When COVID-19 hit, Walton College immediately pivoted to remote classes to keep students, faculty and staff healthy and safe. But the work didn’t stop there.
Walton quickly set up a task force to prepare for students’ return to campus.
“We have a team of eight, who are part of our pandemic task force, meeting regularly all summer long,” said Becca Clifton, director of Walton Conferences & Facilities.
The task force – Anne O’Leary-Kelly, senior associate dean; Alan Ellstrand, associate dean, Academic Programs and Research; Brent Williams, associate dean, Executive Education and Outreach; Karen Boston, assistant dean, Student Success; Tanya Russell, assistant dean, Finance and Administration; Jason Campbell, director, Human Resources; Sandy Kizer, director, Technology Center; and Clifton – created teams to review academic programs, faculty, staff, students, communications, finances, facilities and technology and how it relates to the coronavirus.
Clifton oversees the facilities and operations committee which is reviewing safety measures and is implementing U of A guidelines. The university is promoting #RazorbacksTogether, a safety campaign, to encourage those on campus to wear a mask, wash hands often, disinfect surfaces and maintain 6 feet of distance between others.
As part of that campaign, Walton College has implemented the following safety measures in the classroom:
- Classrooms have 6 feet between student seating.
- Students have assigned seats for contact tracing purposes.
- Hand sanitizer stations are located in each classroom, hallways and building entrances.
- Disinfectant wipes are placed in each classroom.
- Signage has been placed throughout campus to remind everyone to mask up, wash hands, disinfect surfaces and social distance.
Outside the classroom, faculty and staff have received safety kits which include hand sanitizer, masks and cleaning supplies to use in administrative and individual offices. In addition, the university’s facility management team is ramping up cleaning, especially in high trafficked areas.
To supplement online, hybrid or face-to-face classes, Walton College has purchased additional equipment and software to prepare for online resources.
Multiple departments across campus have worked together to purchase, assemble and deliver safety kits to students. Faculty, staff and volunteers – coordinated by the Walton Conference Hub and facilities team – assembled 26,000 kits, complete with masks, hand sanitizer and thermometers, for all university students. Students living on campus will receive a kit through University Housing. Off-campus students can receive their kit at the student union or the Shollmier Plaza at the Walton College.
Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz has issued regular communiques to faculty, staff and students regarding the actions taken to create a healthy and safe environment. He encourages all on campus to mask up, wash hands frequently and maintain social distances of 6 feet.
“Success will be in the hands of faculty, staff and students who follow the chancellor’s guidelines,” Clifton said.
The U of A has a page of COVID-19 guidelines and the Walton College also has a page for students with information and resources related to the coronavirus outbreak that is updated regularly. Students can find links to information about university resources, class schedules, advising and career services by visiting that page.