Tarleton taking steps for a safer Duck Camp

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STEPHENVILLE — A pair of major social distancing steps were key in shifting Tarleton State University’s annual Duck Camp from an off-campus location to its Stephenville campus for Summer 2020 better ensuring student safety during the evolving coronavirus.

By having the event in Stephenville, charter bus travel to the off-campus site is eliminated, as are communal cabins which would require dozens of students to share sleeping space on bunk beds.

Single rooms for each Duck Camp participant top the list of proactive steps organizers are taking to keep students safe.

Camp-goers will stay in campus housing in an apartment-like setting with shared common living spaces. University safety and operations officials are following CDC guidance and directives from public health officials to create a safe experience.

“We believe this shift in locations will help keep our new students, their families and our campus community safe in these uncertain times,” said Mike Barnette, director for new student programs. “University faculty, staff and current student leaders are going above and beyond to make this summer’s Duck Camp one to remember.”

Additionally, Duck Camp leaders will disinfect high-touch surfaces at the end of meetings and sessions, some traditional Waddle Olympics games are being modified to require safer distance between campers during those activities, and social distancing protocols will be in place during meals at the Dining Hall.

“The Class of 2024 can expect a Duck Camp unlike any in the past,” said Dr. Kelli C. Styron, vice president for student affairs. “Though the setting will be different, Duck Camp will be better than ever.”

With extra measures in place, students should still be aware that six-foot-social-distancing for the entire three days may be unrealistic. Accordingly, the University is taking measures like providing every camper with a Duck Camp face covering to encourage a safe experience for all.

Campers are also encouraged to take personal responsibility byutilizing hand sanitizing stations on campus and wash hands for at least 20 seconds throughout the camp experience; using the Duck Camp face covering provided upon check-in; and bringing additional face coverings if having extras to cycle through would increase their personal comfort level.

“We want every new student possible to experience our institution firsthand at a summer Duck Camp,” said Tarleton President James Hurley. “There’s no better way to learn about our university, connect with classmates and become engaged with the Tarleton family.

“Duck Camp is an opportunity to have fun while gaining the knowledge to thrive in college.”

Camp dates are July 21-23, July 28-30, Aug. 3-5 and Aug. 9-11. Go to www.tarleton.edu/orientation/duckcamp.html for registration information.

Named for Oscar P — legendary pet duck of the university’s founder — the three-day experience for incoming freshmen and transfer students eases the transition into college life. Participants are immersed in the school’s history and traditions while connecting with peers, student leaders, faculty and staff.


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