CDC Reports Practices to Reopen Campuses

By Sonal Tulsyani

Staff Writer

After COVID-19 caused campus closures, schools will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines when forming  plans for anticipated campus reopenings. 

Episode 2 of The Equinox’s video discussion series “roundtables” was themed over evolving health and safety precautions, like those recommended by the CDC.

FDU designated a task force to handle the administrative responsibilities associated with reopening the campus.

“The task force will carefully review the guidelines provided by the state and health authorities to shape its decision,” said Angelo Carfagna, FDU’s VP of Communications, via email. 

According to the FDU Coronavirus Updates page, this includes reviewing CDC guidelines.

The CDC has two types of settings for Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) to minimize on-campus health risks. They are IHE On-campus Settings and IHE General Settings. 

For the IHE On-campus Settings, there are three levels of risk: 

  • Lowest Risk — Residence halls, dining halls, and common areas are completely closed, which is what FDU has implemented throughout Summer 2020. 
  • More Risk — Residence halls are opened at limited occupancy and dining halls and common areas are completely closed. FDU hasn’t notified the community about how this will be executed.
  • Highest Risk — Residence halls, common areas and dining areas are open at full capacity, which FDU has not planned to allow.

For the IHE General Settings, there are three levels of risk: 

  • Lowest Risk FDU was implementing settings in the Spring 2020 semester when all classes and activities pivoted to fully virtual after spring break. 
  • More Risk CDC guidelines support structures that are partially in-person and partially online. FDU will adopt a hybrid class structure by holding classes online for three weeks and in-person for eight weeks.
  • Highest Risk — FDU has not planned to utilize these settings to allow for full-size, in-person classes and events. 

The CDC recommends that all students, staff and faculty at universities perform self-checks to be alert to their health.

These can include temperature and self-checks for four of the common symptoms that include loss of taste and smell, headache, fever and chills, according to the CDC.

There are more symptoms that indicate the need for emergency medical attention such as bluish lips or face, trouble breathing, confusion, persistent chest pain or pressure, and inability to stay awake.

People experiencing symptoms should get medical attention, then stay at home to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

Since FDU’s Metropolitan campus has a larger commuter community, there are concerns about precautions commuters should take. 

For instance, the CDC recommends that commuters ride alone. When they can’t, they should wear face masks, wash their hands and use public transportation during less busy times.

Though most have been practicing vigorous hand-washing for months now, use best practices and follow the CDC’s suggestions for effectiveness. 

“Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol,” the CDC said on their hand-washing webpage.

Cleanliness will continue to be a daily concern for residents and commuters. 

To handle this daily concern, reopening task forces can consult the designated CDC webpage which advises to develop, implement and maintain disinfection plans for reopening schools. It includes information to consider when developing the disinfection plan. 

“Frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects touched by multiple people is important,” the CDC states on its reopening guidance webpage.

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Art by Sonal Tulsyani