Despite the coronavirus outbreak causing students to study from home, Bellevue University’s biology students are still hammering away at their required research projects.

With many students needing to do lab work to complete research projects, BU has come up with a way to ensure students can safely complete their work.

John Kyndt, assistant professor of microbiology, nutrition and sustainability in the College of Science and Technology, said the department was “lucky” to get permission to allow students to finish any lab work for their research projects.

“We didn’t want to postpone it until the fall because they wouldn’t be able to graduate without finishing their research projects,” he said. “The administration was very helpful in that regard and we worked out some restrictions.”

Students who decide to go to the lab, located in the R. Joe Dennis learning Center, are required to “gear up” with face masks, face shields, lab coats and gloves.

Kyndt said there is a limit of four or five people, and students must come in alone and work at their own table to encourage social distancing.

While the opportunity is there for students to safely work on their projects, Kyndt said it’s not a requirement to come into the lab if a student feels unsafe.

“If they didn’t want to come into the lab, we gave them an alternative assignment,” he said. “We didn’t force them to come in.”

Fabiola Aviles, a senior biology major, said she’s had no problem adjusting to the regulations.

Aviles has worked on her senior thesis in the lab with Kyndt, and has had to wear all equipment to make for a safe visit.

“It hasn’t been that tough. I go about twice in the week and I think (the new protocol) is great,” she said. “(The professors) have been great about it.”

With these new changes, Kyndt said the students have been following protocol and adapting well to conduct their research safely.

“They follow the rules very well and they understand that it’s necessary and it’s for everyone’s safety,” he said.

As a professor, Kyndt said it’s been an “adjustment” to going fully online and having less people in the lab, but he and other professors have accepted the changes.

“Everyone understands and it’s just the way it has to be done right now,” he said.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.