KWC, OCTC begin classes amid new COVID-19 environment

August 18, 2020 | 12:08 am

Updated August 17, 2020 | 11:17 pm

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Students sported fresh haircuts and new wardrobes, and there was an air of excitement on the campuses of Kentucky Wesleyan College and Owensboro Community and Technical College during the official return to classes Monday. 

“Even though it’s different, it’s still the first day of school,” said Bernie Hale, OCTC communications director. “We’re trying to adjust to our new normal.” 

At OCTC, that new normal included masks, social distancing and staffed stations outside campus facilities where students are screened with health questions and offered temperature checks. OCTC plans to hire more staff to operate these stations. 

Students seemed agreeable with the requirements and eager to socialize, according to Hale, who said Monday “went much better than anticipated.” 

In addition to masks and distancing mandates, KWC requires students to fill out “daily health checks” online each morning to show their professors before entering the limited-occupancy classrooms. 

“It was a new environment with everyone masked up and physically distancing but overall it went really well,” KWC Vice President of Student Affairs Rebecca McQueen-Ruark said about the first day of classes. “The students are really excited to be back. There was good energy on campus today.” 

KWC is also providing every student with a purple camping chair to encourage students to eat lunch outside. Most campus programming will also be “bring your own chair” events. 

“It’s been great to encourage them to be outside,” McQueen-Ruark said.   

Both campuses are offering face-to-face classes, remote classes and hybrid classes. Each class is designed to easily transition fully online if individual students choose to quarantine or in case of an outbreak.   

“The faculty worked all summer so that classes could be taught 100 percent remotely,” McQueen-Ruark said. 

Students have not been required to be tested for COVID-19 at either campus. 

Both campuses are also directing traffic flow in single directions in hallways, stairways and elevators to limit contact. And there are markers in place to identify appropriate distance. 

“Six feet is longer than most people think,” Hale said. 

Brescia University resumes classes Tuesday, and Western Kentucky University-Owensboro begins classes next week. 


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August 18, 2020 | 12:08 am

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