The BYU-Idaho campus is ready for students amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure a safe environment for students and employees who are returning back to campus, the university has implemented new course offerings and adjusted campus activities to create the best learning and social experiences possible for students and their individual needs.
Student Development Director Jill Evans has been involved in these efforts to make sure campus is safe for students and employees.
“We have adhered strictly to government and church leadership protocols. All of the protocols are designed to keep students and employees safe, and to create a healthy work environment,” Evans said.
The new course offerings being implemented allow students to make their own decisions with what they feel comfortable as they continue their academic journeys. The types of courses that have been offered for summer session and will continue into fall are blended, flexible, remote, online, and in person. (See graphic on the next page for details.)
“The goal with summer session and the fall semester is to give students choices, so they can decide for themselves what works best for their situations,” said BYU-Idaho Registrar Lauri Arensmeyer.
Summer session has served as a trial run for these campus changes, so the university can make adjustments where needed for fall semester.
Most of the new course delivery structures will involve the help of many entities on campus, including the IT Department and trained TAs in the classroom to help make sure all students are getting the best experience possible. Microphones and cameras are being set up in the classrooms to assist in these efforts. Faculty members also collaborated over summer session to create mock scenarios while they prepared for their live classes in the fall.
“The university is actively working to learn what we need to from summer to make fall the best we can––always with the focus on the student. That’s the BYU-Idaho way,” Arensmeyer remarked.
Activities for the fall are also being modified to follow physical distancing standards. They have also been piloted over summer session.
Kyle Martin, Student Services managing director, has been coordinating activities during summer session. They will use what they learn to keep students involved and still have a social, college experience during fall semester.
“We are working hard to have activities and events that can provide wholesome, social interactions and also contribute to the health and well-being of students outside of the classroom. We are confident that we can do that successfully in this COVID-19 era,” Martin stated.
All activities will be designed to comply with physical distancing standards and, depending on the activity, face coverings may also be required. Spikeball, cornhole, laser tag, and the ropes course are just some of the activities planned to be offered this fall.
Employees are also encouraged to bring their families to activities such as canoeing and horseback riding. Pre-registration is required for all campus activities.
“We think we can be successful and offer a lot of positive, engaging activities that students will enjoy, while also implementing the safety protocols to keep everyone safe,” Martin added.
Overall, the sanitation and safety protocols, new course offerings, and adjusted campus activities are being designed and piloted to create the best learning and social experiences possible for students and employees.
“We want to give students as much physical interaction as possible within safe parameters.It’s not going to be perfect; there will be bumps along the road; but the faculty and administrators are great and have stepped up in an amazing way,” said Associate Academic Vice President Van Christman.