Construction, COVID, and transition

Students will need to be prepared for lots of disruptions this quarter such as construction, Coronavirus safety measures, and the transition back to in-person classes.

This fall quarter will be an adjustment in many ways for new and returning students. The major construction of a new building in front of the Mattress Factory, the transition from online to in-person classes, and following the new safety protocols put in place due to the pandemic is only the beginning of the list of changes on campus. 

The new building will be called Milgard Hall, to honor James A. and Carolyn Milgard and the Gary E. Milgard Family Foundations which are longtime supporters of the university. It is set to “house elements of the Milgard School of Business, laboratory spaces to support the School of Engineering and Technology, expanded space for the Global Innovation and Design Lab…” according to the UWT website. 

Construction is supposed to end in the Fall of 2022  and it started this past summer, according to the UWT website. You can watch the livestream of construction by going to the university website and searching for Milgard Hall. 

Recently, I was on campus in the MAT building, right next to the construction, it was incredibly distracting and loud. I have to ask, how will this noise affect our studies? Will there be reduced construction during class times? Unfortunately, an email I sent to the project manager was not returned in time for this publication. 

For the last year and a half, we’ve been sitting in the safety of our homes, staring at screens as our professors talk at us. Now, finally, we can do the same but, in person. 

Everyone will have to be patient as there will be a lot of new students on campus. For those of you who are returning students and have been on campus before, help out anyone you see that may be struggling to get where they need to be. To the lost wanderers, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If there is no one around, there is a map of the campus on the school website. 

Taking tests in person will be another difficulty. Up until now, most if not all of our tests were open-note because they had to be, reading textbooks was optional and Google was our friend. Develop good study habits during the first week of the quarter and keep them up. You’ll do fine. 

It is a really good feeling to be back on campus but it will be an adjustment for everyone no matter what major, grade level, or age you are.

Despite being back in person, while on campus there are certain safety precautions that due to the ongoing pandemic, everyone must follow.

First, the university is requiring “all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 according to their COVID-19 facts and resources page. There are links on the same page to schedule an appointment to get your free COVID-19 vaccine. 

You must also attest to your vaccination status by Sept. 29. However, if you cannot get vaccinated before then you will need to submit the form by Nov. 5. If after that date you still have not submitted the form, you will not be able to register for winter quarter. 

Exemptions to this requirement are granted to those who have “documented medical conditions and sincerely held religious beliefs”. It is important to note that the university no longer allows “philosophical exemptions” for the vaccine requirement.

Second, masks are now required when on campus inside and outside when in a group of more than five hundred people. If you do not follow these rules, you could be asked to leave campus. Report anyone not wearing a face covering to their supervisor, a “representative of their academic unit (for students)”, or the Environmental Health and Safety Department.

This year will certainly be an interesting one. I can’t wait to meet the challenges ahead, together.