Protective Measures in Place for Start of UR School of Nursing’s Academic Year
By Patrick Broadwater
Thursday, August 13, 2020 4:44 PM
When the University of Rochester School of Nursing’s 2020-21 academic year begins, things will look a little different in Helen Wood Hall.
New school-wide protocols, including mandatory masking, daily health screenings, and changes to the physical setup of classrooms and common areas in the school’s longtime building, have been implemented to ensure the safety of faculty, students, and staff. The school’s Return to Campus guidelines for the fall semester, which begins Aug. 26, were released on Monday. The document details the protective measures put in place in accordance with the overall University of Rochester reopening plan, as well as the guiding principles set forth by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
For the duration of the fall semester, the UR School of Nursing will continue to deliver instruction remotely for classroom courses while offering most labs and clinical training in person. All members of the campus community are expected to adhere to physical distancing and hand-washing protocols and complete a daily health screening each day they are scheduled to report to Helen Wood Hall. Complying with state guidelines, cloth or surgical masks are required of all individuals in public areas of all UR facilities and must also be worn outdoors when 6 feet of separation between individuals is not feasible.
Ninety-five-year-old Helen Wood Hall, which would ordinarily be bustling at the start of an academic year, has had its maximum capacity cut by 75 percent. Frequent student gathering places, such as the atrium, student lounge, and Evarts Lounge, will remain closed, while classroom, meeting rooms, and other public spaces have been reconfigured to ensure appropriate physical distancing.
“Certainly, this year is unlike any other I’ve seen in my 40 years as a nurse, scholar, educator, and administrator,” said Kathy Rideout, EdD, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, dean of the UR School of Nursing. Although there will be modifications to the physical environment, Rideout stressed that two critical aspects of a UR Nursing education remain unchanged.
“The health and well-being of our faculty, students, and staff is our first and foremost priority,” she said. “And, the academic experience we have to offer at the school will continue to be of the highest quality. I, and the leadership of this school, will accept nothing less.”
The school expects to welcome an influx of about 240 new students this fall, pushing its record-breaking enrollment to nearly 900 students. The fall semester formally begins with the school’s Convocation, which will be held virtually on Sept. 1, and will close with the last day of finals on Dec. 14. A mid-semester break will be observed on Oct. 12 and Thanksgiving recess will run Nov. 25-30.