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CDC Coronavirus Guidelines for Colleges and Universities

CDC Coronavirus Guidelines for Colleges and Universities

Going to college will be different

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Many things have been disrupted or put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic, including schooling. Some colleges and universities are still planning to host students in the fall, but things might look quite different. Here are some considerations as laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

E-learning could be the norm

E-learning could be the norm

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Students who are taking classes online and engage in virtual-only learning options while at college are at a lower risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19, so colleges might move toward these options.

Classes could be small and socially distanced

Classes could be small and socially distanced

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Depending on what state you will be attending college in and social distancing in, in-person classes might be smaller. According to the CDC, in-person classes with limited attendees aren’t as safe as e-learning but are much safer than having a full-sized classroom where no social distancing is being exercised.

Residence halls may be closed

Residence halls may be closed

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Closing residence halls on college campuses where it is feasible is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus on campuses.

Residence halls may close common areas

Residence halls may close common areas

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For some campuses, it may not be feasible to close residence halls, but instead, the halls might open at a lower capacity and shared spaces within the halls may be closed.

Students could hear a lot about coronavirus

Students could hear a lot about coronavirus

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The CDC is encouraging campuses to educate both students and faculty on the warning signs of coronavirus and which symptoms mean you should self-isolate.

Students could see a lot about coronavirus

Students could see a lot about coronavirus

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The warning signs will be all around campus. The CDC is encouraging schools to hang signage and other information in public places as reminders of the dangers of coronavirus as well as how to stay safe. The signage will promote everyday protective measures like properly wearing a face mask and will likely be hung in highly visible places like restrooms, dining areas and building entrances.

There could be more leeway for missing class

There could be more leeway for missing class

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The CDC is encouraging schools that opt for in-person classes to educate students and faculty on when they should self-isolate if they have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 or think they, themselves, are sick. This includes developing policies in which someone who is sick does not fear reprisal and is offered virtual learning and telework options.

And more leeway for missing work

And more leeway for missing work

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Universities are also being advised to rethink their sick and excused absence policies for employees, making sure they are “flexible,” and to make considerations for individuals who need to care for someone who is sick or who might not have reliable child care because of circumstances surrounding coronavirus.

There might still be masks

There might still be masks

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The CDC is recommending that colleges and universities continue to encourage the wearing of masks by faculty and students.

There could be less sharing

There could be less sharing

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Taking a chemistry class? You might expect to get your own lab equipment and not be sharing with your neighbor. Before the coronavirus outbreak, there were already some items that you needed to stop sharing.

And more outside classes

And more outside classes

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In days past, being outside in nature’s beauty for class may have been a treat. Some students might experience more outside classes because outdoor gatherings are considered to be lower risk than indoor gatherings. 

More windows may be open in classrooms

More windows may be open in classrooms

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Even if professors aren’t parading students outside, you may notice more fresh air. Opening classroom windows is a good way to improve ventilation and could be a long-term change to practices and procedures in the classroom. Better ventilation is also an easy step toward a healthier home.

Small classes might be held in large spaces

Small classes might be held in large spaces

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Those 300-person lecture halls on campus may only have a handful of students. One way the CDC thinks students may be able to social distance is by having smaller classes held in larger spaces. 

Desks won’t be close

Desks won’t be close

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Even if your class of just a few students isn’t held in a giant hall, expect to be spaced at least 6 feet from your fellow classmates while at your desk. 

Dining halls might close

Dining halls might close

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Use of communal spaces such as dining halls might be halted to limit potential disease spread. 

Along with gyms

Along with gyms

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Gyms at colleges are another shared space that might be closed down because students would be sharing weights and equipment. In fact, gyms everywhere will likely look different after coronavirus.

There could be more pre-packaged meals

There could be more pre-packaged meals

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For events organized at universities, the CDC recommends pre-packaged meals. There should also be no shared utensils or other kitchenware. 

With more grab and go

With more grab and go

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Universities may take on more of a fast-food feel as they are encouraged to provide grab-and-go meals for students in place of dining halls. Buffets and self-serve stations are not encouraged. 

More single-use items

More single-use items

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While it might not be as eco-friendly, the CDC is encouraging single-use items that are disposable so students are not sharing reused forks, cups, plates, etc.

Food should be served with gloves

Food should be served with gloves

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In some cases, disposable food items may not be feasible. It is strongly recommended that all non-disposable food items are handled with gloves and washed with dish soap and hot water. Hands should also be washed after removing the gloves.

And visitors should be limited

And visitors should be limited

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Nonessential visitors and gatherings that involve external people, groups and organizations should be limited, especially if they are coming from outside of the local geographic area. For those whose significant other doesn’t attend the same school, this is one of the ways coronavirus will change the dating world.

As well as in-person office hours

As well as in-person office hours

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Instead of professors holding office hours in person, the CDC suggests video or teleconference calls whenever possible. Teachers can still go above and beyond by speaking with students virtually. 

And bus services

And bus services

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Students and faculty that use mass transit systems such as buses are encouraged to use other transportation options such as walking, driving or carpooling with household members only. Biking is also a good option, and if you’re in the market for a new one, here are the top bike brands.

Cleaning services should be provided for shared housing

Cleaning services should be provided for shared housing

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For students still living in residence halls and other shared housing areas, schools should stock shared spaces with COVID-19 prevention supplies such as soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, tissues, trash baskets and, if possible, cloth face coverings that are washed or discarded after each use.

And more water bottles might be encouraged

And more water bottles might be encouraged

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As opposed to the use of water fountains, it is encouraged that each individual has their own water bottle. If water fountains are going to be used, they need to be cleaned and disinfected. After all, water has many health benefits.

Physical barriers may pop up in classrooms

Physical barriers may pop up in classrooms

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Having physical barriers in classrooms such as sneeze guards and partitions is a good way to prevent the spread of germs, specifically in areas where it may be difficult for individuals to stay 6 feet apart.

Along with daily health checks

Along with daily health checks

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If it is possible for colleges and universities to do so, daily health checks for students and staff are recommended, even if they are completed by each person themselves. This would include checking temperatures and for other symptoms of coronavirus. Helping someone with their daily health check is just one small act of kindness you can do during coronavirus 

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