Questions abound as La Salle University readies for the Fall 2020 semester. To list a few: When and where do I have to wear a mask? Are campus visitors permitted? How often will campus be cleaned?
As La Salle prepares for a return to in-person experience for students and on-site operations for its employees, the University has published #ExplorersReturn, La Salle University’s return-to-campus plan.
Here are a few takeaways and tips from the University’s return-to-campus plan, intended to keep everyone in the University community safe and healthy:
It’s incumbent on everyone in our community to take care of themselves and those with whom they interact. It’s important that all students, faculty, staff, Christian Brothers, and visitors self-monitor their health daily. Maintain physical distancing. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. Wash or sanitize your hands regularly. And always wear a face covering.
One frequently asked question centers on the times and places to wear a face covering. The short answer: Always and (generally) everywhere. The lone exceptions are when you are eating or drinking, or in your individual living area. Whether indoors or outdoors, the University asks that all members of our community wear a face covering—even when physical distancing can be maintained. The spread of COVID-19 is primarily through respiratory droplet particles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s why with local and state officials have mandated that face coverings be worn.
Classrooms and office spaces have been reconfigured to account for physical distancing. In some cases, this reduces the occupancy of those spaces. Be aware of occupancy limits by reviewing signage at entryways. Plexiglass has been installed in some areas to support our physical distancing efforts. Helpful tip: When possible, arrive or depart at off-peak times to reduce foot traffic on campus.
As a result of lower classroom capacities, the University has created a flexible approach for academic modality. Classes will be delivered in one of four ways:
Returning students will move into residence halls between Aug. 13–16. New students, either first-year students or transfers, will move in Aug. 13–14. All move-ins will be conducted by appointment only. Residence Life and Housing will provide appointment sign-ups before July 30.
All student services will be available during the Fall 2020 semester. Most will be provided virtually with the option for an in-person meeting, when possible. Those occurring in person may require an appointment. First consult with the office or service before visiting and visit the mylasalle Portal to reserve an appointment. It will take some getting used to, but many student activities and events will look and feel different than those to which our students, faculty, and staff have grown accustomed. When possible, virtual programming will replace large events and activities due to capacity limits.
Any member of the University community who is feeling sick from COVID-19-like symptoms should stay home. As a first step, contact their primary health care provider and, if referred for a test, here are a few other steps to take in this process:
In both cases, whether student or employee, privacy will be maintained.
The University has instituted a robust protocol for campus cleanliness. More than 150 additional touch-free sanitizer dispensers will be placed across campus to ensure personal cleanliness. High-frequency areas, like classrooms and restrooms, will cleaned multiple times each day. Antimicrobial air filters have been installed for better air quality and ventilation. Electrostatic disinfectant cleaners will be used for deep cleaning of campus.
Consult the Cleaning Protocol section of the #ExplorersReturn plan for more information on these measures.
Whenever possible, visitors to campus should be limited. In the residence halls, no visitors are permitted for at least the first two weeks of the semester. (This policy will be reviewed regularly and adjusted as circumstances permit.) Virtual opportunities are encouraged. Use the Campus Reservation System to schedule meetings at least three weeks in advance to allow for, among other things, proper facilities scheduling and pre- and post-event cleaning. For more information about this policy, review the Events and Visitors section of the return plan.
Just like our pivot to remote operation and instruction in the spring, the University’s return plan is built to be adaptable and dynamic. The #ExplorersReturn plan will be updated as needed and reflect guidance and mandates from public health and elected officials. The unpredictability of the pandemic requires all of us to be as nimble, collaborative, and supportive as possible. As President Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D., mentioned in her message to the University community: “Even if prompted to change direction, we know that Explorers are never lost.”
—Christopher A. Vito