Concerns about off campus challenges related to the coronavirus dominated discussions during the School Districts, Colleges and Universities Caucus of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments Summer Caucus with Lawmakers.
“The challenge is what goes on off campus,” said Bowling Green State University President Rodney Rogers. “How do we make people understand that we have to follow the rules?”
He laid out how the university administration has met with restaurant and bar owners in Bowling Green for what he called some co-branding, and would include provision of some safety tools like hand sanitizer dispensers.
The university has signed a mutual aid agreement with the Wood County Health Department to do contact tracing and tracking. Ben Batey, the department’s former commissioner, has also been hired on to be the university’s chief health officer.
“The concern we’re really having is we’ve got expectations. If you’re choosing to do the face-to-face option, here’s our expectation for what it means if you’re choosing to be a part of our university community in terms of face covering, hand washing and self monitoring, being open to testing and contact tracing, in terms of being voluntarily tested,” Rogers said.
In a survey of potential students, BGSU found that 80% wanted face-to-face courses.
As part of that program, the university will also have a computer app, called Campus Clear, which is a self-check data collection survey. It also aggregates the data across the campus using seven questions that students would answer each morning regarding their health status.
Rogers said that they don’t have it all figured out yet, but it would also include roommates and a 10-person student social group that will be treated like a family unit. That group would have reduced COVID-19 related restrictions. For example, roommates would not have to wear face masks around each other.
Paul Knollman, the caucus moderator and the dean of business administration at Monroe County Community College, said that they also have a computer-based health check system for anyone entering the campus.
Jason Kozina, the superintendent at Northwood Schools, was also concerned about outside control of student behavior.
Athletics have been going on for a month and band camp has also been happening.
“I know we’re a smaller school, but we have 65 or 70 kids in our band and every single one of them walks in every single day with a mask on. They space out. They do everything they are asked to do. I think they are just so happy to be back around other kids and doing things,” Kozina said.
“But I think one of the difficulties for us is we can follow training protocols, we do everything we’re told to do, but when basketball training session ends, three kids pile into a car together and go home. We don’t have the control that we would love to have of the situation. We know that cases are going to be inevitable, coming into our building. It’s more about mitigating and trying to keep it from becoming a spread factor.”