WDVM: Marymount University prepares for in-person classes

Marymount University freshmen will spend the week moving in to their dorms. The private university will hold classes in person this semester, starting Monday.
Masks are required at all times. The university purchased rapid testing equipment, but, like the CDC, it does not require coronavirus testing. President Dr. Irma Becerra says the small, 3,000 student university is at an advantage. Students will not be doubled up in their dorms, classrooms will be at half capacity at most, and professors can opt to teach online when necessary.
The university went online for the spring semester and, based on the results of its student survey, chose to prioritize in-person classes for the fall. “We did have a small group of students – only about 20 percent – that, for a number of reasons, preferred to continue in a remote fashion,” Becerra said. “We were able to accommodate all the classrooms with the necessary technology so the professors will be teaching in a face-to-face but the students can opt to take the class remotely if they prefer to do so.”
The university is encouraging students to download an app to keep track of their health. Additional technology will manage contact tracing. “In the app, you check how you’re feeling every day. If you’re not feeling well, we refer you to our clinic and there, there will be a rapid test, in 15 minutes, results, and from there, contract tracing,” Becerra explained.
As the university pivots to take coronavirus precautions, it’s also adopted a new, interdisciplinary academic structure. The university has switched from four schools to three colleges: the College of Science and Humanities (School of Humanities, School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences); the College of Business, Ideation, Leadership and Technology (School of Business, School of Design, and the School of Technology and Innovation); and the College of Health and Education (School of Rehabilitation and Health Sciences, School of Nursing, School of Counseling, and the School of Education).
“The difficult problems the world is facing today – they do require interdisciplinary thought to be able to solve them and we’re going to be able to provide that to our students,” Becerra said. 
The new model is thanks to Provost and Senior Vice President Dr. Hesham El-Rewini. “It really creates more opportunities for the students and the faculty, not just for teaching but for research opportunities.”
El-Rewini says the new structure is also more flexible. “We’re going to create new programs and these programs will take from the health domain, from the business domain, from the humanities domain, from the science and the STEM domain,” he said. “I think employers will find our students more attractive.”

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