Reopening with Caution
By Ariana West
While most universities in California and nationwide are doing all online classes or some hybrid classes, Simpson University was given the go ahead by the Governor to open for in-person classes according to Simpson University President Norman Hall. As one of the few colleges in the entire state of California to reopen for in-person classes, Simpson University had to come out with a detailed COVID plan in order to do so.
According to the Simpson University Reopening Plan, “Norman Hall appointed a COVID-19 taskforce composed of administrators, faculty, staff, and a retired physician/board member to work toward a full, safe reopening and return to on-campus instruction in fall 2020.”This included getting COVID tested before arrival, a second test once students arrived, wearing masks in classes, sitting six feet apart in classes, having limited visitation in the residence halls, and having food to-go at the cafeteria.
In an interview with Hall, reopening for this semester also included reading and researching extensively, upgrading internet servers and university infrastructure in order to have the best “high-flex” learning as possible, and spending between 250,000 and 300,000 on new computers for staff and students. Hall emphasized that this reopening also included lots of prayer and increasing communication with students.
There were also lots of meetings and discussions with NAIA on whether or not collegiate sports would continue this school year. Hall said that everything is still not finalized and figuring out if games will be held in Spring is still something to be figured out.
WIth high schools being given the go-ahead to reopen by Governor Gavin Newsom, Simpson was not given the go-ahead to reopen until or nine weeks after, having an extensive and detailed reopening plan was extremely important said Hall.
Many professors have given students the option to participate in classes over Zoom or in person. There have also been changes to how Simpson holds chapel services each Wednesday and Friday. This includes giving students the ability to join chapel through Zoom and be a part of small in-person groups.
While Shasta County has stayed off the state’s coronavirus watchlist, Shasta Health and Human Services Agency spokesperson Kerri Schuette, said in an Action News Now article that, “This is no longer up to public health to be able to control these things. “This is up to our community to do their part, to take ownership of our numbers and transmission.” Schuette stressed that in order to stay off the watch list people must wear their face coverings, continue to social distance, and limit everyday
As many of you know Shasta County is one of 46 other counties in the state to reopen into phase two, according to ABC News.
According to an August article by KRCR, “…….businesses in Shasta and Trinity County will be able to have restaurants with indoor dining, movie theaters, bowling alleys, places of worship, museums, indoor playgrounds, and other facilities reopen.”
Staying off the Governors watchlist is important not only for the county, but also for Simpson, so that we get to stay on campus for Spring semester and businesses do not have to close again. If you’re feeling sick, please stay home and do not go near others.