Non-traditional classroom in the Bluu
A non-traditional classroom set up in the Brown-Lupton University Union Ballroom. (Amanda Vasquez/TCU 360)
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COVID-19 has prompted TCU to reconsider what makes a classroom. 

With social distancing guidelines limiting the numbers of students who can be in a room, large spaces in buildings such as the Brown-Lupton University Union and the Dee J. Kelly Alumni & Visitors Center have become classrooms. 

“These spaces have been mapped for physical distancing and equipped with the furniture and technology that you would expect in a traditional classroom,” said Dr. Sandra R. Callaghan, an associate professor of accounting.

On April 1, Vice Provost Susan Weeks announced TCU will hold some in-person classes in non-traditional classroom settings next fall.

Read more: Changes in COVID-19 guidelines, upcoming Board of Trustees meeting discussed with Faculty Senate

As of right now, the CDC has changed social distancing guidelines from six feet of social distancing to three feet. TCU will continue to monitor these changes and adjust classroom capacities as needed. 

Here are the current guidelines:

  • 95% capacity – six feet physical distancing 
  • 98% capacity – three feet physical distancing
  • 100% capacity – no physical distancing

Once the recommendation is made, TCU will adjust accordingly.

“In the fall, we will add additional non-traditional spaces to increase the number of classroom seats available for as long as physical distancing remains part of our COVID protocol,” said Callaghan.

Non-traditional classroom set up in the Dee J. Kelly Alumni & Visitors Center
Non-traditional classroom set up in the Dee J. Kelly Alumni & Visitors Center (Amanda Vasquez/ TCU 360)

Elaine Wagstaff, clinical educator in the speech-language pathology department, has enjoyed teaching in the Kelly Center this semester.

“This semester has been easy because of Cheryl Cobb and her student workers making sure we have the technology support we need,” said Wagstaff. “They have made us feel welcome and gone above and beyond to make sure we are set up for our class.”

The only difficulty Wagstaff has encountered this semester has been teaching some of her students over Zoom and some online components.

“That has been the biggest challenge for me this semester, adjusting to teaching more than one audience at the same time,” said Wagstaff. “The challenge for me has been the ‘new’ classroom with the Zoom component and modifying my assignments and tests to all online [and] D2L.”

She also felt the new setup accommodated her class and followed social distancing sufficiently. The only difficulty, the technology, was quickly tended to by the technical support team.

“They brought desks (more like small dining room tables) for each student so they are spaced out and room to spread out in their own space,” said Wagstaff. “The Kelly Center is set up for presentations so the technology was just new to me. But again Cheryl and her student assistant Sam have been so helpful.”

TCU vaccinations

Volunteers at the TCU vaccination site
Volunteers at the TCU vaccination site (Heesoo Yang/Staff Photographer)

As of April 13, 8,079 students, faculty and staff members have requested the vaccine and 4,471 have been vaccinated.  

TCU’s Connected Campus has been tracking the reservations and vaccinated TCU community members.

Chancellor Victor Boschini announced TCU currently has no plans to require students to be vaccinated next fall, but will keep track of other universities to see what their plans are for next year.

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