Lawrence Tech University is just weeks into in-person classes with new protocols and procedures. Among the measures to keep people safe are over 100 hand sanitizer dispensers placed around the campus.

Lawrence Tech University is just weeks into in-person classes with new protocols and procedures. Among the measures to keep people safe are over 100 hand sanitizer dispensers placed around the campus.

Photo by Jacob Herbert


Lawrence Tech adjusting to school year under coronavirus pandemic

By: Jacob Herbert | Southfield Sun | Published September 8, 2020

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SOUTHFIELD — As colleges and universities across the state return to classes, many are exploring different avenues of doing so while still keeping students and faculty safe. Some colleges are still planning on meeting face to face, while others are going strictly online.

Lawrence Technological University has decided to take on a hybrid of the two, letting students take classes online or return to a campus that has adopted several protocols to protect students from catching and spreading COVID-19.

If students choose to attend in-person classes, they are to fill out a daily health screening that asks them their temperature and inquires about other COVID-19 related symptoms. If they are showing signs of symptoms, the university will work with them to get medical help.

Students living on campus receive temperature checks every day on top of the daily screening. They also had to take a COVID-19 test and test negative before returning to campus.

LTU Dean of Students Kevin Finn said administrators had been working on a plan since March so the university could pick things up in the fall right where it left off.

“We always wanted it to be a hybrid of the two, and the main reason is this: Most students choose Lawrence Tech because of that face-to-face experience,” Finn said. “We are a small private school, and with many of our students that was something they wanted to have or it wouldn’t have felt like the school that they had chosen.”

Finn said his team consulted several experts when constructing a plan for return. Among them were the Oakland County Health Division, Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities and the American Collegiate Health Association. Finn also said the university followed all of the executive orders from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Lawrence Tech’s website has a tab dedicated to providing COVID-19 updates for anyone interested in learning about the actions the university is taking with regard to classrooms and teaching, housing and dining, student life and facilities, cleaning, and signage.

A letter from University President Virinder K. Moudgil, along with additional information, can be found at ltu.edu/coronavirus.

“We’re very confident,” Finn said of the university’s protocols. “I think it comes down to a couple different things that we keep reiterating to our students. It has a lot to do with their behavior and their willingness to follow the different rules we have. We’ve explained to them that a lot of this is in their hands and how they behave determines how safe we keep our community.”

Finn encouraged students and faculty alike to work together to follow this new set of rules to ensure everyone’s safety.

Lisa Kujawa, the associate provost for enrollment management and outreach, has seen a 16% raise in first-time college attendees coming to campus despite the pandemic. She believes that has a lot to do with incoming freshman students wanting their lives back.

LTU also put in a lot of work to make sure every student and parent felt comfortable with coming back, officials said. The Blue Devils had a total of 523 incoming freshmen this fall, and the school’s advising and financial aid department met with every single student via Zoom meetings to answer questions.

“The advising people were able to answer parents’ and students’ questions,” Kujawa said. “They were able to calm people’s fears by explaining the things we have in place to help incoming freshmen. This was more personal.”

Lawrence Tech also saw a 50% increase in dual enrollment students due to some high schools in the area going completely virtual.

In response to an unsigned email reportedly from a student worried about safety matters that was sent to the Southfield Sun, Finn said that he believes it’s based on a misperception.

“What we’re aware of is we let our university committee know when there’s a case. Let’s take the example of that student on Monday, that student did everything we could ask for. We had two cases last week, that was one. The second case was similar. The student was on campus Tuesday and in classes. On Wednesday morning, a friend of his reached out that doesn’t go to our school and said, ‘Hey, I want you to know I tested positive this week and because you were in close contact with me this weekend, you should go get a test.’ Our student did not show any symptoms, but what he did on Wednesday was go take a test and it came back positive. He did the right thing and he contacted us and he’s quarantined. Sometimes the students don’t know that that’s how exactly it’s going, and unfortunately, rumors do happen. We feel good with how we responded and we feel good that when people are completing their health screens, we’re able to keep them safe and contained as possible from a spread. But it does require a lot of cooperation. But no, we wouldn’t willingly allow a student to be on campus if they had COVID.”

Students and parents who still have concerns are encouraged to contact Moudgil, Finn, Kujawa or other LTU faculty members. According to Kujawa, the Blue Devils currently have a total enrollment of 3,100 students.

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