As the spring semester winds to a close, some Texoma teachers are returning to campus. Grayson College has announced its plan for a gradual reopening of its campus, which will take place over the course of the summer.
The college, along with many schools, colleges and universities closed its doors in March during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and transitioned to a virtual classroom model for many of its courses.
Under the plan, the college is currently in the first phase, which will allow teachers to return to the campus, with some restrictions.
"Essentially, our high-level overview of the plan is that while we are operating under phase one. Now, any employee who were to come to campus is screened, their temperature is taken, they are asked COVID-19 questions and asked to wear a face covering," GC President Jeremy McMillen said.
During the interim, McMillen said the college has taken some steps to modify spaces to allow for social distancing and other precautions.
The first phase was gradually put in place throughout May. Some students returned to the school starting on May 4 for courses that could not be taught remotely, in limited numbers. In addition, some teachers also returned to finish up work related to the end of the semester.
In addition to some courses, the testing center has opened up on a limited basis by appointment. Currently this is solely for nursing courses and for testing directly related to the university, including entrance exams.
"Our testing center usually serves more than that, but our center is currently focusing on that," McMillen said.
Starting on Monday, the book store will open to prepare for the summer semester, which begins on June 8. McMillen said that the majority of courses have been moved to online formats, but some lab and career tech courses will still take place on campus. In total, McMillen said he anticipates that about 400 to 500 students will be on campus each week for courses through our the summer.
Initially the college planned to enter into a second phase of reopening starting on June 1, but McMillen said this has been pushed back to June 15 due to the recent increase in cases in Grayson County. The installation of some glass partitions in common areas also contributed to the delay.
Under this phase students will be allowed on campus to meet with faculty on an appointment basis. Like the teachers, these students will be screened and required to wear a face covering.
Alterations, common areas marked off with social distancing. Modifying facility.
Students will be able to see teacher on appointment basis. Same screening and face covering.
Phase three will continue adding capacity for on-campus services, including curbside library services.
The fourth phase, which will likely occur sometime in August will see more of a return to normal as the college holds its fall semester, McMillen said.
We may still have some restrictions, we may continue to do screening," he said. ""In all phases we are going to try to do everything we can to serve students remotely."
Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.