Photo by Sue WatsonEnjoying lunch outside, near Shaw Cafeteria, are Rust College students (from left) Michael Harris, Sharday Richardson, Kenyaun Smith and Brian McGhee.
New semester ‘going well’ at Rust
Rust College is stepping up to the challenge of educating its students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Freshmen and sophomores are experiencing a hybrid learning environment with both online and face-toface instruction. Juniors and seniors have all online courses.
“Things are going well,” said Dr. Ivy R. Taylor, new president of Rust. “We have issued masks to students and sometimes have to remind them. For the most part, students are wearing masks. We are not having large gatherings of students and class sizes are limited.
“I pray every day that our students will remain healthy. We have not had any COVID cases among students, but had one case with a staff member. The staff member has recovered and none of the immediate co-workers contracted COVID-19.”
Total enrollment is 576, down from 737 last fall, she said. Of the 576 students, 278 are attending classes on campus and 298 participating in virtual learning. There are 321 students living in residence halls.
“As a result of the pandemic, our enrollment has declined,” Ivy said. “That is causing challenges for our budget, but the relief money from the federal government has been extremely helpful.”
All full-time enrolled students have been issued laptop computers “Some of the faculty members need additional training in the learning platform, Blackboard, and we are arranging that,” she said.
The next opportunity for admission/registration is the second module, which starts October 5.
“We are pushing to enroll more students at our second module,” Ivy said. “So if any of your readers are young people who were hesitant to go ahead and start college, now is the time to call Rust College Admissions Office about enrolling at the second module.”
As for athletics, Ivy said as of now Rust plans to play a few of the scheduled basketball games this semester but spectators will not be allowed in the gymnasium.
“Only team members, the athletic staff and trainers will be allowed in the gym,” she said.
She added that she is certain games will be recorded/televised.
The second semester begins January 5, 2021.
“We are hopeful that 2021 will bring us closer to our old `normal’ so students and community can enjoy additional activities on campus,” she said.
Ivy and her family, husband Rodney and daughter Morgan, are enjoying Mississippi life after a recent move from San Antonio, Texas.
“We are grateful for the opportunity that brought us here,” she said, “and look forward to being a part of this community for many years.”