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.