OGDEN (ABC4) – Weber State University will welcome students back to class on Monday with in-person classes returning to full capacity for the first time in months. As things slowly return to normal on campus, the university is using different tactics to help keep its students, and surrounding communities healthy during the pandemic.
“We will be pretty much back to normal,” says WSU Director of Public Safety Dane LeBlanc. He tells ABC4 the university is getting ready to welcome students back with many COVID-19 policies now being called recommendations. He adds, “We are recommending wearing masks for those who have not been vaccinated.”
A recent student survey shows 80% of the student body is or will be vaccinated by the first day of school.
“I got fully vaccinated,” states student Ashleigh Young. “So, like, I’m totally able to not wear a mask but it’s for those people who are still scared. I feel more compassion for them.” Young and her friend Brooklyn Otto tell ABC4 they will continue wearing their masks around other students and school faculty if it makes them feel better.
LeBlanc explains that the university is returning to in-person learning, including classes that are set up with theater seating. However, he says all classes will take part in a contact tracing program “which includes our faculty and staff doing seating assignments and doing role call assignments, so we can do a viable tracing program.”
As the semester progresses forward, LeBlanc says school officials will work to continue to help students and staff get vaccinated. One way to do that is through vaccine clinics. The university will hold a clinic every Tuesday at the Student Union from the beginning of the semester through December.
The school’s efforts to make the vaccine accessible reach beyond campus. Every Monday and Wednesday, the school will host a vaccine clinic at the Community Education Center in Ogden. When the booster shot is approved, LeBlanc says school officials are working with the Weber-Morgan Health Department to host regular clinics at the Dee Events Center for the community as well. LeBlanc adds, “I truly believe vaccinations are the key to ending this pandemic, so to speak.”
Along with vaccines, COVID-19 tests will be available on campus for symptomatic students. The school will also have information about other testing sites in the community for non-symptomatic students.
Students who come into contact with a positive case will need to wear a mask on campus until they are tested. Students who do not get tested are asked to wear their masks on campus for 14 days.
For students Ashleigh Young and Brooklyn Otto wearing a mask on campus when appropriate isn’t a hard choice. Getting vaccinated was also an easy decision for both students. They both tell ABC4 they hope other students will do what is best. Otto adds, “but it’s everybody’s choice to wear a mask, to be vaccinated. Whatever you do is your decision.”
LeBlanc says during the first two weeks of class, they will send out a second survey to get a better idea of what percentage of students may be vaccinated.