COOKEVILLE – Students who returned to Tennessee Tech’s campus for the second summer semester are getting comfortable with going to traditional classes in a new way. After classes went online following spring break in mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 400 students are attending classes and labs offered in person this semester.
“The first day I was in the lab with students was a huge relief,” said chemistry associate professor Chad Rezsnyak. “We really lost that interaction with students after we went online in the spring. You just lost a lot of interaction with students.”
Students in Rezsnyak’s general chemistry lab are getting used to hands-on learning while social distancing and wearing masks.
“I like being on campus more,” said Robert Mosely, a junior mechanical engineering major from Macon, Ga. “I don’t particularly like the mask, but if that’s what it takes to get us back on campus, I’m willing to do it. I don’t like it, but I will do it just to be back on campus.”
Kaylen Whisnant is another student getting used to the new norm. A junior business major from Cookeville, Whisnant says going online to in-person is an adjustment.
“The adjustment of being on campus was kind of weird to get used to again,” said Whisnant. “The mask thing was kind of hard to get used to because I wear glasses, and they keep fogging up. That’s been the most difficult part for me.”
Like many departments on campus, the chemistry department has been in the planning stages of how to deal with educating students during the pandemic.
“Since we went online in the spring, we have been talking about what we are going to have to do for the summer and fall semesters,” said Rezsnyak. “It has been in the forefront of our minds. We are finally able to put some things in action and make some accommodations.”
The campus has been working hard to prepare for students returning to campus. While almost 3,000 are enrolled for summer courses, including 800 who are taking classes just for the second summer semester, more than 10,000 are expected to be enrolled at Tech when the fall semester starts on Aug. 24.
“We are doing everything we can to keep the students safe and give them the kind of experience they would come to expect from the university,” Rezsneyak said. “We are working with students to make sure they feel safe in getting an education.”
So far, students who are back on campus say they feel safe and are looking forward to the fall.
“I feel really comfortable with it,” said Whisnant. “They are keeping all the guidelines, like social distancing, everyone is wearing masks, goggles or lab safety wear at all times. It’s gone very smooth and very well.”
“I’m looking forward to the fall,” added Mosely. “I really like the in-class environment and the in-class lecture over online any day.”
For more information on Tech’s return to campus, go to https://www.tntech.edu/return/index.php.