Wayland Welcomes Students Back to Class

August 12, 2020

A young man with a facemask sits at a small table in a hallway. A piano and banner with the word "music" are visible in the background.
Wayland music student Matthew Flores of Olton is ready to return to the classroom where he can “get back to what I know.”

PLAINVIEW – With students already back on campus, Wayland Baptist University kicks off the fall semester today with classes officially starting amid safety precautions in place to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Students and employees are required to wear masks on campus and practice social distancing. Classrooms have been set up in order to adhere to Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines to stay 6-feet apart. If a classroom can’t safely accommodate the number of student enrolled, the class has been moved to a larger venue or is being offered on a flex schedule that could see different groups meeting on different days, or the use of technology to allow some students to take the course remotely. Students are also required to wipe down their station after class with disinfectant wipes provided by the university.

It’s a song and dance playing out across college campuses around the country. A dance, that music student Matthew Flores from Olton says is interesting to watch.

“It’s just interesting to see how the professors are working to get things sorted out so that we can still be together and still be 6 feet apart. That’s kind of fun to watch,” Flores said. “The complexion of things looks a lot different than it normally does.”

For the School of Music, some of those changes include holding ensemble classes outdoors and breaking large groups into small sections to work with fewer students at one time.

Brooke Vickers, an education student from Monticello, Florida, is entering her senior year. She’s just glad her clinical teaching at a local public school won’t begin until the spring semester.

“I just hope everything has calmed down by then,” Vickers said. “I know people who are student teaching this semester and it’s just kind of crazy. They don’t even know if they are going to be able to go into the classrooms or not. They might have to student teach online.”

Still, like many of their peers, both students are excited for the return to campus.

“I think it’s good we are coming back,” Vickers said. “I’m excited to be back.”

“I’m ready to hit the ground running and get back to what I know, get back to classes and get back to learning,” Flores said. “I’m not super worried about it; maybe a little uncomfortable. It’s okay to be uncomfortable. It’s a growth period. Everyone is going to be a little uncomfortable, but we’re doing it together so it’s not as bad.”