To read the FAMU Reopening Plan, visit https://bit.ly/2Y5xm4H

The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Board of Trustees (BOT) approved a proposal Thursday, June 4, 2020, that would allow a phased return of administrators and staff and implement detailed safety, screening and reporting protocols to safeguard the campus in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The FAMU reopening plan will be submitted to the Florida Board of Governors, which will consider it for approval at the June 23 meeting in Orlando. 

“This plan presents a set of comprehensive measures taken for the benefit of faculty, staff and students as we ramp up on-campus operations,” said President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. “We will do all we can to continue to provide exceptional experiences for our students and address the well-being of our faculty and staff.  Their return to campus will be a vote of confidence in us. We will not take that lightly.”

Among the highlights of the 26-page plan are a phased return to work beginning June 15 with the Senior Leadership Team and the Division of Finance, daily temperature testing and monitoring for employees, and mandatory face masks on campus. Plant Operations and Maintenance (POM) has scheduled and begun deep cleanings of facilities to coincide with each phase of the return. 

The University has purchased hand-held thermometers for use throughout the main and satellite and campuses. While class sizes will be smaller to accommodate social distancing, the University plans to expand the daily and weekend class schedule, which will include a hybrid offering of in-person and online courses. 

In August, there will be a phased, 10-day move-in for residence halls instead of the usual two or three-day process. Under the plan, almost 1,900 students will be housed in residence halls. Students won’t return to the classroom after the Thanksgiving break and will complete the semester through remote instruction.

The plan also calls for an early return for about 180 student-athletes.

During her presentation to the BOT, Rica Calhoun, chair of the Operations Continuity Taskforce, noted the proposal is based on the assumption that COVID-19 will remain a threat until an effective vaccine becomes widely available.

“Our decision making must prioritize safety and well-being recognizing that the considerations must be made regarding a response in the event of an outbreak. Also, we know that from national data, as well as data from the Florida Department of Health, that African Americans are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” said Calhoun, the chief Compliance and Ethics and officer. “Teaching and reinforcing prevention behaviors as well as early response are going to be essential in reducing the risk of virus transmission. We also recognize that flexibility is needed.” 

Highlights:

Phased Return of Staff

Wave 1- June 15, 2020: Essential employees (continued) employees from low risk, high priority areas. These include the Senior Leadership Team, Finance etc. 

Wave 2: July 1, 2020: Up to 25 percent of workforce returns based on risk assessment and capacity. 

Wave 3: July 15, 2020: Up to 50 percent of workforce returns based on risk assessment and capacity.

Wave 4: Aug. 1, 2020: Up to 75 percent of workforce returns based on risk assessment and capacity. 

Facilities, Spaces, and Cleaning 

POM will provide scheduled deep cleaning and disinfecting of all University facilities, including classrooms, office spaces, housing and food service facilities, research equipment and laboratories, and public spaces.

Instruction

Instruction for the fall 2020 semester will be offered to all FAMU student populations using a hybrid approach that combines face-to-face and online course delivery. Face-to-face instruction will be delivered in accordance with strict adherence to University, state, and federal safety guidelines.

Classroom Capacity and Hours of Availability

Classroom capacity is critical in determining how many face-to-face classes can be offered during the fall 2020 semester. One of the essential steps in the fall 2020 return process is accounting for all classroom spaces with accurate social distancing capacities. Individual classroom enrollment capacities are reduced by 55 to 75 percent to comply with social and physical distancing guidelines.

Expanded daily schedule

To facilitate maximum usage of the limited number of classrooms that can accommodate social distancing, the normal range of class times will be extended beyond 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and include weekends. 

Faculty Training and Development

A comprehensive faculty training and professional development program has been implemented to help ensure that online instruction is offered at a level of high quality and in alignment with best teaching practices. 

Employee and Student Return Kits

Employees are required to use face coverings when at work around individuals or in common spaces. Each employee will receive one disposable and two reusable cloth face coverings upon their return to work; employees may use their own comparable face coverings. Employees will also receive two personal size containers of hand sanitizers that can be refilled at stations around the campus. One-gallon containers of hand sanitizer will be provided in each office suite.

Social and Physical Distancing 

POM has surveyed all facilities to determine maximum capacity based on social and physical distancing requirements of at least 6 feet. POM continues to coordinate with Student Health Services (SHS) and the Office of Human Resources to develop University-wide social and physical distancing guidelines, with tailored plans for higher risk areas. 

Plans include:

• Removing/rearranging seating to reduce capacity in used office/lounge/reception/ conference rooms to promote social and physical distancing 

• Adding panels to separate adjacent workspaces and within identified classrooms 

• Installing sneeze guards where needed

• Removing or limiting shared workspaces 

• Designating small rooms as single occupancy only 

• Using floor decals and signage to direct traffic and maintain 6 feet distance 

• Encouraging use of videoconferencing 

• Implementing elevator ridership limits: no more than two individuals in regular elevators 

• Prohibiting large gatherings of more than 10 people. Meetings of 2-10 persons must be held in a location that will allow for a minimum of 6 feet distance between participants. 

• University shuttles, buses, and vans will reduce ridership capacity and use decals to demarcate distancing expectations, where possible. Passengers will be required to wear face coverings in transit.

Control Access to Facilities

Foot traffic and gatherings in University facilities and common spaces will be limited through reduced facility entrances and visitor restrictions. Visitors to University offices will be limited to those having a business purpose. Business visitors will be required to wear face coverings. Disposable face coverings will be available throughout our campuses. Visitors may also wear a comparable personal face covering. 

COVID-19 Education and Training

Screening as many individuals as possible who access the campus is critical. Faculty, staff, and students are expected to participate in daily self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms and temperature checks at least once prior to leaving home each day, ideally through use of the FAMU mobile app or alternative partnerships. A temperature and symptom log is available for those unable to access the app. Individuals who indicate the need for follow-up will be contacted by Student Health Services or designee. 

Employees are also expected to self-disclose travel to/from geographic areas with significant community transmission.

The University has purchased hand-held thermometers for use throughout the University and campuses. Departments are responsible for conducting daily temperature and symptom checks on-campus for employees/contract staff prior to their entrance into selected high risk/high density workplaces: POM, SHS, residence halls, Campus Safety and Security, Parking Services, FAMU Developmental and Research School (FAMU DRS), FAMU-ERCCD, intercollegiate athletics, shuttle drivers, and all food service venues.

Temperature and symptom checks will also be conducted for students participating in high contact University activities and functions. These groups include health care and education students, research students, student-athletes, resident advisors, and students engaged in experiential activities, including the University Marching Band.

Housing

University Housing occupancy has been reduced to 69 percent occupancy by converting all double rooms to a single room in our residence halls for the 2020-2021 academic year. Physical spacing signage will be visible on each bathroom door indicating maximum occupancy at a time. There are three facilities, Sampson, Young and Gibbs, with community bathrooms. Those facilities make up 15 percent of all residence hall occupancy. Students will be educated on social distancing and health guidelines. 

Threshold Trigger 

A cluster of three or more positive COVID-19 cases at any University location will result in additional restrictions to mitigate transmission risks. If necessary, additional measures will be taken in consultation with Senior Leadership, as well as internal, local, and state health officials.

Athletics

Approximately 180 football, basketball, and volleyball student-athletes will report to campus four weeks prior to the scheduled start of the fall semester. Student-athletes from areas experiencing significant community transmission will be quarantined for the requisite 14-day period prior to engaging in countable athletically related activities. The remaining 306 student-athletes scheduled to participate in fall sports will arrive with the general student population. 

Student-athletes will undergo COVID-19 testing upon their return to campus and as determined by the NCAA/MEAC for competition purposes.

To read the FAMU Reopening Plan visit https://bit.ly/2Y5xm4H

The post FAMU Board of Trustees Approves Reopening Plan For Summer and Fall Operations appeared first on FAMU Forward.

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