Purdue University trustees Thursday approved some initial steps suggested by the school’s Safe Campus Task Force to allow students, faculty, and staff to return to campus safely next school year in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic -- including plans for continued remote work and learning.
Purdue University President Mitch Daniels said at the trustees’ meeting the task force submitted over 100 ideas for consideration. Six were chosen as a “first installment.”
“Everyone should expect many, many more, as fast as we can vet them, and determine if they are practical to accomplish,” Daniels said. “It weighs on us constantly that we need every day if we want to do this right by the end of August.”
Students will come to campus in August and remain there until Thanksgiving, with no intervening breaks; coursework for the rest of the semester will be done remotely. The number of on-campus administrative staff members could be reduced by a third, with the continued use of remote work. Infrastructure for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing will be established, and quarantine spaces will be set aside for students. A 90-day supply of “critical equipment and supplies” for preventing COVID-19 spread will be maintained. And all students, faculty, and staff must receive an influenza vaccination.
“I want to stress that anything we do here will be based on data, and on the best science available to us at the time,” Daniels said.
The first day of Purdue’s 2020-21 school year is August 24. Thanksgiving break is scheduled to start on Nov. 25, and the first day of school in 2021 is Jan. 11.