As many colleges and grade schools all around the country begin their year online, Regent has come up with a plan to bring students on campus in person.
On Regent University’s website is a link to the “Regent Ready: COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.” Listed on this page are guidelines students need to follow in order to return to campus, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, and filling out a daily self-screening questionnaire. Also listed are services offered by Regent to all students including free COVID-19 testing, on-site healthcare, and increased facility sanitation.
“I’m really glad that they’re putting regulations into place because I feel like not a lot of colleges have done that and that’s why they’ve closed down,” said Theresa Fail, a sophomore who lives in the Commons at Regent. “I really love being on campus, and I know that a lot of people get annoyed by them because it’s inconvenient, but I think in the long run, it’s what’s going to keep us on campus.”
Fail did comment on some of the biggest changes between last year and this year, saying, “We don’t have as many events on campus. I know we had so many events that we could go and meet people; meet commuters, meet on campus people. This year, it’s been a lot harder to meet people.”
Another student, freshman Jennifer Hubert had a few things to say, coming in as a new student and a commuter.
“I really want to be able to come to classes on campus for the rest of the semester [and] for the rest of the year, so [wearing a mask is] fine. It’s not horrible,” she said. “Personally, I’d rather not wear the mask at all, but I want to keep [Regent] open as long as I can so I’ll wear the mask.”
Hubert has just joined Young Americans for Freedom and plans to join Students for Life, both organizations which will be impacted from COVID.
“We’re still going to be able to put flags out for 9/11 and some other things, but we don’t get to have speakers right now and there was going to be a huge event that we were going to host and we can’t have that. It’s a little annoying, but I’ve got four years.”
Dr. Tabmitha Jervey, a professor of Biology with a background studying viruses spoke about some of the impacts these regulations have had from a teaching standpoint.
“I think, first of all, I am delighted that we are in school,” said Jervey. “I think the hard part is the distancing, in a way that you cannot have five students in your office learning collectively. Personally, I have a young daughter who has not gone back to school, so I am sort of juggling being here and being at home.”
Jervey also said, “I am a hands-on professor, so normally I would lecture only for about five or ten minutes and then I’d come out into where the students are sitting and kind of ask questions with them, review materials with them, sort of in small groups. Because the professor must stand at the front of the class the entire time, it makes it more difficult; less personal. I want students to feel like not only do I see them, but I also want to interact with them.”
On the topic of Regent combatting COVID-19, Jervey commented, “Since school has begun, we are not as in tune with the number of students who are positive. Before [going on campus], all professors were tested, and then all students were tested. We were regularly informed that we had no COVID cases.”
“Since school has started, we have had some students who have been ill, and have remained away,” Jervey continued. “The hard part about that is if a student says that they’re ill, they must isolate if they have specific symptoms. That is good because other students do not potentially get infected, but the hard part is we don’t know whether those students are positive when they return.”
In the end, Jervey had some words to think about for students who might be questioning why these guidelines are in place.
“From the perspective of a person who has studied viruses, I would say that it’s important whenever you’re encountering a new virus to take every precaution…I don’t think any of it is overkill,” said Jervey. “We need to make sure that we eat well. Eating well means our immune system is robust and we can overcome better as we quarantine. If we are just waiting on a vaccine and we are afraid, that suppresses the immune system.”
“We should be asking the question, ‘what can we do?’ individually, to actually maintain our own health, so that, if infected, the infection is minimal.”
While the semester is just beginning, Regent University is taking every precaution seriously in an effort to keep the doors open and keep the students and faculty safe.