Olympic College has introduced a new centralized check-in system on its Bremerton, Poulsbo and Shelton campuses as it resumes offering in-person student services this week for the first time since going all-virtual during the pandemic.
The centralized check-in system will require students, employees and visitors to complete a self-attestation form to screen for COVID-19 symptoms using kiosks that are located in multiple buildings on campus.
After completing their check-in, they are issued colored wristbands that grant them access to all the college’s facilities. The color of the wristbands fades after 16 hours to indicate that it is no longer valid for the day.
The self-screening process can also be done through Olympic College’s Safe Start website.
Shawn Devine, OC director of communications and web services, said the check-in system is a change that comes as student services are available on campus again.
“It’s just something that we’re testing out to see how effective it is at, you know, during COVID, identifying those who’ve completed the daily self-attestation form so that they can come and go around campus safely,” Devine said.
John Clouthier, who currently attends Olympic College and works in the Information Technology department as a student employee, said there are some things they are still figuring out about the centralized check-in system.
“This is kind of a trial period because it’s summer quarter, so there’s not a lot of students. So it’s kind of our goal to get this working by the end of the quarter,” Clouthier said.
In addition to using the centralized check-in systems, Olympic College has updated its mask policy to align with Gov. Jay Inslee’s amended proclamation for institutions of higher education.
Under the new policy, students and employees will still be required to wear masks indoors unless they have verified with the school that they are vaccinated.
At this moment, students are not required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but the college is “strongly encouraging” everyone to receive it, Devine said.
These changes come as the school prepares to bring students back on campus this fall.
During the fall quarter, which begins on Sept. 20, there will be around 300 classes offered in person.
“We’re in the neighborhood of 2,000 or so students in person, on ground this fall,” Devine said.
Kenneth Guyer, who has enrolled at Olympic College for the fall, said he didn’t like online learning from his experience at his previous college.
“I’m definitely a hands-on learner so probably in-person is very beneficial,” Guyer said.
Clouthier said that although he hasn’t had issues with virtual learning, he understands there are students who are “really hurting” for in-person instruction.
Brendan Taga, vice president of student services, said faculty and staff have heard concerns about the need for in-person services to be available on campus from struggling students.
“The pandemic has had a different impact on different groups of students, and so, it’s not felt evenly across each of those student groups,” Taga said. “We know that students, especially that don’t have consistent access to the internet and also students who need to have more of a sense of belonging and engagement, both in class as well as with other students, could really benefit from coming back to in-person services.”
All student services will still be available online even as in-person services resume.
“We want to meet students where they are, which is why we are expanding what’s available in person,” Devine said.
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