COVID Briefing: keeping the community safe

By Connor Ciecko

Last week, the academic steering committee tasked with developing a reopening plan for campus held a virtual meeting in which they addressed questions from the public. Continuing this week, we will be breaking down some of the most important questions and exploring their answers. The full meeting can be found here.

The draft report says that in any plan to have students take face-to-face classes, the health and safety of our community must be a priority. How will you ensure the community is safe if students do come back to campus?

Andreas Cangellaris, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost, began by saying that safety starts with self care. He stressed that the most important thing for keeping the university community safe is for individuals to follow CDC and state health department guidelines. With Illinois in phase 3 of “Restore Illinois” these guidelines now include wearing a face covering in public when social distancing cannot be maintained and keeping gatherings to 10 people or less.

“I can tell you [the steering committee] have been working tirelessly and diligently over the past several weeks,” Cangellaris said. “And, again, the guidance and the close collaboration with the CU public health district, the McKinley Center, our local providers, is making all the difference in the world for us to demonstrate that we don’t think about this comprehensive plan as a plan that is limited only to our campus.”

Cangellaris said his goal for the instructional plan is that it could also be applied to the greater university and campus community to keep not only students and faculty safe, but to also protect greater CU community members.

“This is a responsibility that every community should consider.”

As of today, administration has not yet made an announcement on how they plan to reduce any potential impact of COVID-19 in the community. Just over two weeks ago, it was announced that the university plans to test all students for the virus when they return to campus, though it is still unclear how this would be conducted or if the capacity realistically exists. Cangellaris did not provide a clear answer on what other steps are being considered to maintain community health.

The reopening plan is expected to be announced in the coming days, though no deadline has been provided.

Photo by Liam Dwyer