By Amy Enberg
During FSW’s first full semester facing the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 39 cases (starting Aug. 31) were reported to the COVID-19 Response Team through the COVID Reporting Form, as of Dec. 9. Approximately 77% (30) of those cases were reported on the Lee Campus, with only six cases on Collier, two on Charlotte, and one at the Hendry-Glades Center.
While any number of cases above zero can be concerning, these numbers are minuscule compared to other colleges. On Dec. 9, FGCU had reached 483 positive cases among students and 35 among employees over the semester.
What is FSW doing to keep its numbers so low? Greg Turchetta, Executive Director of Marketing and Media at FSW, commented, “We have gone an entire fall semester, and our policies as well as our faculty, student, and staff adherence to them has been a major part of this success.”
Going into next semester, those policies – requiring social distancing and face coverings, offering various course modalities, encouraging remote work and learning, and increasing sanitation, among others – are unlikely to change due to their efficacy in keeping students and faculty safe. For more information on FSW’s policies, check out the Return to Campus Plan.
One reason why FSW kept case numbers small in comparison to other schools could be the course modalities. This semester, five modalities were offered – Traditional, Blended, Live Flex, Live Online, and Online.
Of the modalities, online classes (Live Online and Online) were offered the most at 69% of classes. In contrast, courses offered with a face-to-face component (Traditional, Blended, and Live Flex) fell at 31%, according to Dr. Joseph van Gaalen, Assistant VP of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Effectiveness. A slim majority of students (51%) were fully-remote, while 49% took at least one class with an in-person element.
FSW had robust online course offerings before the pandemic struck, which likely made the transition for most students and professors much easier. Having a majority of online classes kept the SARS-CoV-2 virus at bay while students continued to study.
COVID-19 couldn’t stop FSW from completing a full semester of on-campus operations, even if it looked different than before. Though the world’s state this upcoming year is uncertain, FSW seems like a safe choice – just make sure you continue to follow safety guidelines.