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Return to Campus: How Universities Should be Preparing to Safely Welcome Students Back to Campus

August 06, 2021
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The school year is quickly approaching for students across the world. In most years, there would be a sense of excitement and eagerness to return to campus. But, ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there has been much uncertainty and doubt regarding the safety of students when they return to campus this fall. 

As the world leader in hardware-free location positioning technology we, Mapsted, have a duty to provide campuses across the globe with technology that will keep students, visitors, and staff safe on campus when they return. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, it is crucial for universities to continue to monitor their local public health guidance daily to ensure that their campus measures are up to date and are informed by evidence. From continuing with enhanced cleaning to improved ventilation, here are 5 ways your campus should prepare for the return of students. 

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Preparing Your Campus for the Return of Students 

preparing your campus for the return of student

1. Health Screenings 

Before visiting campus, everyone- students, faculty, staff, librarians, researchers, and even contractors- must complete a health screening. Every university should implement an online self-assessment tool, or at minimum have a paper-based process available for all. 

When implementing an online self-assessment tool, your campus should leverage the power of Mapsted’s location marketing technology. This technology can set geofences around your campus enabling a push notification, with a link to the self-assessment portal, to be automatically sent to everyone who comes within a meter of your campus. 

These self-assessment questionnaires should be constantly updated to reflect the latest public health guidance, and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes for each individual to complete. 

2. Scheduling Changes and Capacity Limits 

Every province, state, and campus should work on plans tailored to meet their individual needs. 

With capacity restrictions slowly being relaxed across various industries, Mapsted anticipates that capacity restrictions will be relaxed for educational spaces as well, by this fall. Implementing a system that automatically monitors the capacity of each building can ensure proper social distancing measures are being enforced and reduce the spread of the virus. 

3. Physical Distancing Measures

Universities should prepare for a variety of scenarios, including the possibility physical distancing may no longer be required indoors this fall- so long as masks are worn. 

In the meantime, universities should take the appropriate measures to reorient traffic flow in buildings by implementing location positioning technology. Students, staff, and visitors should be able to use their smartphones, like a GPS, to navigate indoors and ensure they are following the designated routes to maintain a safe distance from one another. 

4. Enhanced Cleaning and More Sanitization Stations 

Campuses should not cut corners when it comes to cleaning and sanitization. Universities should install touchless sanitizing stations and sanitizing wipe dispensers across campus. 

The cleaning of common-use areas such as classrooms, libraries, washrooms, and lobbies should also be done frequently. 

5. Upgrade Building Ventilation and Air Filtration 

upgrade building ventilation and air filtration

Classrooms that will be used for in-person teaching should be equipped for six equivalent air changes per hour, the same standard applied to patient examination rooms, walk-in clinics, and other healthcare settings. 

Campuses should monitor and maintain upgraded air filters that capture a greater percentage of smaller particles and outfit classrooms with a local air filtration device with high-efficiency particulate air filters (HEPA). 

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, it’s important for university campuses to also evolve with the science and the public health regulations of the day- and as case counts fall and vaccinations increase. From continuing with enhanced cleaning to improved location positioning technology, universities must place the safety of students, staff, and visitors, above all else. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is a post-COVID condition?

Ans. It is defined as the period of recovery following COVID infection. COVID symptoms may persist for weeks or months in the patient. Post-COVID is also known as ‘long COVID’ in the medical community.

Q2. What are the benefits of reopening campuses?

Ans. Campuses must resume offline classes in the interest of children’s physical and mental well-being, as well as the good of the economy. It aids in the development of a stable career and exposes students to non-siloed learning.

Q3. What precautions are ideal to curb the spread of COVID-19?

Ans. Social distancing remains the most effective COVID containment strategy. The risk of contracting a virus from sneezing and coughing is greatly reduced by maintaining social distancing. Wearers on campus benefit greatly from social distancing combined with the use of N95 masks.

Q4. What conditions are favorable for COVID-19 spread?

Ans. The following settings are ideal for causing COVID spread:

  • Spending time in crowded areas
  • Not wearing masks or face shields
  • Lack of proper ventilation
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