Fall 2020 Safety Precautions
Last Updated: August 5, 2020
Because of the COVID-19 coronavirus, we are implementing new safety features and policies for the Fall 2020 semester in efforts to provide protection for students and employees alike. These plans have been developed in collaboration with the University Health Center to meet or exceed state and Center for Disease Control health guidelines for higher education. They are only part of our overall efforts, which we will continue to share.
- Daily Screening: students, employees, and visitors
All students and employees will be required to participate in daily temperature checks and symptom surveys to help quickly identify individuals who may be infected. Visitors will also participate in this screening, filling out the symptom survey at southern.edu/guest within 12 hours of arriving on campus and stopping at a temperature check station. Everyone who is cleared to be on campus will receive a colored wristband.
Temperature check stations and times:
- Park Lane (Student Park): Monday-Friday 6:15-8:30 a.m.
- Taylor Circle (Talge side): Monday-Friday 7:15-9:30 a.m.
- Campus Safety: Monday-Friday 7:30-10 a.m.
- Church Upper Lot: Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ; Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Enhanced Air Filtration
Because the coronavirus can spread through the air, we have taken the special precaution of installing high-tech filtration systems in all buildings on campus. These needlepoint bipolar ionization systems provide hospital-level air filtration in all classrooms, offices, meeting areas, and residence halls. It works by emitting charged ions that bind to airborne particles and remove pathogens such as the coronavirus from the air. To learn more about this initiative, you can read this news story.
- Electrostatic Cleaning
In addition to increasing their cleaning frequency, our sanitation team has a powerful tool in their arsenal: electrostatic spraying machines. These special devices evenly disperse hospital-grade cleaning agents throughout a room, disinfecting even hard-to-reach places. This ensures that high-contact surfaces and heavily trafficked areas receive a deep cleaning frequently.
- Face Masks
To help protect others from infection, everyone on campus is required to wear a face mask in most indoor spaces and during close interactions. Students will be provided with two washable face masks and should wear one whenever physical distancing is not possible.
- Revised Calendar
We have adjusted the Fall 2020 semester schedule. We are eliminating the mid-term break and ending in-person instruction at Thanksgiving break, followed by two weeks of distance coursework through various methods to complete the semester on December 11. This plan reduces travel to and from campus and sends students home during a time when the spread of viruses has historically increased. More details about the revised academic calendar can be read here in an email sent to students on July 1.
- Classroom Capacity and Organization
To allow for safer in-person instruction, classroom capacity has been decreased with a goal of 50%, putting more space between students while still benefiting from face-to-face interaction. This primarily means moving classes with larger enrollments to larger classrooms to ensure the maximum amount of physical distancing. We will also employ other tactics to maximize personal distancing.
- Hand Sanitizer
Good hand hygiene is critical in reducing the spread of disease, so we are increasing the number of hand-sanitizing stations available throughout campus.
To further reduce possible transmission, plexiglass barriers are being installed at key interaction points such as reception desks and cash registers.
- Adjusted Social Activities
Social activities are an important part of campus life, so we will continue to find ways to get together for fun, learning, and worship. However, we will make some adjustments for increased safety, such as holding larger gatherings—including Vespers—in a big, open-air tent, canceling all Thursday convocations, and reducing the Enrichment Credit requirements.
- Streamlined Food Service
Pandemic or not, everyone needs to eat! Southern’s Food Service personnel are always committed to exceptional food safety. Additionally, the team has restructured food delivery methods to minimize wait times, eliminate self-service buffets, offer online payment, and provide more grab-and-go options.
Our goal is to keep everyone healthy and coronavirus-free this fall! However, we realize that given the current pandemic, there is potential for some in our campus community to become infected with COVID-19. If that happens, we are prepared to offer the care and support that is needed. You can read the plan here.
- Do Your Part
No individual safety precaution on its own will keep campus safe; it will take everyone’s cooperation and diligence. This means:
- Wash your hands often
- Avoid close contact with others
- Cover your nose and mouth with a cloth face mask when around others
- Clean and disinfect regularly
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Monitor your health and DO NOT GO TO CLASS OR WORK if you have potential cold, flu, or COVID-19 symptoms; call the University Health Center (423.236.2713)
The Center for Disease Control provides more guidance for avoiding infection here. Remember, we are all in this together!