One of the most challenging semesters Utica College has ever faced is almost complete, and now the administration is slowly turning their attention to what the spring semester will look like.
The campus is seeing success with the precautions taken against the virus. But UC is still anticipating being partly online for the spring semester to keep the number of COVID-19 cases low.
Shad Crowe, vice president for emergency management says the upcoming semester is still an unknown target in terms of updated testing and if there will be a vaccine.
“We’ve been very successful, with that being said we are not going to plan for anything other than what is happening right now,” Crowe said. “In other words, we’re going to continue with the current testing regiment.”
Crowe said the same protocols will remain in place until there is a safe and healthy environment for students. This means students still have to be tested every week, follow social-distancing in academic buildings, in the dining hall and keep the mix of hybrid classes to limit how many students are on campus at once.
Crowe is hoping that in the spring, restrictions will be able to loosen up but that is dependent on certain factors.
“We’re hoping we can maybe relax some of those restrictions but again that all depends on the virus and how prevalent it is moving forward into the spring semester,” he said.
Crowe is hoping for a sense of normalcy at the college. He acknowledged that these restrictions might be uncomfortable to follow but says it’s a lot better than not having a college experience and that students will be able to stay on campus this way.
Most colleges are either already online or shifting to online classes but Utica College is pushing through that barrier to stay open. Crowe thinks that UC is handling the virus at a better rate than other schools. One of the reasons why is because of the students, he continuously credits the students for the campus staying safe.
“I think that if it weren’t for our students taking ownership of their own health and safety and that of their fellow students, we wouldn’t be here,” Crowe said.
Crowe thinks that students should be proud of what they accomplished in terms of the college’s safety to be able to continue their education on-ground. Students are working side-by-side faculty, volunteering information when needed, following the social-distancing orders and participating in testing in order to still have the college experience.