Return to the Rock – 5 Things to Know

Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Students wearing masks as a check in table

This week, we welcome approximately 440 new students to Rockhurst University. For these students, arriving for their first semester of college is a milestone, and for both new and returning students, there’s plenty to be excited about.

But, for obvious reasons, college move-in and the start of the fall semester will be very different this time around. So what should those new Hawks, as well as our returning students, faculty and staff, expect when they step on campus again?

University leaders have developed a comprehensive, dynamic plan called Return to the Rock, paving the way for faculty, staff and students to safely return to campus. There is a lot in the plan, but here are the most important lessons to keep in mind as you prepare to come back.

1. Wear a maskMask wearing is not just a recommendation, it’s required. In accordance with the mask order issued by Kansas City, Missouri, masks or facial coverings are required inside buildings on campus. And for good reason — wearing a mask is one of the simplest ways to keep each other safe, according to scientific guidance from the CDC, and it’s one of the essential steps in preventing transmission on campus as we live, learn and work.

2. Keep social distance — Just like wearing a mask, observing the standard six feet of social distance on campus (and elsewhere) is critically important in suppressing transmission of COVID-19, especially when it comes to shared inside spaces. We’ve adjusted the furniture in commons spaces on campus, including in residence halls, to reflect the six-foot guideline, and you’ll also see differences from classrooms to the cafeteria (Thomas More Dining Hall) to accommodate these best practices.

3. Wash those hands — In addition to the two items above, regular and thorough hand-washing is also important to fight the spread of COVID-19. You likely won’t be able to miss the hand-washing and sanitizing reminders on campus, alongside signs about mask-wearing and social distancing. Here’s a video from RU and information from the CDC about proper handwashing.

4. Wake up each morning with Campus Clear — Before entering the public spaces each day, students, faculty and staff will be required to complete a daily self-screening on a free app called Campus Clear. A green screen lets you enter public spaces on campus. If you get a red screen, you should report to the University using this form, plan to avoid public spaces, and wait for further instruction.

5. Learning will look different — More course offerings will be partially or fully online to allow for social distancing. There are eight different course “modalities” that include different degrees of face-to-face and online contact, some synchronous and some asynchronous. Basically, students should know that their learning experience will be different during the fall semester.

As we all know, during the COVID-19 pandemic, things are always changing. The Return to the Rock plan, developed with input from local health authorities, recognizes this, with protocols for a variety of situations that the University might face as a result of COVID-19. But know that this semester will likely involve everyone making some adjustments. Visit the Return to the Rock page to find out more about the plan and get answers to frequently asked questions; view a series of videos on mask-wearing, social distancing and other procedures; and read previous communications sent to students, faculty and staff.