Faculty, staff, and students are preparing to return to campus in the coming weeks, and at the College of Veterinary Medicine, we are ramping up for a semester unlike any we have ever experienced before. The College will look different this semester as we work to make our facilities as safe as possible, as will the way we all go about our daily interactions with one another. The College has purchased critically needed cleaning supplies, made necessary facility adjustments, and updated our technological capabilities to facilitate an effective learning environment for our students and alumni, even from a distance. The safety of our community is our utmost priority as we return to campus for the fall semester.
Facilities and Technology
Over the past months, we have examined all of our educational spaces to determine what was necessary to deliver safe in-person instruction at both the Classic Campus and Veterinary Medical Complex. Signs showing updated room capacities, in accordance with physical distancing measures, have been posted, and open seating is clearly marked. Instructor lectern areas have been equipped with shielding. Audiovisual equipment, especially microphones, will be sanitized regularly with most instructors making use of no-touch microphones at the podiums. We will be utilizing our Echo360 Active Learning Platform and Zoom for distance learning. Lectures will also be captured and available on demand following class sessions. We will continue to leverage ExamSoft for both on-site and remotely proctored testing scenarios.
With our new anatomy lab still under construction, and our current lab too small to appropriately social distance the entire class, the Reading Room will be used to facilitate 21 virtual reality anatomy instruction stations. Much of the furniture and many of the physical books previously housed in the room have been relocated. There will be no student attendant in the Reading Room. Details for an after-hours-use protocol remain under development.
We will be installing new screen-casting software in shared spaces such as the rounds rooms to limit physical contact with shared screens, keyboards, and touchpads. This software will allow students to control technology in these spaces from their own personal devices.
Following a phased approach, on-campus research projects have resumed. With the start of phase 3 on August 10th, all labs should be open and operational in accordance with individual plans.
The Office of Continuing Education continues to address opportunities available for professional development as we navigate the pandemic. The Georgia State Board of Veterinary Medicine passed an emergency order that allows licensees to obtain continuing education hours online due to COVID-19. Our fall conferences will be held virtually with a variety of live and pre-recorded sessions.
As we all return to campus, know that we are in this together. We know things will look and feel different, but if we all do our part to keep each other healthy and safe we will have a great semester. We look forward to seeing everyone again in the coming weeks.