Cost of COVID: area universities adapt to new learning modules

After making a lot of changes to the classroom in light of COVID-19, many area schools are approaching the mid-point in their semester.

“We’re very safe at the moment, but again, our faculty, staff and students have taken this very serious,” said Melody Blake, the provost at Wesleyan College.

COVID-19 has changed higher education classrooms across the country.

“We have an owl here which allows our students who are isolating or in quarantine to join the classroom virtually.”

New technology for online instruction and socially distanced classrooms for in-person learning…

“We’re trying to provide opportunities in different ways,” says Jennifer Brannon, the vice president of student affairs at Middle Georgia State University.

“Things have changed this semester. We have a lot of students who are taking all their classes online and we have some students who are partially online, kind of hybrid classes.”

Faculty and staff have created various learning options to keep enrollment steady. At Wesleyan College, a largely international student body presented a different hurdle.

“A lot of students unfortunately, international students, were not able to get back into the country. The students who were able to make it back on campus, we asked them to quarantine for two weeks before they joined back into classes,” said Blake.

Still, with both schools at least offering the option for in-person instruction, the key to keeping students in the seats is keeping COVID-19 out of the classroom.

“When we came back we did have a little bit of spike, but not much. But we really were down to very few cases left on campus. We’ve done a lot of the COVID progressions that most colleges and universities have done, obviously wearing face masks, we’ve socially distance classrooms, we’ve limited class sizes,” said Blake.

“I’m excited we’re still on campus and still working through this semester. I think folks are adapting pretty well,” said Brannon.

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