Safety plan for in-person labs during autumn quarter

The University of Washington Tacoma campus aims to conduct 85% of classes remotely in the autumn quarter of 2020 due to COVID-19. The classes that will be held on the campus include, but are not limited to, computer labs. 

Bob Landowski, a lab support engineer for UWT, was able to work out a safety plan to conduct in-person lab sessions in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines. Students’ safety in the computer labs will be ensured by two lab technicians and will have cleaning supplies available for every lab session as well as proper mask use. 

“I would like the students to clean their environment before they start and after they have finished their labs,” Landowski said.

Landoski and a colleague of his, Chris Barret, plan to clean the labs twice throughout the day.  Utilizing the entrance, exit and layout of the room, the students have a clear path through the labs in order for them to move along a line and adhere to social distancing guidelines. The labs will be filled to accommodate half of the class’ capacity and both labs will be used simultaneously. Landwoski’s main goal with the regulations is to make sure everyone is correctly wearing masks before entering the building. 

With most classes being conducted online, only a few buildings will be open to critical personnel on campus. The library will provide virtual services as well as curbside pick-up of materials and appliances. Tests for COVID-19 will also be available on campus, with testing days planned on Oct. 8, Oct. 24 and Dec. 5. Face coverings are also required for anyone going on campus.

Being taught remotely these past two quarters due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it became evident that the students were not on the same level in terms of success. Bringing back in-person labs will aim to avoid this kind of regression.

 “I would have 12 hour days sitting with students on Zoom with labs, where I couldn’t see or touch what they were doing and not being able to help the way I wanted to,” Landowski said. “It was brutal.”