Changes on campus due to COVID-19

Jade Ellis

Jellis2@uccs.edu

Sept. 9, 2020

Classes have resumed, and it has become clear that this school year will be unlike any other. Several members of the UCCS community have shared insight on how campus has changed to create a safe and healthy environment in the time of COVID-19. 

     According to Director of Student Employment Shannon Cable, student employment has “woken back up” this fall. Most student employees were furloughed or laid off over the summer. “I am happy to say for the fall semester that student employment positions are being rehired and being posted on Student Employment UCCS (SEAN).”   

     New students are being hired, and there are no departmental limits on the number of students that can be rehired except for the amount that each department’s budget can sustain. Cable described this as a “refreshing change” to see students going back to work. 

    For the jobs that are still able to be performed on-campus, as opposed to remotely, students must adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines followed by all UCCS faculty and staff. These guidelines include taking the return to work training on Skillsoft and completing daily health checks before coming onto campus.   

     Cable also said that each department has created a return to work plan that ensures the safety of workers. These plans include protocols such as keeping the six-feet social distancing, having limited number of people in certain areas, wearing face masks and maintaining safety barriers between individuals.  

Two students sitting across from each other at a table and wearing face masks.
Students social distancing and wearing face masks in the library. Photo courtesy of Communique.

     Student Life is also taking a different approach this semester. According to Jon Bogh, the coordinator of civic engagement within Student Life, they are taking a “holistic view of all the events done in the past and adapting to be either socially distant, virtual or bring something new to fill in that gap.”  

     Student Government Association (SGA) will also be fully online while still following the same guidelines of allowing the public to attend meetings.  

     As far as student clubs and organizations, standard COVID-19 restrictions still apply. “We still encourage clubs to meet while being safe,” Bogh said. “If they can hold their meeting outside to social distance, while allowing more people to attend, that’s great.”  

     Though it may take more coordination, clubs can still hold meetings and events, and are encouraged to carry on their functions. Bogh further reiterated that if any student has questions related to student government, activities or clubs, then they should contact Student Life.  

     The Ent Center has also changed operations this year. Interim Director of the Ent Center Chad Garland wrote via email, “It was decided early in the summer that our three programming organizations [GOCA, Theatreworks, and the Artist Series] would not provide in-person programming during the Fall Semester.”   

     Some in-person classes will still be held in the Ent Center. “Just as in prior years, the music program and theater and dance program within the visual and performing arts (VAPA) department make up the majority of classes that are occurring,” Garland wrote. “This year we are also hosting classes from the communication department and military sciences because they needed larger class spaces to accommodate social distancing requirements.”  

     Students are still allowed to use the Ent Center as a place to study and relax but must following COVID-19 guidelines by wearing masks, practicing social distancing, not moving furniture and washing hands frequently.  

     Freshman Bailey Linna has seen less student involvement during the first few weeks of class, although she already anticipated an unusual experience. “I do not know if it is because people have to wear masks or are scared of COVID in general, but at the events I have been to, there is generally no lines and people do the activities then leave,” she said. “There is less socialization and at times, it can be isolating or lonely.”   

     Linna expressed that if more people would attend the on-campus events, they would improve.  

     She also said that the masks have created a barrier when asked about her experience living on-campus. People are fearful to leave their rooms, and it is harder to meet new people. Though she is excited for the campus events, it is different from what she expected.  

     Students and staff alike are attempting to have a successful school year despite these changes by protecting the health of the campus.