July 30, 2020 by Andy Vogel

OSU Classroom | AVIXA Photo Credit: Evan Belsky

With the ever-changing climate of COVID-19, The Ohio State University has adapted by utilizing remote and social distancing strategies. This includes our classroom support team members, who are preparing the university learning spaces for fall semester.

There are many adjustments to be made to our daily work life, but we are finding that we are better prepared then we realized. This includes how we operate in the office and maintain our classroom spaces. Ensuring social distancing for staff who need to be on campus is especially important for those who need to support at-risk family members.

Strategies include:

  • Setting up temporary workstations in other buildings to increase social distancing. The classroom services team is normally in one office, but since much of campus is not currently operational, we were able to secure space in other buildings.
  • Changing office layouts for more space between each staff member. Most of our furniture is flexible, so this was a relatively straightforward task.
  • Balancing person-to-person contact with rotating shifts and remote work. Some work must be completed on-site, such as performing AV maintenance, reconfiguring classroom furniture, training new staff and working with stakeholders. Those who can work remotely, such as staff who have primarily technology duties, are rotating in and out of the office because they can conduct their work tasks remotely.
OSU Classroom | AVIXA Photo Credit: Evan Belsky

Many of our processes just required additions. We have always used walkie-talkies to maintain lines of communication on campus, and we have added Microsoft Teams and Zoom to stay connected. Even when most of our staffers are in the office, we continue to have our meetings online to minimize person-to-person contact in small spaces.

We already had students and staff break up classrooms into small groups to conduct maintenance across campus. We only need to adapt adding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and a process for signing out maintenance kits, so they can be sanitized at sign-in. This provides safety for both our staff and customers.

Much of the classroom team’s summer work involves having small groups working across campus to reconfigure classroom spaces to enable socially distancing environments. Again, much of our furniture is flexible, so the work involves rearranging layouts and adding signage. To remain socially distant with this process, we work in phases and each group has a specific goal. For example, one group measures spaces and positions desks, then the next group adds signage.

We have published information about the physical distancing guidelines and the signage to be transparent with faculty, students, and parents.

OSU Classroom | AVIXA Photo Credit: Evan Belsky

We will continue to update information about layouts on our Resource page which also includes classroom visuals and technology available in each space.

Every Buckeye plays an important part in taking care of each other. We strive to continue doing incredible work, while maintaining social distancing. Our work contributes to the superb experience of The Ohio State University.

About Andy Vogel

Andy Vogel has been part of the Ohio State University for nearly seven years. Currently as a Classroom Services Coordinator, he is supporting the classroom spaces at OSU with an emphasis on social distancing and hybrid learning. Andy is an experienced practitioner in eLearning tools and classroom AV. Andy continually collaborates with stakeholders to address technology integrations with an emphasis on pedagogical approaches.