Preparations underway to de-densify instructional, living spaces

As people across Purdue prepare for a return to on-campus instruction in the fall, beginning with a soft launch of some programs in July, preparations are underway to de-densify classrooms and living spaces across campus to allow for safe social distancing. 

During a special meeting on May 26, Purdue’s Board of Trustees approved several measures to achieve this de-densification goal, based on proposals vetted by the University’s Medical Advisory Team of Drs. Michael Mirro, Roger Scott Stienecker and Xiaoying (Karen) Wan of Parkview Health.

Classroom and instructional spaces

In order to mitigate risk in teaching environments, the reduction of student capacity in scheduled teaching spaces will take place as follows:  

  • Reduce student occupant capacities in all classrooms and limit large classroom occupancy to no more than 150 students.
  • In classrooms, maintain a safe distance between the instructor and the nearest student while teaching and provide a see-thru barrier between instructor and students.
  • Establish additional classroom protocols including entry/exit; sanitation/cleaning; potential staggered or extended start times for classes.
  • Provide additional barriers in instructional labs where needed.
  • Require additional personal hygiene measures on common contact points for the more interactive teaching environments.

In line with University protocols, all class participants (students and instructors) will be expected to wear face masks and will be encouraged to face the same direction as much as possible.

Living spaces

Residential spaces in Purdue residence halls will ensure that each residential room will either have:

  • Enough square footage per person (at least 113 square feet) to allow for a radius of 6 feet per person.
  • Bed placement that will allow for at least 10 feet head-to-head, when measured 1 foot from the headboard. Furniture placement cannot create any egress or code issues.

If at least one of these conditions does not exist, the space will be de-densified. Following these guidelines, residential spaces in Purdue residence halls will be reduced by 838 spaces to 14,582.

Additional guidelines are being developed for residential communities to include cleaning and sanitation protocols, room assignment plans — particularly for those who have health considerations — and overall hygiene practice.

More information on both of these efforts — as well as other developments in Purdue’s plan to return to on-campus instruction this fall — will be available on the Protect Purdue website as they are available.