Uncertainty was the theme of a virtual town hall held by Bowling Green State University President Rodney Rogers on Monday.
It was to address the public regarding many coronavirus pandemic-related issues for the university.
“The virus doesn’t wait for perfection,” Rogers said. “We have made some decisions that could be adjusted.”
Faculty and staff submitted questions in advance of the event, and also during the town hall.
As Rogers and Provost Joe Whitehead answered questions, they didn't say who submitted the question or read the exact question.
“Clearly, we need to do a better job of communicating,” Rogers said during his introduction. “How do we constantly be adaptable and flexible? There have been times when certain decisions get made where they seem to be the right decision based on the information we have at that moment in time, but as we have learned more information and have more of a sense of the issues are with this virus and what the challenges are in what we know and don’t know. You begin to get some shifts in decisions.”
The administration has to determine how classes will be taught and there are currently three different class models, all of which have a virtual component.
Whitehead spoke about facility changes and course delivery education being provided for teaching personnel.
There are 150 classrooms that are being outfitted with microphones and cameras. BGSUSync is being rolled out, so students who cannot attend the class may take part from a remote location.
There will also be an enhanced WebEx or Zoom virtual meeting system.
Fall semester has been shifted earlier by half a week and students will not return to finish the semester after Thanksgiving. The January winter session was canceled, and spring semester was moved up to start the second week of January.
Rogers gave a long list of the many tools the university will be using to minimize risk. Some of these include clear face shields, hand sanitizer dispensers, portable hand sanitizing stations, temperature check stations, disposable masks and reusable masks, Plexiglas barriers, cleaning carts and electrostatic sprayers for sanitizing hard surfaces.
Protocol enforcement was not clear, as the suggestion was made that professors could institute safety protocols as part of the class syllabus.
“This virus doesn’t stop at the boundaries of our campus,” Rogers said.
There are already two more virtual town halls scheduled, for Monday and July 13. Both with be at 10 a.m. and can be watched through links on the BGSU website.
The next meeting will address issues related to teaching and calendaring. The third event will focus on facilities, retro-fitting facilities and mental health issues.
A fourth town hall is also in the planning stages. The subject will be diversity, inclusion and free speech.