As the start of school is quickly approaching, we continue to question what lies ahead. On Thursday, August 6th Boise State University President Marlene Tromp joined in on a community-wide discussion with the Boise Metro Chamber.
President Tromp said that the school has been working closely with the CDC guidelines, public health officers, and staff to create a plan that will guarantee BSU is prepared and can ensure economic vitality. She said at the beginning of creating a new plan, she had every leader at BSU create a Future Facing Excercise, giving their suggestions of how the school can continue to educate students while maintaining a safe environment.
In July, the school sent out a message to all students and staff giving them the choice to decide if they want to take a hybrid, face-to-face, or fully online classes. Everyone that will be part of the 2020-2021 school year has the opportunity to decide what will be best for their situation. Tromp also emphasized that the university has been investing in new equipment to ensure each classroom is prepared to take lessons online as well.
As for classrooms, every desk has been sectioned off for social distancing, making sure each student will be sitting 6 feet apart. When walking on campus all staff, students and visitors will be required to wear facial coverings and will be highly encouraged to remain socially distanced. The school has also invested in new air filtration systems to pump out fresh air through the vents in each building around campus.
Creating a New Program
The leaders at BSU came together to determine how to ensure current and future students are able to make the best decisions for themselves. They created a new program, Bronco Gap Year, giving students the opportunity to work with a counselor while working or staying at home. For a small price, students can join the Bronco Gap Year and take up to 9 credits a semester, have a counselor to help lead them down a path to their future career, and continue furthering their education while away from campus.
The leaders, and Tromp specifically, see this as a great opportunity for students that need this time to work, help family, or are still seeking to find their area of interest in school.
While BSU has been continually discussing and looking for ways to ensure safety is a part of the student’s return to campus, Boise State staff and students have been at the forefront of education. BSU is working to effectively educate everyone about what’s going on, how to stay safe and healthy, and what to do if COVID continues to spread at a quick rate.
When it comes to University Housing, typically a pivotal point for many college students, they’ve set a few new rules and protocols. They are de-densifying each dorm, meaning less students will live in each hall leaving room for COVID recovery rooms and medical staff. They’ve created a specific hygiene protocol that will be enforced for both residents and employees, and they have a dedicated isolation dorm for students that may come down with Coronavirus.
As for staff, Boise State has hired a BSU Public Health Officer, extra nurses, and case managers who are all dedicated to helping combat the spread of COVID on campus. Case managers, specifically, will be utilized to help trace the spread of the virus in a way to eliminate an increase in future cases.
BSU has also developed a partnership with St. Luke’s and St. Als that will help with COVID testing. They’ve created a brand new facility for students and staff to utilize as a testing center and have ensured that each test will have a 24-hour turn around time for results.
As for the thing we love most… Sports
Boise State sports are what make this community so strong, whether you’re a student, professor, or Boiseian it’s easy to say you like to cheer on the Broncos! This year things might be looking a bit different. On August 10, the Mountain West Board of Directors agreed to cancel all fall sports because of player health and safety concerns regarding COVID-19, making them the second Football Bowl Subdivision conference to cancel all of it's fall sports.
The decision to postpone fall sports includes men's and women's cross country, football, women's soccer and women's volleyball. The Mountain West will consider rescheduling fall sports to the spring.
Boise State’s reintegration plan has been highly acknowledged and is used as an example for many universities around the country. They’ve created and continue to share their campaign to help educate other professionals and universities.