Oglethorpe University and Georgia State University’s Perimeter College plan to reopen their campuses for the fall semester with a mix of in-person instruction and remote learning.
Georgia State University lists its fall semester starting on Aug. 24, including for Perimeter College’s Dunwoody campus. Brookhaven-based Oglethorpe pushed back its reopening until Sept. 8 to give staff and faculty time to prepare for the blended learning plan and to create disinfecting procedures.
Seating will be limited to 50% of students for classes that meet two days per week, and 33% per day for classes that meet three days per week. If a class meets once a week, the class will be split in half, with each group attending in person every other week.
More than 1,500 of Georgia State’s instructors have developed online course materials since April through the Mastering Online Teaching instruction, the university reported. Those materials can be used in the blended delivery courses.
A few classes may be small enough to fully meet in-person. And courses scheduled for online learning will remain in that format.
“To allow for greater social distancing, the physical capacities in classrooms will be modified, resulting in many classes being split to allow half the class to attend in-person and the other half remotely on alternating days,” Oglethorpe announced in its May 20 COVID-19 update.
Converting some small classrooms into studios will create spaces for faculty to record lectures for students to watch. Teachers will be trained and certified for remote learning.
In classrooms, seating will be reduced and some classrooms with tables will have Plexiglas barriers installed between seats.
Non-classrooms spaces such as the theater and the auditorium may get turned into classrooms. Their larger sizes will allow large class sizes of 100 and 75 capacity, respectively.
All capacities are subject to change and are listed on Oglethorpe University’s new COVID-19 website.
Oglethorpe plans to provide COVID-19 testing for the campus community and has a tentative agreement with Peachtree Immediate Care. The university plans to set up the capability to do mass testing and testing. Standard and rapid tests will be made available by the Emory Healthcare organization.
Disinfecting entire buildings will be made possible with the seven disinfecting foggers purchased by Oglethorpe.
The campus will have 175 hand sanitizing foam/gel stations and 55 hand sanitizing wipe dispensers that will soon be installed. All public doors will get hands-free door pulls. HVAC filters designed for hospital inpatient care settings and designed to filter out all bacteria will be installed.
Oglethorpe continues to order personal protective equipment for employees and students. Employees will get “return to work” kits that include masks, hand sanitizer/wipes, a no-touch surface tool and an information placard.
The fall semester calendar looks significantly different than previous years’ schedules. A later start allows the university more time to prepare the facilities and technology. With the late start other changes will be necessary, including elimination of a fall break and holding classes on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week.
Oglethorpe expects to return to a normal schedule for the spring semester. Commencements 2020 and 2021 are scheduled to take place within a week of each other in May 2021.