By Derek Lopez
It had been six months since students have been on campus due to COVID-19. With the students’ return on Aug. 24, the atmosphere around campus is still uneasy, but KU President Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson is confident KU will have a great semester as students strive for stability.
“Our professors prepared for this all summer and think it’s going to be more vibrant and more interactive this semester than it was the second eight weeks of spring semester,” said Hawkinson, referring to KU’s switch to online-only classes in March during statewide quarantine.
For students attending classes or living on campus, worries remain concerning contraction of COVID-19. “If you aren’t feeling well, you should stay at home. We have testing protocols in place to do an evaluation to test if you have COVID-19. All reported cases have come back negative,” said Hawkinson prior to KU’s first positive case on Aug. 27
Early in the summer, West Chester University decided to close their campus for in-person instruction during the fall semester. KU, however, decided to keep their campus open for students and faculty. “Our area is more rural than West Chester’s and being a part of a larger community that was opening, I thought we should open as well,” said Hawkinson.
In terms of hardships at KU, this upcoming semester is by far the toughest of Hawkinson’s tenure as president. “Yes, without question. The adversity really pulled people together to do amazing things,” Hawkinson added.
While the world isn’t sure how COVID-19 will progress going forward, Hawkinson already has a plan in place if an outbreak were to force the fall semester to go entirely online. “We have plans in place if there is an outbreak, and our faculty is more prepared now to deal with these issues than they were six months ago,” said Hawkinson.
The 2020 Fall semester is going to be a unique experience that Hawkinson is going to monitor closely to try to protect students while also striving to give students the best learning experience possible.