Rowan College in New Jersey has implemented a new classroom system to help prevent COVID-19 spread among students attending in-person classes this fall.
The community college has put small decal numbers on student seats to identify where students are sitting for each class they attend. A college spokesman explained that the school could use the stickers when one of its students contracts the virus.
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, school administrators will isolate those sitting within six feet of the infected person and not the entire class. “Without the sticker, we would have had to assume the whole class was exposed and take it entirely remote,” the spokesperson said.
“You come on the first day, there’s a seating chart and that’s where you’re sitting. But as you can imagine with college kids, it’s fluid. You see someone you know, want to sit with them, and then we thought it would also put a burden on the instructor to enforce that,” campus security director Andrew Eaton told NJ.com.
Rowan has already placed more than 2,600 decals for the fall semester. It said they are enough to provide seating designations for over 6,000 returning students.
‘Small and Effective’
According to student government association president Christina Scillieri, students are excited to return to campus after more than a year of remote learning. However, she emphasized that the safety of students must still be prioritized.
With the new system Rowan introduced for contact tracing, the student leader believes that students can have a safe and healthy experience on campus.
“We want that experience, that opportunity. We missed out on all of that last year. We also want everyone to be healthy and as safe as possible. I think it’s a seemingly small and effective way to keep us all on campus and safe,” she told the New Jersey-based outlet.
In addition to prioritizing contract tracing, the college is encouraging its students to wear masks and observe physical distancing on campus. It is also requiring students to sign in for each class they attend.