Summary of Protect Purdue COVID-19 Response Actions

August 9, 2020

Healthy campus

We have marshaled some of Indiana’s top physicians to provide medical expertise and guidance in the development of the Protect Purdue Plan and all other COVID-19 related matters. We set about creating a single point of contact to monitor the health and ensure the well-being of students, faculty, staff and families across the Purdue community and built the capabilities and capacities to surveil and respond to the evolving pandemic. And we’ve partnered with state and local health authorities to ensure a coordinated response and delivery of care. We have:

  • Established the Purdue Medical Advisory Team, under the leadership of Dr. Esteban Ramirez, to provide medical oversight of all aspects of the Protect Purdue Plan, including identifying vulnerable members of the campus community; developing safe space guidelines in classrooms, residential units and dining facilities; and defining policies for the use of face masks and other protective equipment. 
  • Launched the 24/7 Protect Purdue Health Center as a single-point COVID-19 health center for the entire Purdue community. We have hired a dedicated staff of physicians, nurse case managers and contact tracers.
  • Established COVID-19 testing protocols and capabilities, including the “Test All” policy for students and ongoing testing services for members of the community.  We have equipped the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory as a virus testing facility and partnered with Vault Health/Rutgers to ensure rapid testing for the Purdue community. 
  • Partnered with county and state officials to conduct contact tracing and follow up with individuals who may have had clinically relevant exposure to COVID-19.
  • Prepared 600-bed isolation space for students who contract COVID-19, as well as policies and procedures to ensure their care. 
  • Ordered Protect Purdue wellness kits for every student, including two Purdue-branded face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and a digital thermometer.

Learning and instruction

We have modified the physical and virtual teaching environment to preserve and strengthen the interactions that are at the heart of learning and student success while limiting the spread of COVID-19.  We restructured and redesigned academic offerings to retain excellence and rigor, while building new and modifying existing mechanisms to support students, instructors and academic staff.  The result is “Resilient Pedagogy” that enables learning in classrooms, online and a blend of the two. We have:

  • De-densified classroom and instructional laboratory capacity with target of 50% occupancy, a cap of 150 students, and seating maps to enable social distancing.
  • Established a system of support for students in the event they are quarantined or isolated, including a seamless integration of medical and academic support and academic case managers to help them maintain academic progress.
  • Adjusted the academic calendar for Fall 2020 by eliminating Labor Day and October break, and ending residential instruction at Thanksgiving to provide a full academic semester while reducing travel to and from campus.
  • Developed new “Resilient Pedagogy” models, blending in-class, hybrid and online features that will ensure continuity of instruction for students and faculty in any eventuality. 
  • Equipped all classrooms with Boilercast lecture-capture, including wireless mics for instructors and cameras for live and recorded videocast of all classes. 
  • Developed a fully online option for students who cannot or choose not to return to campus and a catalogue of the most critical undergraduate courses needed to support students’ academic progress by faculty who have received on-demand support to shape their courses in online format. 

Student experience

We have redesigned our operations and programs to provide our on-campus students the safest possible environment, while ensuring they have the residential experience they want and deserve. We’ve also enhance our services to meet the needs of our online students and those temporarily in isolation or quarantine.   

Purpose: Purdue is planning a return to fall semester with the expectations of a robust residential and online student experience.  Our goal will be to plan and deliver these experiences while taking action to make Purdue as safe as possible.

We have:

  • Extended move-in period to our de-densified residence halls, which are reconfigured to maximize distance between beds and study space. 
  • Prioritized room assignments for our most vulnerable residents.
  • Converted dining courts to a carryout dining model; constructed tents and identified alternative spaces for sit-down dining; and prepared a plan for indoor dining once conditions allow. 
  • De-densified recreation spaces and developed extensive cleaning protocols for all facilities and equipment. 
  • Collaborated with the Interfraternity Council and Cooperative Council and local landlords to communicate and encourage the promotion of safe housing standards.  
  • Inaugurated Virtual Student Life as a support service for online students, as well as virtual Boiler Gold Rush.  

Workforce safety and protection

We have developed practices aimed at the protection of Purdue’s faculty and staff, with specific emphasis on the de-densification of campus and the protection of the most vulnerable among us. Flexibility and safety are the watchwords in all the policies created.  We have:

  • De-densified campus workspaces, with a target of reducing the number of administrative employees working on campus by at least one-third through the encouragement and enabling of telework and other remote work options. Among staff positions, 59% have been identified as being eligible to work remotely on either a full-time or intermittent basis.
  • Adopted a definitional framework for identifying those most vulnerable in the campus community who are at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and implemented a process for making individual accommodations for those for whom it is medically appropriate. 

Physical spaces

We have redesigned learning, living, dining, studying and working spaces campuswide to limit the spread of COVID-19, using the guiding principles of de-densifying, accommodating physical distance, and disinfecting the hundreds of thousands of square feet Boilermakers inhabit every day.  We have:

  • Deployed 2,600 hand sanitizer stations, 2,500 buckets of sanitation wipes and 800 classroom Plexiglas mobile barriers.
  • Developed individual plans to de-densify and ensure physical distancing plans for more than 800 instructional spaces.
  • Posted signage and traffic-flow directions in all buildings to remind the campus community of physical distance and hygiene guidelines. 
  • Procured a 90-Day Supply of Critical Inventory, including disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, 1M face masks, 150,000 face shields, and 2,000 boxes of Nitrile gloves.
  • Reprogrammed air handling units where possible to run 24/7 to increase air filtration cycles and to maximize outdoor air percentage. We also installed higher performance air filters whenever feasible.  
  • Implemented expanded disinfection operations throughout campus.
  • Tested and flushed building water supplies. 


We have developed a comprehensive strategy to receive input on all steps necessary to provide for a safe campus and have communicated information and decisions broadly through every means conceivable to members of the Purdue community.  Tireless efforts will continue as the campus reopens to communicate widely on COVID-19 concerns and to foster mutual responsibility among students, faculty, staff and community members in support of the Protect Purdue Pledge: protect myself, protect others, protect our Purdue community.  We have:

  • Launched on June 12 the Protect Purdue Plan, a 23-page interactive document outlining the actions Purdue is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our campus and in our community.
  • Adopted the Protect Purdue Pledge to foster common purpose and mutual responsibility among the campus community.
  • Deployed a dedicated COVID-19 awareness website in March 2020, with the latest university actions and answers to the most frequently asked questions.  We have developed ongoing Twitter posts using the hashtag #ProtectPurdue.
  • Disseminated the Protect Purdue Weekly Briefing, which highlights essential current Protect Purdue news and information. 
  • Hired Protect Purdue student ambassadors to encourage our community’s adherence to the Protect Purdue Pledge.
  • Conducted more than 70 virtual town halls for faculty, staff and graduate students and 50 for students and their families to provide the latest information and answer questions.