Opening up our Campuses. What can we learn from what China's doing?

As the discussion about re-opening businesses gets underway, one of the most challenging areas to consider is re-opening our campuses.  How do you balance public health with the realities of campus life?  Where do you start as you develop these plans?

A Day in the Life:  Going back to Work in China

My wife recently shared a blog post that I believe provides an excellent roadmap for this type of planning.  Her company has a large office in Beijing and the author went into a lot of detail about his daily routine now that he's getting back to work.

As I read this article, it was evident to me that the factors that drive his daily life in a large city are very similar to those of students on a college campus:

  • People live in multi-occupant buildings
  • Public transportation is an important means for getting around
  • People spend much of their working day in close quarters in large buildings
  • People often need to eat at restaurants or cafeterias

The author highlighted a number of interesting techniques that might need to be applied to college campuses:

  • Increased security and checkpoints throughout campus with most entrances closed:  Dorms, Transit stops, Hall entrances, etc.  This includes measuring temperatures, enforcing masks and social distancing, and occupancy restrictions
  • Supplies of masks, disinfectant, and gloves widely available.
  • Constant disinfecting of buses, restrooms, classrooms -- essentially any public place.
  • Reduced occupancy capacity everywhere
  • Personal tracking linked to data about the individual (temperature, travel, etc.)
  • Ventilation and Air conditioning in all buildings ensuring that air recycling is minimal

Probably my biggest take-away is that the new normal won't be easy until we have a vaccine or reach herd immunity, but with solid planning and execution it will be possible to re-open our campuses.

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