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ASW, administration give students glimpse into Fall semester during virtual town hall

The ASW Office in Shaw Student Center sits empty during the summer months, as the campus has laid dormant over the past months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. ASW and administration addressed questions and concerns surrounding the return to campus for in-person classes during a virtual town hall meeting June 30. (Cami Mondeaux)

ASW leadership and faculty members detailed Tuesday some of the current plans to re-open Westminster College’s campus this fall during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. 

ASW President Obaid Barakzai and ASW Vice President Daud Mumin said open communication between students, administration, and community members will be key to navigating the coming semester.

Provost Debbie Tahmassebi began by explaining some of the safety measures taken to change classrooms on campus. She said that individual classroom capacities have been reviewed and revised, generally resulting in smaller class sizes that will allow students to keep six feet between themselves and others.

Face masks will be required on campus. Purposeful failure to wear a mask will be considered a violation of Westminster’s code of conduct.

Provost Tahmassebi and Dean of Nursing & Health Sciences Sheryl Steadman said disinfecting processes are being reviewed and upgraded to keep classrooms safe.

After a student asked about the possibility of losing their spot in a class they’d already enrolled in — due to the changing class sizes — Provost Tahmassebi said changes to an individual student’s schedule is the last option in that situation.

Should anyone find themselves in that position, she said faculty advisers and other faculty will offer full support in finding equitable options.

In addition to classroom changes, Westminster administration is working with professors to more widely incorporate technology into their courses. This will vary by professor and class, but students should expect more technology-based approaches to learning this semester, faculty said.

Although professors will be encouraged to closely consider the various stressors students will face and enact more flexible grading processes, Michael Santarosa from the registrar’s office said that the credit/no credit (CR/NC) deadline will not be extended like it was last semester.

Westminster President Beth Dobkin said although so much has had to change so quickly, the school’s commitment to students has not.

Barakzai and Mumin said more town hall meetings to address further concerns about returning to campus will be planned and held by ASW. Students should regularly check their email for updates.


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Marisa Cooper is a senior communication major with a psychology minor. She hopes to find a career path within public relations or journalism with time for a mindful work/life balance. As of late, she’s been exploring passions for embroidery, hiking, house plants and podcasts. Marisa is thrilled to take on the role of managing editor this year.

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