Radford University COVID-19 protocols proving to be effective; different learning methods gaining interest

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RADFORD, Va. (WFXR) — Even though Radford University students have been attending in-person classes since Aug. 12, the school has not run into major pandemic-related problems like other schools around the country, who have been forced to shut down their campuses.

Radford University has strict protocols in place, which staff members hope will allow them to keep their classrooms open. In addition, the university is keeping students and staff informed with regard to COVID-19 testing and the number of positive cases.

According to the school’s database, 1,705 campus-based tests have been administered as of Tuesday, Aug. 25. The positivity rate stands at 5.75%, which means roughly 98 students have tested positive.

Radford University is pushing five factors to keep students in the classrooms for in-person learning:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Wear face coverings.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Maintain physical distance.
  • Stay home if you feel sick.

School staff members are even posting the number of people allowed in each classroom or lecture hall on the outside of the rooms to promote social distancing.

Those are all examples of the measures in place to keep everyone on Radford’s campus safe.

However, according to Amy Rubens — an associate English professor — there are other options in place if things need to change.

Amy Rubens has been teaching online classes at Radford University since 2013.

“I know myself and a lot of my colleagues across the university have developed a number of contingency plans and are ready to put those in place when the time is right,” she said. “The students are here. They’re excited to be learning. They’re cautious. We’re cautious. Everyone’s cautious.”

Additional rules involve visitors on campus. Day visitors are required to register and fill out a form online before coming to campus. For the time being, though, overnight visitors are not allowed in residence halls.

The school is also limiting student gatherings outside of the classroom to no more than 10 people.

“We want to stay healthy and we’re working together to make sure that happens,” Rubens said.

A different way of learning is gaining popularity on campus. Although taking online classes is nothing new, Rubens says she noticed students at least being more willing to give them a try.

Rubens teaches what is called an “asynchronous” online class, which means there is no set time or location students must follow in order to complete the course work. Students can work around their individual schedules, even though they still have certain specific due dates for assignments and are required to respond to modules at select times.

Rubens says more students are exploring this way of learning. Although she does not consider it a trend yet, she believes the coronavirus pandemic is forcing students to consider more options with the way they learn.

“I do think the one positive thing that is going to come out of this is there’s going to be a lot more personalization,” Rubens said. “There are certain students’ needs that are best served in different capacities, whether that’s face to face, hybrid, asynchronous, or synchronous online.”

Since students can take the class from anywhere around the world, Rubens limits the capacity to 15 people per semester so she can concentrate on meeting their individual needs.

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