By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
Missouri Western State University hopes to welcome students back to the St. Joseph campus this fall.
Missouri Western President Matt Wilson says online learning just cannot replace the college campus experience, both for the student and the university.
“If you don’t have anybody in your dorms, you have nobody eating your meals, you have nobody on your campus for athletic events, conferences, conventions, those types of things, there are staff that typically would be handling those that no longer have a job,” Wilson tells host Barry Birr on the KFEQ Hotline. “And so, I’m hoping and praying that we’re at a point where we’re going to be able to open in the fall, open to the community, open to our students.”
Wilson says the decision by the University of California system to continue online instruction this fall due to COVID-19 sent shockwaves through higher education.
Wilson says it is the intent of Missouri Western to reopen this fall.
Wilson says a university just isn’t the same if classes are conducted online and not on campus.
“That’s one of the magical aspects of a university is an experience that you have on a campus, the interaction that you have in a classroom, the extracurricular activities that are out there as well,” according to Wilson. “That really is the big question mark and the big factor that’s out there, not only for Missouri Western, but for all universities across the state and the nation.”
Wilson acknowledges the campus will have to make changes if it is to be ready for students once again. He says one thing tops the list in preparing a college campus in the age of coronavirus.
“I mean a big part of it is cleanliness. The amount of cleaning, sanitation, those type of things that have occurred on our campus to date and will continue is something that truly is unprecedented,” Wilson says. “You’ll see a lot more flexibility. There will be professors I am sure that are uncomfortable being in a classroom, because of their health history and conditions.”
Also, administrators are preparing the university in case another bout of COVID-19 breaks out, Wilson says.