WEST LAFAYETTE — Purdue University President Mitch Daniels has made clear his plans to have students back on campus for the fall semester.
But what about those students who cannot or chose not to come to West Lafayette in August? The Purdue Board of Trustees approved a plan Tuesday that allows for online coursework.
“The overwhelming majority of our students have indicated they want to be on campus this fall, and everything we are doing right now is aimed at offering the safest experience we can as we protect all the members of our community,” trustees chair Michael Berghoff said. “This will include many major changes in our protocols and our behaviors. We will rely on each member of the Boilermaker community to be responsible and make the best decisions for themselves and for others.”
The online offerings will be extensive, according to Purdue, allowing students to take classes fully online and earn credits their degree.
The trustee also approved several plans to reduce the risk of COVID-19 on campus. Those plans include:
- To reduce the density of learning spaces on campus by reconfiguring facilities, and adhering to space management principles, assignment and scheduling protocols. For classroom spaces, student occupant capacities will be reduced by approximately 50%, and large-classroom occupancy will be limited to no more than 150 students. The space between instructor and student will be a minimum of 10 feet, and mobile plexiglass barriers will be available for additional protection.
- Reducing the density of campus living spaces. Square footage per person will meet or exceed 113 square feet, allowing for a radius of 6 feet per person, or while sleeping, a separation of at least 10 feet head-to-head.
- To implement more frequent and intensive practices for disinfecting campus facilities, including the mobilization of existing staff and the hiring of additional staff as required for this effort.
- To adopt a process for identifying those most vulnerable in the campus community and, thus, at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and to implement a process for making individual accommodations for those for whom it is medically appropriate.
Purdue is planning a fall semester on-campus from August 24 to November 24, without the usual fall break. After that, the rest of the semester will be completed by "remote means."
The school will also require face masks while indoors or "any close-quarter setting." And students will be asked to make a pledge to wash hands often, take their temperatures daily, maintain social distancing, and keep their common spaces and clothing clean.