ADA – East Central University is gearing up to reopen for the fall 2020 semester, taking every precaution to protect students, employees and campus visitors while taking a flexible approach to instruction.
“ECU holds as paramount the health, safety and welfare of every member of its community,” President Katricia Pierson wrote in a letter to students and employees. “We will continue to do our part to have a meaningful, productive and safe semester.”
Because the COVID-19 pandemic is still a factor, the on-campus experience will look different from years past. ECU is following local, state and national healthcare guidelines, based primarily on wearing masks in public places and maintaining social distancing protocols at all times.
The City of Ada currently has a mask mandate in place until at least August 3. If and when that expires, ECU will continue to require masks on campus until further notice. Each student and employee will be provided with one washable cloth mask; disposable masks will also be readily available throughout the campus.
Classrooms at ECU have been rearranged to accommodate safe social distancing. Following protocols established in the spring, large gatherings will be prohibited on campus this fall. As of this news release, a decision on fall athletic events has not yet been determined.
Students and employees will also have ready access to disinfectant sprays and protective gloves if they choose to wipe down their work areas. More hand sanitizer stations have been installed on campus and frequent, thorough hand washing – a vital component in preventing the spread of the virus – will continue to be promoted. Students can expect to encounter increased signage as well.
Fall classes, which begin August 17, will include a mixture of in-person and online/virtual instruction. Students are being encouraged to monitor their schedules closely via campus email and the Blackboard lesson planning software utilized by ECU. Students and employees should remain as flexible as possible as circumstances around the pandemic could change quickly and without much notice.
Town hall style meetings with students and employees are also included in plans for the fall semester. These meetings will take place remotely via Zoom teleconferencing software and will likely continue throughout the semester to ensure critical needs are being met. The first round of meetings has been set for July 30.
“We recognize that you are seeking certainty, but none of us can know what the future holds for certain,” Pierson wrote to students. “We can, however, control how we approach the future. ECU is confident that whatever shape the academic and non-academic curriculum takes, it will be an excellent, collegial and productive experience.”
More details about the fall semester are available at www.ecok.edu/returningtocampus.