Nicholls is preparing its staff and students for the potential cancellation of face-to-face classes due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Director of Communications Jerad David said that the university is rigorously acting to develop protocol for if and when COVID-19 reaches the university.
“The university still has no cases of coronavirus, but we are working in order to find solutions to all of the problems that will rise should someone contract it,” David said.
One concern brought forward is the large international student base that Nicholls has.
“We have a duty to our international students,” David said. “This is their home.”
He said that the university is making its final arrangements concerning its international students, but he is certain that the dormitories will remain open for students, even if the university moves classes online.
One way that the spread of the virus is being limited is by the university’s implementation of the “no visitor” policy in the residence halls.
In addition to the dormitories remaining open, he said that Sodexo, the food provider for Nicholls, has been in and out of meetings in order to see what it must do to remain open for the students.
“The university may move classes online, but it will not be closing down,” David said. “The university will remain open, and faculty will keep their office hours.”
He said that the purpose of the university moving online is to limit group gatherings. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), assemblies are the perfect place for COVID-19 to spread.
Because the university will not be closing down, students will be able to keep their on-campus jobs.
“Dr. Clune knows the importance of the student employment program here, and he has every intention to see to it that they keep getting paid,” David said. “The university’s student worker population has nothing to worry about… other than getting sick themselves.”
He also said that other avenues such as Zoom are being looked at by departments on campus.
“Zoom will allow for a teleconferencing-type class, which may be better in some departments than only using Moodle,” David said. “As of now, the nursing department is the only one actively getting a subscription for a trial run.”
He also said that a letter will soon be coming out to all members of the university that will, in detail, explain Nicholls’ plans moving forward dealing with COVID-19.
“Students should be prepared for a practice run of the online class system that will happen next week,” David said. “As always, students should keep themselves updated by tuning in to the Nicholls emergency website.”
The https://www.nicholls.edu/emergency/ webpage will host the most recent and up-to-date information regarding the university’s status with COVID-19.