Several weeks ago, I shared with you OC’s plan to begin the fall semester two weeks earlier than originally planned. Safety and wellness for you, OC’s faculty and staff and the community is always our most important responsibility. We’ll be extra vigilant about wellness and safety as we begin the fall semester together. Please see the information below to learn more about how we are preparing for your arrival.
Dr. Jeff McCormack, Dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences, is leading OC’s COVID-19 Campus Readiness Team. The group is charged with preparing campus for the August start and implementing plans to keep our community as safe as possible over the fall semester. The team will lean on the guidance of local, state and federal resources, particularly the CDC, to establish appropriate guidelines.
To date, the team has established the following:
Community Hygiene Standards
According to best practice, we’ll ask you to wash your hands often (studies say six times per day is optimal); use hand sanitizer; maintain healthy distancing; wear face masks when adequate healthy distancing isn’t possible; and maintain clean personal items and spaces.
All students, faculty and staff will monitor their health each morning via an easy to use app created by OC technology staff. Community members exhibiting virus symptoms will stay home.
OC’s facilities and maintenance staff have implemented the following cleanliness standards:
- Increased routine cleaning and disinfection in all areas daily including in classrooms
- Increased cleaning of high touch areas like doorknobs and bathrooms according to CDC guidelines
- Deploy advanced cleaning technology including electrostatic disinfectant sprayers
- Provide hand sanitizer stations at all building entrances including best practice signage reminders
- Review all facilities for touchless access including door foot pulls and restroom motion paper towel and soap dispensers
OC’s community will practice healthy distancing including:
- Adjusted class locations to allow for appropriate physical distancing (smaller classes will be held in larger classrooms and furniture will be arranged to allow for the greatest distancing)
- Adequate distance between individuals engaged in labs or other experiential learning environments
- Entering and exiting buildings through clearly marked one-way doors
- Dining areas and other community spaces arranged for fewer occupants and greater distancing
Residence Life staff have developed plans for each unique residence hall and apartment complex. More single rooms will be available in some residence halls, fewer students will share bathrooms and increased cleaning protocols will be in place.
Staff are designating living spaces in each residence hall should quarantine become necessary. Apartment residents will quarantine if needed in their own apartment.
In addition to the items above, the Spiritual Life staff shared Ethos Project plans this week including no traditional large, daily chapel in Baugh Auditorium and reduced Kudos.
We can’t eliminate all risk, but I’m confident hard work, careful listening, flexibility and creativity will ensure campus is as safe as it can possibly be.
You’ll hear more from the COVID-19 Readiness Team over the next few weeks as additional plans and guidelines are adopted. As I’ve written before, I understand email might not be your preferred communication medium. But email is our best way to share news and updates with you and your family in timely ways. So, please commit to watch your email inbox for important University updates. And when you receive those, read them!
If you have specific questions for the COVID-19 Campus Readiness Team, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff are closely monitoring the address and will quickly answer your questions. Remember, you can always find the very latest information about OC’s response and readiness at oc.edu.covid19.
I understand the changes to our traditional campus life bring challenges and concerns. We look forward to working through those together with flexibility and creativity, always considering the wellness of one another over any inconvenience to self. As I think about making our campus safer for all, I’m reminded of the following verses in Luke 10...
“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
-Luke 10: 25-27
Jesus then shared the parable of the good Samaritan. “Love Your Neighbor” will be our mantra collectively and individually as we take the adopted, necessary steps outlined to keep our community safe.
Wash your hands. Stay safe. Be encouraged. I miss you. I’m wishing you a safe, blessed summer. And I’m counting the days until we’re together again...
May God bless you and yours,
John deSteiguer, President