Socially distant on-campus study set-ups

Adam Rubin

Fall semester 2020 is new territory for all Wildcats. WSU has been health-consciously preparing for the annual influx of fall students. Integrating both traditional and new academic practices during this socially-restrictive pandemic has taken a lot of preparation on WSU’s behalf. Here are some guidelines, resources and changes that will allow students to safely study while on campus.

Aisles are prepared for social distancing at the Wildcat Store for students purchasing supplies and books. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

For health-considerate studying, students will be required to wear masks while in any outside common areas and in close proximity to others, as well as in all buildings, elevators, classrooms, bathrooms, etc.

Wildcard Services and Information Center has plexiglass installed and stickers on the floor for students to practice social distancing on campus. It is located inside the Shepard Union. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)
Wildcard Services and Information Center has plexiglass installed and stickers on the floor for students to practice social distancing on campus. It is located inside the Shepard Union. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

In accordance with WSU’s initiative to keep the Wildcat Family as healthy as possible, the only places not regulated to study with a mask on are in your car and outside while nobody is close around.

As the semester gets underway, WSU will, if need be, put up tents around the clock tower for outside studying.

According to the Masks Up campaign, on WSU’s visual breakdown of the new mask regulations, it’s important to bring a mask even if students don’t intend on being around anyone.

Stickers are placed on the floor of the Wildcat Store to help students practice social distancing. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

If you are not outside or in your car, there are some available drop-in locations, including the Shepherd Union Building, Student Services Center and Davis Campus Common Spaces. Due to the necessity for cleanliness, some hours of operation may have changed since last spring.

“Wearing a mask, we know, really does have a positive effect in limiting the spread of the virus,” President Brad Mortensen said during the Pre-Fall Student Town Hall on Aug. 17. “So we ask for all of you to help us comply with this and to be good campus citizens.”

Another concern is limiting the gatherings of groups. In all the drop-in locations, the seating is now spread out and students are encouraged to order their food online. This will allow for smaller lines and quicker processing of orders. Aside from dining, many of WSU’s services are going cashless this semester.

“All of our spaces are safe as long as you wash your hands, wear a mask and keep a distance from people,” said Molly Ward, Director of the Student Union building. “We have moved a lot of furniture so that people don’t congregate in groups; I like the individual chairs with desks in the Bell Tower lounge by SIL.”

There will also be select places that students may reserve to study safely in and attend virtual class, if needed, on campus. Priority will go to those students who have stacked classes and will have to go from, for example, a face-to-face class directly to another virtual class 10 or 15 minutes after. These spaces will be available for all students once the semester starts and things become more fluid.

Students with stacked schedules will receive an announcement email with the ability to click a link, go to a website and then select a room and a timeslot. Some of these areas include the library, empty classrooms, Austad Auditiorium and, soon to come, the Sky Suites in Steward Stadium and the concourse at the Dee Events Center.

According to John Kowalewski, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, it’s priority for everyone on campus to stay home if feeling sick, to practice social distancing, wear face coverings, practice good personal hygiene and self-report if diagnosed with COVID-19.