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Bellevue University prepares for in-person, online learning

Bellevue University prepares for in-person, online learning

20200722_bl_bubacktoschool

The Hitchcock Humanities Center at Bellevue University has classrooms that will encourage social distancing, as well as an auditorium for bigger classes.

Bellevue University is preparing to open the campus up to students and staff, while also offering online learning options to those who believe it’s currently safer learning remotely.

The university has come up with plans and task forces to have face-to-face courses in the fall, and will also continue offering remote learning and teaching to staff and students.

While Bellevue University, like many other universities, closed its campus earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the university was more equipped to handle online learning, said Brenda Mechels, a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Bellevue has situated itself apart from other institutions in that we already have a lot of the technology available and we’re used to using it,” Mechels said. “I think residential students are used to being in class, but there are several different ways to using technology that we can go about doing that for them.”

Scott Altic, associate vice president of maintenance, grounds and security, said his staff has been on campus while most people are working remotely.

“They understand the risk, and we take precautions,” he said.

On Altic’s end, he said his team is closely monitoring the health department for any guidelines they need to follow before opening campus.

“For classroom setups, maybe we teach non-traditional or in the auditoriums or symposiums to get social distancing in place,” he said. “It won’t be normal sometimes, but it’ll be a transition.”

Dipendra Bhujel, assistant director for workstation support services, said the technology side of the university is working to make sure classroom computers are set up for students and staff, as well as making sure remote access is working for those not on campus.

“We are making sure classroom computers are working so when students come, there are no hiccups,” he said. “We’ve prepared all summer into the fall.”

Mechels said she misses that student interaction, though she understands that some people won’t feel safe returning to campus.

“Some students want to be back full time and there are other that are at risk themselves. Part of our recommendations have been flexibility and allowing flexibility,” she said.

“I think what we’re trying to do is put together a plan that people are comfortable with. Dr. (Mary) Hawkins has asked the faculty to be part of those solutions and so we’ve been able to provide options or recommendations we think would help people whether that be faculty or students feel safe.”

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