UCO scores “low risk” on Risk Assessment Calculator

Last week, The Vista asked whether before students returned if the University of Central Oklahoma consulted a risk assessment calculator designed to help higher learning institutions gauge preparedness for reopening. They had not. However, UCO has since assessed their performance and reports a low-risk rating.

UCO completed the first week of classes since the suspension of school in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It created a comprehensive plan to address the necessary changes needed to be made in order to reopen the campus for students, faculty and staff.

The calculator was designed by John Hopkins to accompany the “COVID-19 Planning and Self-Assessment Guide for Higher Education”. The guide and calculator are designed to be practical planning tools to help institutions.

Adrienne Nobles, vice president for communications and public affairs stated, “We did not use the assessment when drafting our plan; however, I completed it under our current conditions in the implementation phase of our plan.”

Nobles stated,

“The risk rating is moderate. The mitigation rating on the “Stage 2” tab is “Very Prepared to Mitigate Covid-19 Impacts”. The Stage 3 tab determination is an overall risk level of “Low.”

As the second week of classes begins, The Vista requested the UCO Task Force reference the calculator for a clear picture of where the university is within the recommended safety perimeters.

Nobles consulted with Norman Nieves, the Fall Reopening Task Force leader and Director of Emergency Management, to verify the answers and he agreed with the assessment.

Although UCO scored as a moderate risk, it scored a 92 on its mitigation rating. The combination of the two resulted in the low level risk rating.

The calculator was created by Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, and Tuscany Strategy Consulting.
Source: https://www.opensmartedu.org/planning-tools/#guide

Last week, The Vista spoke to some faculty about the university response to COVID-19 and reopening. Some were under the impression that student preferences superseded those of the faculty.

The Vista inquired whether an official survey determined UCO students preferences regarding in-person classes over online courses.

“I am not aware of any broad survey, but am checking with my colleagues to confirm,” Nobles stated. “We did get a lot of informal feedback via social media, academic advisors and others working with students in enrollment and advisement, indicating there was a demand for both in-person and virtual/online instruction, as students had varying levels of comfort and needs. That is one reason why the university developed the extended classroom sections for classes.”

Anyone with questions about extended classrooms, can visit the UCO enrollment site. Students can still enroll and transition out of in-person classes as well.

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