Fort Hays State University returning to pre-COVID-19 policies for summer and fall schooling

Blaise Mesa
Hays Daily News

Fort Hays State University President Tisa Mason said the campus will host four in-person commencement ceremonies in May and will return to in-person classes for the summer and fall, unless “things change.” 

“We are rolling back to all pre-COVID-19 policies and practices. June 1 we will be official. People will no longer be working remotely,” she told the Ellis County commissioners on Monday. “We have already unlocked all our building doors and taken down directional signs in stairwells. Summer classes, the few that happen on campus, will be back at full capacity. There won’t be the distancing.” 

The college’s most recent COVID-19 dashboard showed five symptomatic students were tested for COVID-19 between April 3-April 9 with no tests returning positive. The college also conducted 308 surveillance tests during that time with zero coming back positive. Seven tests are still pending. 

The college had seen a rise in cases last August with 48 cases of COVID-19 on campus, 36 people in quarantine and 17 people in isolation by Aug. 31, according to FHSU’s virus dashboard. FHSU hasn’t seen similar numbers since then because students took virus precautions more seriously, university officials said last Fall. 

FHSU had multiple COVID-19 updates through the school that had zero positive cases and between Feb. 27-March 5 conducted 298 total tests with only two positive cases. FHSU accomplished this goal without adjusting its academic schedule as well. Mason said the university is the only regent institution that allowed students to take every scheduled break, like spring break. 

Mason said the college won’t require students to get vaccinated. 

She said the university also supported students and staff financially during the pandemic. She said no employees were furloughed or fired and employees continued to get paid. 

“We wanted to keep their wallets strong so they could keep our economy strong,” she said.