Hyper-vigilant; Health, safety top priorities for CASNR students this fall
By: Norman Martin
As Texas Tech's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources phases in its reopening plan in advance of a fall semester, there is one question both new and returning students may have: How will their campus-life experience at Texas Tech this year compare to the pre-pandemic experience?
"We are looking forward to bringing classes back to campus in the fall so that students can experience the hands-on learning that CASNR is known for," said CASNR Dean William Brown. "Things will look somewhat different in the fall and it is very important that students are a part of the new semester."
Classes will be delivered in multiple ways; some classes will be delivered in a face-to-face manner; some classes will be delivered in a "hybrid" manner which includes face-to-face and online; some classes will be delivered online. "It's vital that students, faculty and staff are part of the solution for taking responsibility for proper social distancing and other measures to stop the spread of the virus both on and off campus," he said.
One of the most obvious things is that a lot of people are not going to be out and about as much. The campus will not look as populated as it usually does. Some students might be coming to campus only when they need to for classes or the library or the rec center, all while maintaining social distancing.
Still, faculty, staff and others in the campus community are working hard to give CASNR students a full and vibrant collegiate experience. Student organizations, community volunteer and outreach opportunities, and campus events will all continue to be a part of the Texas Tech student experience. The difference is that, now, these experiences will happen with measures designed to ensure the safety of all involved.
Planning will include ways to maintain social distancing, follow guidelines when it comes to personal hygiene, decide which events are virtual and which are in-person, and how to use personal protective equipment like face coverings, which are now mandatory for all students, faculty and staff while on campus.
Two ways new students first become acquainted with life at Texas Tech are Red Raider Orientation and Red Raider Camp. At both, incoming first-year and transfer students meet current students, get information about resources and services available on campus, and learn about university history and traditions. RRO also includes a session with an adviser to learn about and register for courses.
This summer, both look a bit different. RRC (optional for students) has been scaled down to one day, with smaller groups of students in each session, while RRO (mandatory for all students) is now virtual. New students participating in RRO first complete informational virtual orientation modules, followed by an advising session via email, telephone or video chat.
"While our summer orientation experience looks a little different this year, we have appreciated the opportunity to still be able to make connections with our students virtually," said CASNR College Recruiter Shelbey Havens. "We looking forward to seeing these students safely on campus in the Fall."
The final step invites students to participate in Raider Welcome running from Aug. 16-29. The week of free events is open to all students, with more than 150 events in six tracks: academic success, wellness and recreation, social connections, culture and diversity, community involvement and Texas Tech traditions. The hope is that all events can continue as scheduled, and there will be additional safety measures to protect participants and attendees, including following social distancing guidelines and wearing masks.
Student organizations are just one way a student can get connected on campus. Living in a residence hall and working on campus also can provide opportunities to make connections and succeed on campus.
For students living in the residence halls, Tech's Residence Halls Association provides programming and activities that, many times, allow students to come together in the public spaces of their hall. The difference this year will be that RHA events will be designed for smaller groups that will meet in communal spaces that also look different than in the past due to social distancing.
As students, faculty and staff return to campus, CASNR's Associate Dean for Academic and Student Programs Cindy Akers said it's important to remember CASNR's emphasis on personal responsibility and the way one person's behavior and choices can affect others. CASNR and Texas Tech, in general, will approach this situation from a perspective of personal safety, wellness and health.
Contributing Amanda Castro-Crist
CONTACT: William Brown, Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor's Note: A new online, video-orientated Red Raider Orientation is now available for our Fall 2020 incoming students. The microsite features a 'Meet the Deans' introduction, six CASNR department videos, three 'How To' videos, four 'Helpful Links' and a FAQ section.
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Editor: Norman Martin
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