Purdue University President Mitch Daniels said Tuesday the school intends to welcome students back to campus safely in the fall, and laid out a series of possible measures to do just that -- including COVID-19 tests for students, faculty, and staff prior to their arrival on campus.
In a letter sent to the university community, Daniels -- who stressed that the policies were only “preliminary” -- said testing could continue through the school year, with results processed in a Purdue laboratory. Those diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19 would be quarantined in a specific space, and contact tracing would be used to identify people in their close network for self-quarantines.
“We intend to know as much as possible about the viral health status of our community,” Daniels said.
Other proposals include an increased use of online coursework, a continued ban on certain gathering sizes, the required use of face masks or coverings, visitor limitations, and continued remote work for employees with higher COVID-19 risk factors.
“Literally, our students pose a far greater danger to others than the virus poses to them,” Daniels said.
Enrollment for the current school year at the West Lafayette campus totaled 44,551, with a freshman class of 8,056 students. Daniels said the university plans for students on campus in “typical numbers” as next school year begins.
“Now, sadly and ironically, the very density we have consciously fostered is, at least for the moment, our enemy,” Daniels said. “Distance between people, that is, less density, is now the overriding societal imperative.”
Currently, the first day of class for Purdue’s 2020-21 school year is August 24.