Trustees approve additional Protect Purdue measures for fall semester

Purdue University’s Board of Trustees on Thursday (June 11) approved a third block of actions as Purdue’s leaders, guided by medical advisors and scientific experts, continue preparing the campus to return to its learning, research and engagement missions in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ratifications follow earlier action sets approved by the board at special meetings on May 7 and May 26.

“We remain 100 percent committed to the objective of protecting the people of Purdue, and particularly those who may be at greater vulnerability to severe illness due to COVID-19,” trustees chair Michael Berghoff said.

Trustees approved four measures 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, along with the Integrated Public Health and Workforce Accommodation Team made up of Purdue subject matter experts, and with local health leaders. Those plans are:

  • To provide for the staged return of upper-level students and onboarding of first-year students through Boiler Gold Rush and other orientation programming, taking into account public health guidance from the Protect Purdue Implementation Team and supported by a communications and awareness campaign describing the elements of the Protect Purdue program and its expectations of students as members of the campus community.
  • To implement the testing and tracing program previously authorized by the board through on-site testing of symptomatic individuals and those who have been in contact with the disease; contact tracing through a combination of in-person interviews and technology tools; and a single-point health monitoring system for the West Lafayette campus community.
  • To develop and conduct dining operations to meet campus needs while maintaining social distancing and de-densification features, including the use of carry-out dining options, reconfigured spaces, the elimination of indoor seating for now, regulated serving practices and other food service protocols, whether carried out at existing dining courts, temporary outdoor facilities, and/or additional campus spaces redeployed for this purpose.

* To develop and offer a “resilient pedagogy” during the fall 2020 semester to enable students to continue their coursework in the event their class attendance is interrupted due to COVID-19, featuring face-to-face, hybrid and online courses meeting University standards for rigor and excellence while using methods that are resilient, adaptable and flexible to fulfill student needs and to protect students and instructors alike.

With trustees’ approval of these directives, campus leaders continue their work on an aggressive timeline for implementation and will provide updated announcements to the campus community as progress is made. Updates also will continue to be posted to the Protect Purdue website.

At its special meeting on May 26, trustees ratified the Protect Purdue Pledge as a way of receiving the shared commitment of all members of the campus community to take protective measures for themselves and others in the collective effort to keep the community safe by stopping the spread of COVID-19 and other potential infections, and directed enforcement of the pledge as an official university regulation.

The pledge includes specific commitments for individuals to, among other items:

  • Monitor for the symptoms of COVID-19, including daily temperature check and staying home if ill.
  • Wash hands often and get vaccinated for the seasonal flu.
  • Maintain social distancing and wear appropriate protective gear.
  • Keep clothing, belongings and personal and common spaces clean.

All individuals are expected to pledge to “protect myself, protect others and protect our Purdue community.”

In support of preparations to open campus this fall, the university has launched the Safe Campus Initiative Fund at Gifts to the fund will go toward areas of greatest need across campus, enabling campus leaders to move nimbly to address a range of anticipated and unanticipated needs.