What's New: Physical Changes to Campus

The COVID-19 Steering Committee has created policies and procedures to support safe, sustainable on-campus operations and urges all University community members to do their part by honoring the guidelines as UP begins to reopen campus.

Perhaps the most noticeable change to campus: More than 7,500 signs have been installed to guide the UP community toward the proper health and safety precautions around campus. Floor and stairway graphics demonstrate proper directional and physical distancing practices; wall decalsfor elevators, hand washing stations, break spaces, entrances and exits, and drinking fountainsdetail facemask requirements and room capacity; seating graphics maintain proper distancing, and much more. “Know the Symptoms” and daily health check-in signs have been placed around campus as well. Our thanks to the COVID-19 Steering Committee and especially Joe Kaleel, Sean Ducey, and Susan Etzel of University Events for their leadership and Renee Byrd for designing and creating this extensive signage package. It took the efforts of many physical plant employees to put up all the signage as well.

Air quality and heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems might not stand out to the casual observer, but in an abundance of caution and in line with CDC, OHA, and ASHRAE recommendations, UP will increase inspections of each building’s intake and exhaust systems. HVAC will run two hours prior and after occupancy to flush out buildings’ air supply, and filters will be upgraded and changed more frequently.

“Beyond the obvious campus changes from new signage, folks will notice that we have moved much of the furniture in the classrooms and social spaces to de-densify and help with maintaining a six-foot distance between occupants,” according to University Operations vice president Jim Ravelli. “These spaces will look very different than before.”

Service points around campus have been fitted with some 140 plexiglass shields, including 70 classrooms with shields in place at lecture podiums. Hand sanitizer stations—more than 100—have been installed around campus, with an interactive map showing all locations. The map can be found at http://campusmap.up.edu/ by clicking the “COVID-19 Resources” box. Another thing you’re likely to notice is that physical plant employees have been provided with 30 electrostatic sprayers—think “Ghostbusters” proton packs—for efficiently disinfecting spaces and touch surfaces.

With de-densifying and continued online learning, the usual sight of students streaming to and fro between classes and mealtimes won't be the same either. School protocols will still require social distancing, and the clear guidelines from the COVID-19 Task Force and examples set by faculty and staff should help them with the adjustment.