by Raneen El-Barbarawi / Assistant Editor
Since being mainly online at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Roosevelt University has announced that they will be transitioning back to in-person classes next semester.
Through maintaining strict COVID-19 guidelines such as social distancing, hand sanitizing, wearing masks and vaccination requirements, Roosevelt’s faculty and staff ensured a smooth transition for the 2021-2022 academic school year.
The COVID response committee at Roosevelt University – which includes Dr. Michael Ford, a vice president and chief of staff as well as assistant secretary to the board of trustees, and Dr. Melissa Hogan, dean of the college of science, health and pharmacy departments — discussed the logistics of transitioning to in-person courses in the fall.
The committee explained that with more students getting vaccinated and a continuous positive trend in cases both locally and nationwide, Roosevelt plans to offer more face-to-face classes.
As far as which courses will return in-person, the committee said, “decisions as to course delivery format will be made on a course-by-course basis, considering content and support services that are best offered face-to-face.” They said that decisions will be made based on factors such as classroom size and capacity limits that will need to comply with current state and federal guidelines.
Jabreah Driver, an incoming senior psychology major, said, “I feel like returning back to in-person classes would be good for learning wise, but not safety.”
With the emphasis of vaccines and Roosevelt offering students the chance to get vaccinated on campus, more opportunities for in-person classes have arisen.
Jazmine Ross, a senior associate director of undergraduate admission, said that the Admissions Office has had to make adjustments since the start of the pandemic.
“For the past year, the Roosevelt community, just like most of the world, has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” Ross said. “For admissions, this has meant that we have to exclusively be remote and have limited in-person interactions with prospective students, families and university partners.”
Ross said that they have had to rely on virtual college fairs, school visits and appointments via Zoom and phone to help guide prospective students and their families through the application, admission and enrollment processes.
“Through this difficult time, we have been able to leverage technology to better serve prospective students,” she said.
For instance, Ross said that the Admissions Office introduced a virtual college tour which gave a comprehensive tour of Roosevelt’s campus through videos and pictures. She also said that they’ve converted most of their in-person events – such as info sessions, admitted students days and new student registration sessions – into virtual ones.
Ross said that their attempts to return back to in-person interactions began this April, when they allowed incoming students to do in-person tours of the campus. She said that these tours are only available by appointment and can consist of one student and up to three guests. She also said that they must adhere to health and safety guidelines, such as wearing face masks at all times and completing the health self-assessment questionnaire via the Roosevelt app or through the computers in the lobbies before moving past security checkpoints.
“Roosevelt is handling COVID in a good manner by making sure we complete the self-assessment upon entrance and ensuring proper social distancing and mask procedures,” said Driver, adding that she now enjoys online classes after adjusting to them.
“In a face-to-face course, it is expected that students will attend the course on campus. However, we understand students may have legitimate reasons or medical exceptions to doing so. The protocols and expectations are being developed to minimize the disruption to student learning,” the committee added.
On top of following COVID-19 safety protocols, the COVID response committee said that students will need to fill out the self-assessment and have a routine testing of unvaccinated students. They also said that students who plan to be on campus will need to be fully vaccinated starting in the fall. Proof of vaccination will also be required, which applies to all Roosevelt campus locations. Students who will not be on campus at all are not required to provide proof of vaccination.
“Roosevelt understands the incredible importance of in-person learning. Returning to in-person classes gives students more opportunities to build those close connections with their fellow students and faculty as well as return a sense of normalcy after more than a year away from campus,” the committee said. “However, it is important to do so in a safe and responsible manner and we will be ready to make adjustments as needed.”
“We’re excited for the future and returning to a state of normalcy, but in the meantime, we’ll continue to be cautious and make sure that we’re protecting our current students, staff and faculty, as well as our prospective students and guests,” Ross added.