Wittenberg’s 2020 Welcome Week for the incoming class will look a little different this year as the University takes a staggered approach to moving students in Aug. 10-16 in light of COVID-19.
Part two in the “Destination Wittenberg: New Student Orientation” series, Welcome Week is a time to acclimate the University’s newest Tigers to campus through a variety of programs prior to the start of classes on Aug. 17. This year organizers are planning both small-group meetings and hybrid programs to allow students to still experience the high-impact touch that defines Wittenberg.
Upon arrival, members of the class of 2024 will be able to participate in a small-scale activities, including having lunch and dinner with their orientation assistants (OAs), learning how to use the various academic and connection technology for classes, learning how to print and use the Moodle platform, reviewing strategies for in-person, remote, and hybrid courses, exploring Springfield via a walking tour, going over COVID-19 protocols, touring class schedules with resident assistants (RAs), ordering or picking up textbooks, and learning about Wittenberg’s Title IX policy and other student resources.
Beginning Thursday, there will be assigned attendance times for a Welcome Week Kick-off with an orientation group from 2 to 5 p.m. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from 8 to 11 p.m., students will be able to choose to attend socially distant, limited gatherings, as well as virtual programming. On Friday, students will also have the opportunity to attend a First Year Seminar (FYS) class, meet their advisor, start to chart a path, and explore Wittenberg’s commitment to community service. On Saturday, students will learn more about Wittenberg’s commitment to its community and healthy decision-making, as well as connect virtually with engagement communities, including Campus Ministries, the McClain Center for Diversity, International Education, and Student Involvement. On Sunday, there will be a worship service, brunch with OAs, and the special Courageous Conversations & Closing Ceremony before dinner. Each day students can participate in residence hall community building, connect virtually with campus communities, and gain additional insight into the Wittenberg experience.
“Our faculty and staff have worked diligently, thoughtfully, and carefully to prepare campus for the return of our students,” explained Wittenberg President Michael L. Frandsen in a letter to students. “They have reviewed guidance, often changing, sometimes conflicting, from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Clark County Combined Health District (CCCHD), and others. They have sought expertise on-campus and off-campus. They have researched, participated in webinars, talked to colleagues at other institutions, and kept the health and safety of our community in mind as they developed plans and standards, and looked to mitigate risks for what will be a very different fall semester. We are cautiously moving toward fall semester with new health and safety measures in place. It will take the commitment of everyone in our community to follow these guidelines.”
Based on public health guidance, campus events and gatherings have also been reimagined this year to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Wittenberg community members in general should expect to stay engaged virtually when physical meetings are not an option or recommended. There will also be limits on the size of any in-person gathering. External visitors will be greatly limited as will off-campus travel. Many of the University’s large-scale events will be suspended for fall or offered virtually.
All members of the University community are also expected to abide by shared values that include the following:
- Wearing face coverings except when in your own private working or living areas with no one else present.
- Taking personal responsibility to self-identify your health status, including a daily temperature check.
- Maintaining personal hygiene on campus, including regular hand washing.
- Keeping personal work surfaces and common touch points clean and sanitized regularly.
- Embracing social distancing standards at all times.