Plastic keyboard and mouse covers are placed at every third desk while social distancing reminders separate lab workspaces. (Elissa Blankenship Photo Credit)

Pierce College reopens computer labs by appointment

Computer lab access for students will remain open throughout the middle of December, with appointment times available for students to use the technology on campus.

Safety measures and an appointment reservation process are among the changes that have been made to reopen the labs, which began at the end of October.

Since the COVID-19 restrictions announced by Governor Jay Inslee on Nov. 15 don’t affect higher education at the moment, students will be able to visit the Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup campus locations. 

“If you are struggling with anything or you need a quiet place to come study, it’s safe here,” said Wayne Parr, a Student Technology Assistance Team (STAT) member from the Puyallup campus.

Before arriving on campus, students are required to complete an interactive safety training video and read through each required webpage regarding the spread of COVID-19 and guidelines to abide by. Students then complete a health screening form that concerns symptoms of the virus and contact information.

If a positive case of COVID-19 were detected, students that were present during the time of possible contact would be notified by staff who oversee the system.

Students can reserve more than one appointment per day, based on availability, though the two-hour time block is set to prevent students from visiting the campus too frequently. This provides time for STAT members to make sure that work stations are sanitized and reset in between student visits.

“I think we have ample room to keep everybody away from each other in this lab,” said Parr.

Student attendees complete work in a distanced environment using available lab technology. (Elissa Blankenship Photo Credit)

Workspaces are at least six feet apart to ensure the safety of students and staff, with social distancing reminders placed on the ground. Each computer desk has a plastic covering over the mouse and keyboard which is replaced and disinfected in between appointments. 

Students are checked into each numbered computer desk, allowing staff members to write down which desk they used and sanitize the area.

“When the student leaves we ask the student to take their own keyboard and mouse cover off and throw it away, that way our staff isn’t touching something that a student has been working with,” said Kristen Morgan, district program manager for the computer labs and STAT team.

Staff have sneeze guards in front of their desk and are provided with approved cleaning supplies to disinfect each station. Employees and students alike are required to wear a mask and maintain the guidelines presented in the workplace safety video.

STAT member Wayne Parr supervises lab visitors behind a plexiglass shield at the main desk. (Elissa Blankenship Photo Credit)

Additionally, the Papercut tool has been removed from the printers in order to prevent visitors from using the touch screen and potentially spreading the virus. This allows students to print automatically instead of typing in their Student ID.

Empty tables without computers are also available for students to use in the computer labs.

 “We do understand the value of not having a surface in their homes to work on, or our students who may be studying in their car really could benefit,” said Morgan.

Student attendance has been minimal with only a few regular students visiting each day from two to four hour block periods. With winter quarter around the corner and the opportunity for access to available technology, student attendance at the labs could change.

“Generally, we’ll see one or two students the entire day, so it is super safe at the moment,” said Morgan.

Students can sign up for appointments using Canvas through the Student Technology and Assistance course. Zoom rooms with STAT are also accessible via Canvas. More information on how to reserve an appointment is available on the Pierce College website under student resources and computer labs.

Computer labs at the Puyallup and Fort Steilacoom campuses are open every Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. by appointment only. Students can contact the computer labs or STAT via email at STAT@pierce.ctc.edu, or call either location by phone.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

Elissa Blankenship

Pierce College reopens computer labs by appointment

by Elissa Blankenship time to read: 3 min
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