College campuses opening up

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B-CU, Daytona State and ERAU are scheduled to start classes next month.

The Volusia Bethune-Cookman University Alumni Chapter gave school items and support to local freshman scholarship recipients on July 25. The new B-CU students are Alexandria Orey, a 2020 graduate of Atlantic High School, and Trey Simpson, a 2020 graduate of Mainland High School.

DUANE C. FERNANDEZ SR./HARDNOTTSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

The coronavirus pandemic shut down colleges and universities back in March, which resulted in schools across the nation moving to online learning for spring and summer semester classes. As August creeps upon us, the start of another academic year is also approaching.

Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU), Daytona State College (DSC) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), all located in Daytona Beach, are set to begin classes next month.

B-CU is scheduled to start classes on Aug.17 while EmbryRiddle and Daytona State will on Aug. 24.

Enhanced precautions

Despite providing online options, all three institutions of higher learning plan on having
students on campus in classes this fall.

“We’re excited about welcoming our students back to campus. My hope is that everyone and their families are safe, healthy, and well during this trying time,” said B-CU president, Dr. E. LaBrent Chrite in a video on the school’s website.

There will, of course, be enhanced safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as well as to keep students, faculty, and staff members safe.

“Embry-Riddle is leveraging its famously strict aviation safety culture to reduce risks for students, faculty, staff, and our local community,” said Ginger Pinholster, associate vice
president of News & Research Communications at ERAU.

Masks, smaller classes

B-CU is doing the following, according to the reopening plan on its website: enhanced cleaning and sanitation; daily temperature checks with infrared thermometers; limiting
dorm visits; face coverings for students, staff, faculty; rotating shifts for all employees and staff; protective barriers; personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves; training for faculty and staff, and more.

“Classes will be smaller, and more classes will be extended to night to ensure social distancing and safety,” added Chrite.

DSC will provide a mix of online and on-campus options. Some safety protocols put in place are as follows: requiring face masks, enhanced cleaning and sanitizing, signage in buildings promoting social distancing, and appointments conducted via email, phone, live chats or in person.

Wellness checks and more

ERAU has put in safety measures, including eliminating triple rooms in dorms and providing alternative living spaces; installed floor markers, signage and Plexiglas barriers; requiring face coverings, physical distancing, and daily wellness checks.

Pinholster added, “Further, President (Dr. P. Barry) Butler has said that everyone in our community has a responsibility to remind others if they forget the guidelines. Safety is
part of Embry-Riddle’s culture. We will not make exceptions. Some students will move into the Courtyard by Marriott that is adjacent to campus.”

‘Logistical and academic’

Schools admit that there are challenges to doing their mission and keeping everyone safe.

“COVID-19 has caused mass interruptions to higher education. For institutions like B-CU the new normal rest upon the convergence of public health, economics and our commitment to ensuring our students economic progress. The pandemic has caused unprecedent challenges for B-CU,” commented Chrite.

Pinholster explained, “It’s both logistical and academic. Our logistics team has been working hard to implement President Butler’s Path Forward plan and best practices guidelines.

“For example, we have been installing many Plexiglas barriers and social distancing floor markers and other signage. We have also established daily wellness check stations and a Covid-19 testing strategy.

“On the academic side our instructors at EmbryRiddle have completed extensive training over the summer to ensure they will be ready to deliver educational content face to face,
or online, using a variety of teaching methods and tools.’’ Pinholster added.

Public schools too

Also returning to school next month is the local public school system. Volusia County schools will start classes on Aug. 31 while Flagler County will on Aug. 24. Parents have three options, including on-campus traditional learning, online virtual remote live learning and traditional online virtual at home school.

ERAU’s plan can be found on its website www.erau.edu/coronavirus

B-CU’s plan can be found at www.cookkman.edu/covid

DSC’s plan can be found at www.DaytonaState.edu/reconnect

Daytona State College did not respond to requests for information by the Daytona Times’ Wednesday night deadline.

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