App State announces changes to classroom life amid COVID-19

Emily Broyles and Xanayra Marin-Lopez

Classroom safety and disinfecting are some of App State’s plans currently being implemented. Any available room space on campus will be used as classrooms to accommodate physical distancing. (Xanayra Marin-Lopez)

Sanitation stations and additional, larger classroom spaces are just some of the accommodations students will encounter entering the fall 2020 semester, according to a university email.

The email stated App State’s Project Management and Implementation Team will update students and faculty weekly on working toward daily operations and returning to classrooms Aug. 17

“As we return, campus will look and operate differently in order to maintain the safest possible learning and work environment. Enhanced health and safety practices and physical changes are being phased in now and will be fully implemented prior to the start of the fall 2020 semester,” the email stated. 

With classroom safety, cleaning and disinfecting, and an updated positive case dashboard being some of the implemented plans, here are some ways App State is looking to adjust for the fall semester. 

  • 50 temporary custodial workers will join staff in August to clean “high traffic areas.”
  • Hospital-grade disinfectant will be provided and restocked in all departments.
  • Classrooms will be cleaned multiple times a day. Laboratory cleaning plans are in progress.
  • 300 sanitation stations will be installed, mainly in entrances and exits of academic buildings.
  • Classroom furniture will be reorganized to accommodate physical distancing among students and faculty 

Available space on campus, including Plemmons Student Union and other conference rooms on campus will be used as classrooms to accommodate physical distancing

 

Some students voiced their concerns for next year’s plans on Facebook group App State Classifieds. Alex Cardwell said she is worried that her work schedule will be affected if her class times change. 

“If I have to change my work schedule, I can’t afford my life,” Cardwell said.

Cardwell said App State should offer an online option, saying that she picks her classes based on her work and own needs. 

App State announced its intention to hold in-person classes in an email May 22. The university said some classes could be switched to a different time, classroom or hybrid type of instruction. A small percentage of classes could move completely online, according to an email Mark Ginn, vice provost for undergraduate education, sent to students.

Finance major Lisa Conforti said, “I’m not getting the education and resources I was promised and don’t succeed in an online setting when it comes to my major.”

Full-time student and mom Brandi Pastusic said that when looking at her class schedule today, one of her classes changed to a TBA status. This change left her uncertain as well as a hole in her schedule.

“I set my classes to allow me to be able to fill all these roles and still have time for myself somewhere in the mix,” Pastusic said. “So this change to an unknown is not okay. I know Appalachian State can do better than this.”

Updates on face coverings, the campus housing move-in process and high risk identification are to come, the university said in an email.