As college students and their parents seek peace of mind and silver linings during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kent State University Geauga and Twinsburg Academic Center offers a measure of both.
By establishing a robust set of safety protocols, instructional options, Wi-Fi connectivity and financial relief, faculty and staff at the Geauga and Twinsburg locations are prepared to welcome an upsurge of students to Fall semester 2020 when classes begin on August 27. “We have actually seen an increase of about 10% of transfer students from other colleges for the Fall 2020 semester,” says Amy Murfello, Marketing & Community Engagement Manager. “Our messaging to current and prospective students during the pandemic has been that we are close to home, affordable and safe. Stay close to home while completing your degree.”
OPTIONS, ACCESSIBILITY & ASSISTANCE
Murfello adds, if a student’s four-year university is planning 100% online or remote courses, they can take remote/online classes at Kent State Geauga for an affordable rate. Kent State Geauga students can choose classes that will be 100% online, 100% in-person, 100% remote, or a hybrid option with some in-person and some remote instruction. Tuition rates vary, depending on the instructional delivery method. In order to increase student access to online learning, Angela Spalsbury, Kent State Geauga and Twinsburg Academic Center Dean and Chief Administrative Officer, says, “Our IT departments across the entire system worked together on installing Wi-Fi internet access in our parking lots for those students who do not have access at home. Further, a grant received from the Lake-Geauga Fund of the Cleveland Foundation allowed us to award students who were experiencing financial hardships monetary awards to help pay rent, car payments, or to simply put food on their tables for their families.”
SAFETY ASSURANCES ON CAMPUS
Students choosing in-person classes at Kent State Geauga and Twinsburg locations will see that new campus culture is reinforcing the Flashes Safe Seven principles which guide health and safety measures. Prominent signage reminds everyone about social distancing, one-way entries, the Flashes Safe Seven principles, hand-washing guidance and more. Social distancing is reinforced in each classroom. Face shields are being provided in nursing skills and simulation labs, where social distancing is not possible.
During the first week of classes, students will be greeted by welcome stations providing Flashes Take Care of Flashes welcome kits that contain:
* Flashes Safe Seven Postcard
* Student Pledge Card
* Two washable face coverings
* Forehead thermometer strips
* Antibacterial hand sanitizer gel
* Sanitizing wipes
* Clean key
* Drawstring bag
Sanitization stations have been installed around both locations, containing antibacterial spray, gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and towels for faculty and staff to sanitize desks, copy machines, phones and other shared contact surfaces. The general public has access to hand cleaner and wipes throughout campus.
In the event that someone on campus becomes infected with the virus, a Pandemic Response Team at the Kent Campus and regional counterparts will follow local and state health department guidelines. “We have met with the Summit County and Geauga County Health Departments with our campus’ leadership team to be clear on protocols if cases begin to surge or if we have a positive case on campus,” Dr. Spalsbury says.
FLASHES TAKE CARE OF FLASHES
The seventh principle in the Flashes Safe Seven is “Flashes Take Care of Flashes.” This final actionable step characterizes the overall ethic at work at Kent State University. “Kent State may be the best university to attend and work for in America right now,” comments Kent State Geauga Assistant Professor of English, Bonnie Shaker, Ph.D. “Our College of Public Health is driving decisions, and our administration, faculty, and staff are intensely involved in discussions. There is no shortage of technological training or support for faculty to teach remotely or resource allocation for students.”
“As our entire campus community — and honestly, the entire world — is going through the same situation, we all need to remember our Kent State Priority to demonstrate kindness and respect in all that we do,” shares Dr. Spalsbury.
“While faculty members have been taking summer courses on how to teach remotely and still make the students’ experience a worthwhile experience, staff and administrators have been working diligently to prepare campuses for the return of students to be sure all feel safe and welcomed upon their arrival.” Spalsbury continued.
Flashes take care of Flashes. It’s a silver lining you can count on.