Face masks, social distancing highlight CASNR’s first day of classes
By: George Watson
In many ways, first day of classes for Texas Tech College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources students looked like many others in its 95-year history – students trying to find classes, places to park, catching the bus or finding something to eat before beginning the day. In reality, it was unlike any other first day any of the students, or any others who have walked the campus, have ever experienced.
"This will be a very different semester compared to any we have experienced, and it is up to each of us to make sure we stay safe," said CASNR Dean William Brown. "As I have walked the campus on the initial two days of classes, things look good although there seem to be fewer students moving between buildings as compared to a normal fall semester. It is good to hear the band playing."
Policies and procedures implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic have forced changes in how and where classes were delivered. Prior to classes beginning, Texas Tech and CASNR implemented stringent guidelines for students, faculty and staff, as well as social-distancing and classroom cleaning policies. The hope is to prevent and mitigate any spread of the coronavirus that caused the campus to be shut down in the spring and all learning modalities moved online.
On Monday (Aug. 24), Texas Tech officials reported that 61% of all classes being taught at the university for the fall semester have some degree of face-to-face instruction, 24% of that being hybrid with a mixture of face-to-face and online. For first-year students, 72% of classes offered some degree of face-to-face instruction.
In addition, the university has continued its rise in student retention; a sign that student success has been maintained in spite of COVID-19. First-year retention has increased by 1% over a year ago to nearly 88% and second-year retention is up 2%.
Ensuring the campus remains open and students continue to be able to learn in person has been the focus of the administration since the campus closed in March. Texas Tech has created an online dashboard to track the number of positive cases reported by students, faculty and staff. Visit the university's new Texas Tech Commitment page and the TTU COVID-19 page for information on updates and prevention guidelines.
Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec is confident the compliance shown on the first day of classes will extend throughout the semester, but reiterated the university is prepared to change if necessary. He said, however, that rather than a massive return to online like last spring, they have planned for different scenarios that include the idea of 'micro closures,' or a limited time period.
CONTACT: William Brown, Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or firstname.lastname@example.org