SEARCY, Ark. – Next week thousands of students will head to Harding University’s campus for the fall semester. This year, however, classes and campus life is going to look very different.
Harding University has a task force that has been meeting at least once a week since the spring. They are monitoring the pandemic and making changes as needed. So far, only 200 students have decided to go strictly virtual. That’s why campus leaders are working to make sure students who want to be on campus get to stay there.
Typically Harding has a move-in weekend and the campus is packed full of students and parents. Harding University Communications and Enrollment Vice President Jana Rucker said because of the pandemic, the move-in day turned into a move-in week.
“We have designated groups of students who are coming at different times throughout the entire week all the way through Sunday,” Rucker said.
The orientation is now online and focuses on things like hand washing and social distancing.
“We had all of our students sent a health and hygiene video that explains all of those things and what a close contact is and to avoid having too many close contacts,” Rucker said.
Once students actually hit the halls, they’ll see signs requiring face masks on every entrance, social distancing markers on the ground, hand sanitizer on every corner, and even plexiglass in every classroom.
“Face masks are required in the presence of others. Everything will be distanced everything will be spaced,” Rucker said.
Students will also be asked to screen themselves everyday before leaving their dorms or apartments.
“Everyone is asked to bring a thermometer so they can take their temperature every day. Most of us when we start feeling a little sick we keep going and that’s different,” Rucker said.
Even with these precautions, staff know at this level it’s up to the students to follow the guidelines.
“We’re doing everything we can to be in a situation where we don’t jeopardize that and keep not only our students healthy but our employees healthy and our community,” Rucker said.
Harding canceled fall break to limit travel. They are also discouraging students from having family come to visit. Students will go home for Thanksgiving break and end with remote learning. To see a full list of precautions and changes this fall you can visit Harding University’s website.