University Park, IL,
16:12 PM

COVID Ready Campus: Fall 2020 Reopen Plan Released

As Governors State University students, faculty and staff prepare to return to campus this month, the Emergency Response Team is giving itself high marks for a summer assignment to ensure a safe learning environment.

“Our goal was to do everything possible to make the university a safe place as we plan to reopen this fall, ’’ said ERT Co-chair Mushtaq Choudhary.

To meet that goal, the ERT is prepared to dispense face masks in black and medical blue, as well as bright orange GSU bandanas to comply with the state law requiring employees and students to wear face coverings when social distancing of six feet cannot be maintained. Face coverings are also required when employees and students are in indoor shared spaces such as break rooms, kitchens, restrooms, open offices, classrooms and Hall of Governors.

In addition to covered faces, the CDC recommends clean hands and surfaces to control  the spread of the coronavirus. To mitigate the risk on campus, the ERT has placed dispensers of hand sanitizer and disinfectant within reach of those visiting high traffic areas. 

Sitting in an office area packed with personal protective equipment, Choudhary said he is grateful for the office of Procurement and Business Services, led by Assistant Vice President Tracy Sullivan, for working closely with the ERT to assemble much-needed supplies. 

"Tracy's team has been bombarded during this COVID season, yet, they were very responsive to all our requests,'' he said. 

The Facilities Development and Management team helped prepare the campus for social distancing by reconfiguring offices and chairs to keep staff and students at least six feet apart. From the C- to G-wings, chairs that once lined the walls now look like props in a musical game.  Every other chair is turned to the wall to prevent individuals from taking seats to close together.  Many seats, as well as water fountains, are cordoned off with yellow caution tape.

Tables, where four chairs once beckoned study groups, now offer only a solitary seating.  And, Plexiglas sneeze guards greet visitors in high traffic areas, including the Health and Wellness Center, Human Resources and the Department of Public Safety.

Oversized, colorful stickers remind patrons to keep social distance of six feet. Coming soon are self-serve temperature-check kiosks for the convenience of employees and students who want to do a quick sceening.

Carolyn Johnson, ERT Co-chair said the committee deliberately wanted to demonstrate an abundance caution to keep the campus community safe.

“When students, faculty and staff return to campus, there should be no question that we spent the summer thinking through dozens of scenarios that could compromise our community. We analyzed each risk and walked through every area to come up with solutions and preventative measures. The GSU community’s health and safety is our top  priority,’’ she said.

All protective protocols and polices are outlined in Governors State’s full Fall 2020 Reopen Operating Plan. The 34-page plan provides guidance for the health and safety of the campus community, arts and athletic events, advising, campus operations, travel, life in Prairie Place and more.