Months before the start of the academic year Environmental Health and Safety Director David Korpan and his team began the task of researching and creating frameworks, plans and procedures that would be used across campus to keep about 4,020 students attending in-person classes healthy during a pandemic.
As with so much during this time, the path was uncharted and a first for everyone.
So, they put their heads down and got to work. EHS staff began working with each academic department that had plans to hold in-person classes to help create and ensure that safety procedures were in place. These classes consisted of some senior projects, undergraduate research, enterprise projects, labs, and more.
EHS teamed up with subject matter experts from Academic Affairs, Facilities and Emergency Management to conduct onsite assessments of each planned face-to-face course with a representative from each college’s dean’s office, according to Korpan.
Normal safety procedures were adjusted to accommodate COVID-19 health and safety guidelines such as masks and face shields when working within a six -foot distance in a lab setting. Lab workstations were reconfigured with supplies and equipment spread out to reduce traffic in the classroom. Facilities workers enhanced outside air ventilation and filtration efficiency to the greatest extent possible, installed COVID-19 safety signage, sanitation stations, and scheduled cleaning and disinfection of common surfaces in between classes.
They helped to institute additional safety measures that included opening all doors and windows as much as possible during these classes, as well as providing COVID-19 safety trainings for students, staff and faculty.
Overall, these adjustments were a success in that there have been no positive COVID-19 cases traced back to exposures that occurred during face-to-face courses. By working together and communicating clearly with all parties involved students were able to complete their Learn by Doing experience and will continue to do so through spring quarter.