The purpose of the Davis & Elkins College Guide for Returning to Campus is to establish a plan of operations for the College and to prepare operational guidelines for the return of students to campus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This document is the result of the assembly and final reports submitted by the Davis & Elkins College Re-opening Task Force, formed by President Chris Wood and divided into 10 subcommittees:
Cleaning & Sanitation
Dining & Food Services
Health & Safety
Housing, Student Life, and Beyond
Security & Access
This guide takes a comprehensive look at the various facets of campus operation and applies safety and health operational guidelines to each of these areas from important resources including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR), and the Elkins-Randolph Health Department. It should be noted that the plans provided in this document are subject to change based upon the evolving characteristics of COVID-19 locally, statewide, nationally, and globally. The message we wish to send and emphasize is that health and wellness is a shared responsibility.
Campus Operations begins with guidance for faculty, staff, and administration on campus to implement mitigation measures and make changes to campus operations to promote healthy practices. All persons on campus will be subject to policies, protocols, and procedures designed to promote a safe, healthy environment. These changes are not only part of D&E’s Workplace Expectations, but also align with the College’s commitment to community.
In that spirit of teamwork, this section emphasizes symptom monitoring requirements and introduces the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) into the workplace. Additionally, as COVID-19 has run its course, medical professionals have stated that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be a higher risk to contract the virus. By outlining medical conditions and highlighting daily symptom monitoring, along with COVID-19 testing, office and classroom capacity limits, reconfigured spaces, building entry/exit, and staffing options, D&E’s plan aims to combat COVID-19. Restrictions on travel and a system for the confidential reporting of violation of these policies and consequences for non-compliance are clearly communicated. D&E will also utilize its Emergency Notification System (nixle), if necessary, to send virus-related instant notifications to registered mobile devices and email addresses.
The Health and Safety Guidelines section is written for wide populations including faculty, staff, administration, and students. As such, subsections titled “General COVID-19 Protocols for Faculty and Staff” and “D&E Student Health Services Protocols” were produced to provide guidelines to these different audiences. The faculty, staff, and administration section begins with the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), handwashing, social distancing, office/workspace disinfection and physical barriers in high traffic areas. D&E employees are encouraged to monitor symptoms in themselves and others, with symptom monitoring requirements re-emphasized. Effective July 1, 2020, all employees reporting to work will be screened daily for COVID-19. Additionally, all employees will undergo testing at least 10 days prior to the return of any residential students. Employee screening procedures, are explained in detail, including circumstances under which an employee would be sent home due to symptomatic behavior. These mitigation measures underline necessary changes in behavior that are consistent with public health guidelines such as wearing face coverings in shared spaces, maintaining physical distancing, and staying home when symptomatic or sick. Hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and frequent disinfecting will be stressed and supported through the provision of sanitizing supplies.
Guidelines will be communicated through a variety of platforms, including providing electronic copies of this guide to everyone on campus and to students prior to arrival, advanced signage, floor decals, TV monitor messaging and campus-wide reminders.
“D&E Student Health Services Protocols” is a detailed section that explains potential COVID-19 scenarios involving students. It offers information students may follow to get help and answers in virus-related situations. The facilities and available services narrative demonstrates what students should do in a variety of cases, ranging from identifying illness symptoms to nursing visits via ZOOM video calls to students in quarantine. Protocols are provided for online health assessment, requirements of PPE equipment, office visits and clinic office disinfection. It covers student responsibilities including quarantine instructions, routine student health visits, recommended at-home medical supplies, follow-up visits and COVID-19 practices such as handwashing and wearing face masks.
A substantial section is written to provide information on topics such as COVID-19 screening, quarantine, testing criteria upon return to campus, criteria for testing during the semester, refusal to test, self-quarantine, isolation, and contact tracing. Input from the Randolph-Elkins Health Department and Davis Memorial Hospital offered in this section demonstrates valuable COVID-19 partnerships and collaboration. Information on planning in the case of widespread infection is provided in sections covering the campus threshold for confirmed cases, recommendations for campus closure, and identification of D&E as a Closed Point of Dispensing whereby D&E may distribute treatment to the masses in the fight against this pandemic.
The Campus Access section is a portion of the guide focused on visitors to campus, D&E vendors entering campus, and guidelines associated with student move-in day on campus at the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester. Important highlights of this section pertaining to visitors and vendors include, but are not limited to, the following:
campus is closed to the public and individuals who are not on official business
visitors, trainees, guests, and pets are not allowed on campus
minor dependent children of faculty, staff, and administration are prohibited on campus
vendors are required to wear PPE, which will be provided to them in the event they do not have the appropriate equipment
vendors must log in/out at the Office of Public Safety upon entering/exiting campus.
Given the potential challenges move-in day presents, guidelines have been established for this process. As stated in this section, D&E’s Office of Student Life has scheduled a “staggered” move-in process to prevent accumulation of large crowds and to support social distancing guidelines. All participants involved in move-in day will be subject to screening procedures, including each student and up to two family members. Face coverings will also be required during the move-in process for all involved.
Living & Learning Environments starts with academic calendar changes which reflect a class schedule that runs up to the Thanksgiving holiday and does not resume until 2021.This measure was implemented to prevent students from going home for the Thanksgiving break and then returning to campus for final exams after potential infection of the virus. This section also includes behavioral changes to residential life and dining on campus. Residence hall rooms will have limited occupancy, require electronic ID swipes for entry and social distancing in common areas with capacity limits.
The subsection on dining hall/meals/food consumption reflects precautionary measures from earlier sections as well as dining-specific safeguards. Face masks are required, except when eating, and social distancing must be observed. Faculty and staff are encouraged to take food back to their office areas or eat outside when possible. D&E’s Meal System Plan reflects changes as well, including an online ordering system and “tap and pay” with ID cards at each register so that meals can be deducted from student meal plans without touching.
The comprehensive student health plan is reiterated, as are the building entry/exit systems and protocols for working in the office. Environments where experiential learning takes place are addressed, which covers labs, student teaching, and internship locations. A subsection on online education supports maximizing this delivery mechanism through a combination of faculty efforts and technology resources. Behaviors for restrooms, elevators, and meeting spaces are outlined, as is the requirement that any proposed, on-campus event must first be approved by the Offices of Student Life and Public Safety. Student use of outdoor athletic facilities is permissible, but with proper sanitation of equipment, PPE equipment, and social distancing. All students, staff, faculty, and administration will notify the Office of Public Safety if they travel out of state or outside of their respective 90-mile commuter zones, excluding student-athletes, whose guidelines are separately outlined.
Extensive guidelines were written for the Athletics section in order to cover the unique experiences by student-athletes. While the Mountain East Conference announced in late July that fall sports would be delayed and, in some cases, extended into spring, this section was a collaborative effort between the NCAA, MEC and D&E Department of Athletics. The guidelines encompass areas such as practice criteria, arrival of athletes on the D&E campus, and athletic contests. This collaborative effort considers that human-to-human contact in athletics is unavoidable but is offered to protect these students who are in unique situations.
National Management staff will increase cleaning and sanitation efforts. Residence halls will be cleaned and disinfected each morning and afternoon with HALT disinfectant. In academic buildings, classrooms and restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected each morning and again before noon. Common areas, hand rails, doorknobs will be cleaned/disinfected multiple times daily using HALT disinfectant. All common areas will be visited in the afternoon by housekeeping staff.
All offices, classrooms, common spaces will have spray bottles of HALT disinfectant and KIMTECH cleaning wipes available for the students, staff, and faculty if needed.
The final section, A Healthy Mind, ensures that students, faculty, staff, and administration are aware of counseling and wellness resources during these potentially stressful times of COVID-19. Counseling and wellness services are made available to these audiences, with separate mention of resources available through the Employee Assistance Program. The global pandemic can present challenges to the overall health and well being of these members of the D&E community, making these resources a valuable asset.
This plan was created through the guidance of data and expertise, not only on our campus but also through our partners. While it is a living and breathing document subject to change, D&E will continue strong lines of communication through ongoing conversations with our students, faculty, staff, and partners. Finally, it is a plan designed with flexibility and adaptability in mind, and puts in place reasonable mitigation measures supported by education, training and a public health campaign that will enable us to deliver high quality instruction and a valuable experience for the entire Davis & Elkins College community.