Wright State resumed regular campus operations at the start of the semester with expanded classroom capacity, activities, events and residence hall experiences. Many offices and programs have also resumed offering in-person services.
This effort was overseen by Wright State’s COVID Task Force, which includes nearly 60 faculty, staff, administrators and students who carefully planned for the semester.
The COVID Task Force and its six subcommittees are responsible for monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic, overseeing the university’s response and coordinating the return of campus operations.
The task force works collaboratively and relies on the expertise of its members — who represent a cross-section of the university community — as well as guidance and recommendations from federal, state and local health agencies.
“The task force takes a holistic approach to looking at the pandemic from all angles of campus life and campus operations to be able to respond to it,” said Chris Taylor, Ph.D., dean of students and chair of the COVID Task Force.
The task force’s work covers everything from learning and teaching in the classroom and remotely, encouraging individuals to get vaccinated, implementing COVID testing procedures, approving safety protocols and providing necessary support services for students, faculty and staff.
In a national survey, students reported feeling exhausted, worn out and depressed. Taylor expects many Wright State students could potentially fit this profile so the university is focused on providing students the support they need.
“We have a first-year class made up of many students who are stepping into a classroom for the first time in over a year,” he said. “We have a rising sophomore class that did not experience their first year of college like they would have liked to.”
Throughout the pandemic, the task force has stressed the need to adjust campus protocols as the pandemic has changed, the virus has evolved, and state and federal guidance and scientific recommendations are updated.
“We have to stay nimble and be ready to quickly digest new information from a variety of resources and determine our best response,” Taylor said. “We’re trying to respond as rapidly as we can to changing conditions while also engaging the campus community and ensuring we can operate as safely as possible so we can accomplish everything we want to as an institution.”
Since the first days of the pandemic, a committee of Wright State community members has overseen the university’s response to the pandemic.
The COVID Task Force meets regularly and its members are in constant communication to address changing situations immediately when necessary. Chairs of the six subcommittees meet every two weeks to consider future plans and needed changes to protocols. The subcommittees meet on their own as well.
In addition, task force members work regularly with other higher education institutions in Ohio and national educational organizations.
The COVID Task Force subcommittees include faculty, staff and student representatives from across the university, including from Environmental Health and Safety, Wright State Physicians, Student Health Services, Facilities, Faculty Senate, Student Government Association, Academic Affairs, every college, Lake Campus, Residence Life and Housing, Computing and Telecommunications Services, Center for Teaching and Learning, union representatives, University Police, Student Success, Disability Services, University Center for International Education, University Libraries and Human Resources.
COVID Task force subcommittees include:
The Academics subcommittee manages space and safety for in-person classes; provides teaching support for all modes; and develops scheduling plans for social distancing.
The subcommittee is co-chaired by Brian Boyd, Ph.D., associate professor of teacher education and Faculty Senate president; Linda Caron, Ph.D., dean of the College of Liberal Arts; Kathy Engisch, Ph.D., interim dean of the College of Science and Mathematics; and Mary Holland, Ph.D., registrar.
The Administrative and Operations subcommittee is responsible for reviewing and approving campus reopen plans; preparing campus facilities and space for reopening; controlling access to campus; developing plans to respond to positive cases; and athletics.
The subcommittee is co-chaired by Javan Conley, associate vice president for facility operations, and Marjorie Markopoulos, Ph.D., director of Environmental Health and Safety.
The Contact Tracing, Testing and Vaccines subcommittee is responsible for identifying and developing a contact tracing app; putting together a tracing team; developing a testing plan; and developing a plan to respond to positive cases.
The subcommittee is co-chaired by Kim Paul, chief administrative officer of the Boonshoft School of Medicine and CEO of Wright State Physicians, and Chris Taylor, Ph.D., dean of students.
The Policies and Procedures subcommittee oversees policy on safety requirements for faculty, students and staff; policy on in-person work requirements; required documents; training; and UCIE, international students and travel.
The subcommittee is chaired by Sean Culley, J.D., deputy general counsel.
The Research subcommittee is responsible for developing plans to ramp up research; developing a plan for undergraduates; and responding to COVID-related research issues.
The subcommittee is co-chaired by Kathy Engisch, Ph.D., interim dean and the College of Science and Mathematics; and Madhavi Kadakia, Ph.D., interim vice provost for research and associate dean for research affairs at the Boonshoft School of Medicine.
The Student Life and Community Health subcommittee is responsible for preparations for housing, dining, recreation and events; creation of public health communication; assessment of community health; development and delivery of wellness resources; and preparations for student cases.
The subcommittee is co-chaired by Dan Bertsos, director of Residence Life and Housing, and Robert Rando, Ph.D., associate dean of students and director of Counseling and Wellness Services.
View the full roster of COVID Task Force members at wright.edu/coronavirus/covid-task-force.