How Washburn University is changing classrooms this semester

Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 10:35 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - College campuses are making big changes before students head back to class - those packed lecture halls are among things that had to change first in the face of COVID-19.

Washburn University has already begun shifting classrooms and lecture halls to more socially-distant layouts.

“There are 19 in this classroom as it is laid out right now, and typically there are 53,” said Washburn’s Project Coordinator of Facilities, Tamara Hampton.

Halving fewer students in classrooms doesn’t mean less enrollment - it’s just a shift in strategy.

“We will be going every two or three chairs and saran-wrapping around the arms of the chairs,” Hampton said.

Staff have started spacing desks at least six feet apart - blocking off chairs with plastic wrap in some rooms - and spreading out into new ones.

“For instance, the nursing classroom, we’ve removed the moving shelving that typically would house books in the first floor of the library, and we’re putting in those desks so that the nursing class will have a large enough space,” she said.

The other students won’t have trouble finding seats. Washburn’s hybrid curriculum will put students in seats half the time - for the other half, they’ll tune in online.

Masks are mandatory.

“Inside and outside. Right now the policy is in the building, but even outside if you can’t social-distance, for instance on sidewalks or anywhere then masks are required,” Hampton said.

Every classroom will have it’s own cleaning supplies for staff and students.

Floor stickers serve as reminders to stay distanced. ”Just to keep everyone spaced out,” Hampton said.

And plexiglass protects office workers...>

Common spaces have been limited too - for example at the unions corner market - you'll find just one chair at each table...

You can see the full list of changes

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