University of St. Thomas Magazine Fall/Winter 2020

Yes, campus looked different when students finally returned in September. While it remains to be seen when things will “return to normal,” campus operations may never completely look the same …and that may not be a bad thing. In fact, adjusting campus operations to keep community members safe may have uncovered processes that could serve the university well into the future long after the COVID-19 era is over.

Center for Well-Being staff from registered nurses to the front desk team learned new skills, such as additional screening and contact tracing best practices, to effectively respond to the pandemic. “Every single role and every single person had to learn a lot of new skills very quickly and they have done it with grace and compassion,” McDermott, director of the center, said. “They have been just amazing while still themselves having to cope with the world outside where a pandemic is our day-to- day reality.”

Assistant Director of Campus Life Jeff Holstein hands out care kits including face coverings and hand sanitizer on John P. Monahan Plaza. Photo by Liam James Doyle.

Facilities Management staff Candyce “Candy” Sauer, right, and Dennis Hollie work together to sanitize surfaces in the Anderson Student Center. Photo by Liam James Doyle.

Telehealth and new skills Making the campus as safe as possible for students, faculty and staff was a priority for MadonnaMcDermott and her teamat the Center forWell-Being. The center, she noted, has continuously adjusted tomeet people's needs during the pandemic. Changes made early on at the center carried over into the fall including shifting counseling sessions online, conducting medical visits virtually when possible, developing and implementing new flow processes and adding 24/7 mental health urgent care.

In-person, online and mixed-mode learning

St. Thomas was prepared more for last spring’s shift to online learning thanks to St. Thomas E-learning and Research (STELAR), a part of Innovation and Technology Services at the forefront of technology- enhanced instruction. In fact, many faculty members who hadn’t taught online prior to the pandemic were already trained to do so.

Close to 2,500 courses were taught online last spring and summer.

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