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Purdue has plan for dealing with the COVID-19 threat this fall

Life anything but normal for students and staff
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Posted at 4:45 PM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-12 16:46:33-04

WEST LAFAYETTE — College administrators have been staying up late trying to figure out how to re-open their campuses for the fall semester while COVID-19 remains a threat.

Friday, Purdue University released the "Protect Purdue Plan", what the schools calls a "comprehensive and scientifically-based strategy to prepare the campus and community for the fall 2020 semester."

University experts from many fields collaborated on the plan and submitted it to the school's trustees for review and approval.

“Over the next two months, hundreds, if not thousands, of Purdue faculty and staff will continue to work tirelessly to prepare for the safest and best fall semester we can deliver,” said Willie Reed, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, co-chair of the Safe Campus Task Force and member of the medical advisory group.

“This plan outlines the most vital measures as we know them right now and will continue to evolve as we follow the guidance and direction of our own medical experts, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and governmental and public health officials.”

Here' a look at what the plan includes:

  • An extensive system of testing and tracing designed to protect the most vulnerable, care for symptomatic and sick individuals, and limit the spread of the virus.
  • A major redesign of nearly every physical space on campus, including installation of physical barriers, establishing new building and room occupation limits, changed traffic patterns, and physical reconfiguration of research labs, offices, classrooms and residential spaces.
  • Reducing the density of all offices, classrooms, labs and residential spaces with classrooms reduced to no more than 50% capacity. Transitioning at least 30% of staff to remote work, and requiring adequate space in labs and residences for required social distancing of at least six feet.
  • Totally revised residential dining experience with a carry-out only model, no indoor seating, socially-distanced lines, and enhanced sanitizing.
  • Development of a resilient teaching model in which, for any contingency, students will be able to continue their academic progress.
  • An altered fall calendar eliminating customary fall breaks and holidays, with in-person instruction ending before Thanksgiving.
  • The option of a fully online semester for those students who cannot or choose not to come to campus for fall.

“We have every intention and expectation that we will safely and successfully resume campus operations this fall,” Reed said. “Our trustees and administration have made this our top priority and just yesterday committed all necessary resources, which could range as high as $50 million, from the FY21 budget for the measures that include testing and tracing, instructional capacity, building and facility modifications, additional sanitizing and cleaning, personal protective equipment supplies and safety equipment, and quarantine rooms for students.”