Purdue University envisions major campus redesigns

Everyone on campus will be asked to sign the Protect Purdue Pledge

The Protect Purdue Plan calls for extensive coronavirus testing and contact tracing, as well as “a major redesign of nearly every physical space on campus.”

The university plans to install physical barriers, set room and building occupancy limits, reconfigure traffic patterns and rearrange residential spaces, offices, classrooms and labs.

“We have every intention and expectation that we will safely and successfully resume campus operations this fall,” Willie Reed, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and co-chair of the Safe Campus Task Force, said on the university’s website. “Our trustees and administration have made this our top priority and … committed all necessary resources, which could range as high as $50 million.”

That figure also covers: extensive sanitizing and cleaning, personal protective equipment supplies and safety equipment, and quarantine rooms for students.

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Classrooms and residence halls will drop to 50% capacity in the fall, while 30% of university staff will work remotely during the fall semester, which will run from Aug. 24 to Nov. 24 without any breaks. There will be no indoor seating in dining halls, which will shift to carry-out only and require socially-distancing in student lines.

Students who cannot return to campus—or who choose not to—will be able to participate in a fully online semester.

Purdue will take safety pledge on reopening

Everyone on campus will be asked to sign the Protect Purdue Pledge to protect themselves and others in the community.

That includes monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms, wearing masks, getting flu shots and participating in contact tracing efforts if necessary.

All students will get a wellness kit that includes two Purdue-branded face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and a digital thermometer.

The extensive redesigns will create dorm rooms that either have: Enough square footage to create e a radius of 6 feet per person or bed placement that allows for at least 10 feet head-to-head.

In classrooms, instructors will stay at least 10 feet from students, and other accommodations—such as see-through barriers and face shields—may be provided.

Barriers will be installed in labs and other spaces where occupancy of more than 50% must be maintained.

All students and instructors will wear face masks, while students will be encouraged to face the same direction as much as possible.

The university’s other safety measures cover just about every aspect of campus life, including:

  • Students with health conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19 will be offered living accommodations, such as single rooms, that reduce risk.
  • Students who have already contracted and recovered from COVID-19 will be asked to self-identify, particularly
    prior to widespread COVID-19 vaccination, and may be paired as roommates with more vulnerable students.
  • Develop an online workshop for student leaders on new practices for safe student organization and group meetings, including moving events and activities outdoors and online.
  • Faculty will receive training to redesign courses so any transition to online instruction will be smoother should circumstances necessitate a shift to remote learning.
  • Partner with community leaders, business owners and property managers to promote healthy practices in off-campus environments, including apartments and establishments that students frequent.

Read Purdue University’s full reopening plan here

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Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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