Everyone seems to be complying with the regulations we have,” said Clary, who believes the students understand following public health guidelines is the best option to avoid the shutdowns affecting many U.S. college campuses. 

With an enrollment of about 1,000 students, Brescia might be better able to contain potential outbreaks than the large, party-centric universities, according to Clary. 

Students were encouraged to get tested before returning to campus, but testing was not required. Brescia is directing students who want testing to Saint Camillus Urgent Care in Owensboro during the day and the Owensboro Health Regional Hospital hotline after hours. 

Students living in states with high case counts were required to quarantine for two weeks with family in a different state or to continue quarantining until their state’s cases drop to a safer level. Four students are still waiting to get the clear while managing classes virtually, Clary said. 

Among other safety measures, the university designated entrances and exits in buildings, increased outdoor seating and restricted dining to carry-out only for the first few weeks..

Each classroom is divided into physically distanced seating arrangements, and no classes are scheduled consecutively to allow ample time for cleaning crews to disinfect classrooms. 

Student life is partially yet to be determined. Brescia is hosting student activities this week in limited, signup-only schedules to limit crowds while encouraging student socialization and bonding. 

Wednesday, students will play “survival bingo” for a chance to win toilet paper, cleaning supplies and ramen noodles. Friday, students will take turns singing karaoke in masks. 

“We’re still doing normal college things, just the ways we’re doing them are a bit different,” Clary said.

August 19, 2020 | 12:07 am

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