ECU administrators prepare for students’ return for spring semester

Greenville

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – East Carolina University’s spring semester will begin on Jan. 19.

It comes after administrators eliminated nearly all in-person instruction for fall due to COVID-19. There are many changes to the upcoming semester. ECU officials are confident in the plans they’ve made.

Now, it’s up to students to follow the protocols.

“We have so many lessons that we learned from the fall semester,” said Dr. LaNika Wright, director of ECU Student Health Services.

In just 11 days, 1,900 students will be returning to live on ECU’s campus, while North Carolina’s COVID numbers are surging.

“We feel very confident and optimistic going into the spring with many of the changes we put into place,” said Lauren Thorn, Associate Dean of Students.

Those changes are like adding more social distancing in classrooms, setting aside more quarantine space for students and increasing testing efforts. The university is even requiring students living on campus to have a negative COVID test before moving in.

“We do want to stress that every student should be tested before they come back to campus,” said Wright. “They can submit those results to ECU Student Health.”

Wright said she’s ready for students to come back. Last semester, students were only on campus for two weeks before being sent home. There were COVID clusters after students went to gatherings and disregarded safe practices.

“We do not feel that there are necessarily things that happened on our campus, physical campus, that caused that increase of student cases that we had,” said Wright.

University leaders hope to avoid that fate this semester. But they say a lot depends on students and the choices they make.

“The faster we can all commit to following the three Ws and doing our part and making testing a normal part of our routine and not just something that we kind of have to do when we feel sick or exposed, the closer we will get to returning to sort of those activities that we see as being such an important part of the ECU experience,” said Thorn.

As of now, the plan is still for ECU’s classes to start on Jan. 19. The university will offer a mix of in-person, hybrid and online classes.

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