How many students can live in a dorm while still maintaining safe physical distancing? What kind of sanitation efforts will be needed to prevent infection in common spaces? What volume of PPE has to be provided, and how will we train staff to recognize early signs of illness?
Before students, faculty and staff can return to campus for the fall semester, all of these questions and more will need to be answered. A newly released document, CU Safely Back: An Overview for Returning to the Campuses (PDF), outlines the administration’s plans for opening the Chapman campuses in Orange and Irvine.
“What’s most important is keeping everyone healthy,” says President Daniele C. Struppa. “Our task forces are working together to build a comprehensive strategy that will address every area of concern that may arise, while following guidelines provided by local, state and federal health authorities.”
COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies for Campus
The plan overview outlines the five primary mitigation strategies the university will employ to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus: Physical Distancing, Symptom Monitoring and Surveillance, Public Health Interventions, Face Coverings and Sanitation Protocols.
It then outlines how these strategies will be employed in each of the major areas of campus life: Residence Halls, Classrooms, Teaching Laboratories, Libraries and Common Study Areas, Large Gatherings, Athletics, and the Arts.
While the specific details are still in development, these guidelines provide an overview of what preventative measures will be employed.
For example, in the Residence Halls section, limitations on the number of students living in each room is defined. (“Maximum of two students will be housed per room. No more than three students in any two-bedroom apartment or suite. No more than four students total in any three-bedroom apartment or suite.”) In addition, there are provisions for a percentage of rooms to be set aside for students to isolate in case of infection or exposure.
Designing a Strong, Adaptable Plan for Fall
In May, President Struppa announced the creation of 18 task forces to oversee the development of each area of the plan. While the released overview presents a strong, broad strategy, the task forces have until the end of June to finalize details and have them approved by the Executive Committee.
In addition, all decisions made by the university will be subject to guidance from local, state and federal health authorities. As the ongoing pandemic is a constantly evolving situation, the administration is committed to being prepared for all developments, as well as creating contingency plans for every foreseeable circumstance.