WVU students show concerns with in-person classes

Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 6:35 PM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - Some students at West Virginia University began classes last week, and one student in the dentistry program is sharing what concerns her while being back in classrooms.

She sat down with 5 News and asked to remain anonymous to avoid any conflict from the within the program.

WVU has put out guidelines to help provide in-person classes, but some students do not think it’s enough.

“I just don’t understand why there’s 47 people in a classroom plus six teachers and then we’re suppose to be six feet a part but we’re only one chair a part,” the student said.

The way the classroom is organized, the student believes it hasn’t been a successful set up.

“There’s been two of my classmates who’ve tested positive and they only quarantined people that were around them based off of one seating chart.”

Right now, the student says 16 students are currently out of class quarentining, but she still see’s flaws in the guidelines.

The school of Dentistry provided 5 News with a statement regarding the protocols they are following. It states they are coinciding with the WVU ‘Return to Campus’ guidelines and following guidance from the American Dental Association.

The full statement is as follows:

“At the West Virginia University School of Dentistry, student, faculty, staff and patient wellbeing is our first concern. Upon the return of students for the fall semester, we are following WVU’s Return to Campus classroom guidelines. As a professional school, we also consider guidance from the American Dental Association. Our classes have fewer than 50 students and are small enough for use of just half the seats in a classroom while socially distancing students in the remaining seats. As curriculum allows, faculty can teach online. In all on-campus settings, personal protective equipment requirements include the wearing of masks at all times. Plexiglass screening is used where necessary and enhanced disinfecting and cleaning procedures continue to be in place. We appreciate the cooperation of our dental school community in paying especially close attention to preventing the spread reminders.”

-Dr. Fotinos Panagakos, Interim Dean, WVU School of Dentistry

The classroom safety guidelines specify that classroom sizes will be reduced by 50% when possible. They mention seating plans will allow physical distancing, but do not specify that it has to be six feet apart.

This guidance applies to all classes on campus.

As all undergraduate students began classes Wednesday, the dentistry student says these guidelines don’t make her feel safe.

“I feel like my health is being put at risk, so I can keep going to school, so I can keep being on campus, so we can keep pushing money through, it’s basically what it all boils down to,” the student said.

Those that are raising concerns say they just want answers to their questions and more precautions to be taken that are specific to their classroom setting.

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