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    University Prepares for Safe Return to Campus

    Classrooms have been adjusted to meet social distancing recommendations for the University to safely return to face-to-face instruction for the fall semester. The spacing allows for safe distancing between students, as well as the faculty instructor.
    July 29, 2020

    Throughout campus, classrooms and event spaces have been measured and retrofitted to meet social distancing recommendations. Plexiglass shields have been added to high traffic areas. Signage has been developed to remind community members of mask, hygiene, social distancing and other health and safety recommendations. All done as part of Royals Safe Together: A Plan to Reopen Campus.

     

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    The University commissioned a detailed architectural assessment of each classroom to guide room and laboratory layouts and capacity that follow recommendations for social distancing by six feet. Many classrooms on campus have already been adjusted to allow for faculty and students to follow the social distancing recommendations. Additional spaces on campus, usually used for larger events or conferences, will be used for instruction during the fall semester. Space occupancy limits that allow for social distancing will be posted on the doors prior to the beginning of the semester. Technology will also be added to the classroom spaces to allow for the various instructional formats.

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    Hand sanitizers have been added near the doorway to classrooms. As part of Royals Safe Together, students and faculty are asked to apply hand sanitizer as they enter the class. In addition, EPA-registered disinfectant wipes will be available to students and faculty as they enter the classroom. Each student will wipe down the surface area in front of them before and after they sit down. Faculty members or others responsible for instruction (e.g. laboratory staff or teaching assistants) will wipe down surface areas in front of them before and after class. In addition, instructional spaces will be deep-cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis with special attention to frequently touched surfaces, such as desks, tables, chairs and door knobs.

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    Plexiglass shields have been installed in high traffic areas throughout campus, including in the library, the DeNaples Center, academic advising centers, Technology Support Center, Printing and Mailing Services and dozens of other areas on campus.

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    Signage has been developed to remind students, faculty and staff of safety and health recommendations, as well as to indicated sanitized areas. Throughout campus, cleaning and disinfection protocols are in place that comply with guidelines from the CDC for preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2. The signs will be placed throughout campus prior to the beginning of the semester.

    Royals Safe Together: A Plan to Reopen Campus reminds members of the University community of their individual responsibility to follow guidelines to protect the health and well-being of themselves and others. Face masks, social distancing, personal hygiene practices, cleaning and disinfecting regimens comply with Pennsylvania’s Preliminary Guidance for Resuming In-Person Instruction at Post Secondary Institutions and Adult Education Programs as well with relevant guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH). The University has also added a wellness self-screening application for use by students and employees that provides an easy way for them to review symptoms each day by responding to a series of simple questions as recommended by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

    The plan addresses testing protocols, contact tracing, and housing arrangements for students requiring isolation or quarantine which include students returning home for a designated time when possible. The plan also recognizes the need to continue to adapt to changing circumstances, noting that the University “will continue to monitor the spread of the virus, especially within the broader region, and will respond accordingly.”

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