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Key COVID-19 Adaptations

President McPhee, Provost Byrnes and our leadership team put forward many changes in our operations and practices to prepare for a return to on-campus and in-person operations for the Fall 2020 semester. Here is a summary of those key decision points.

General campus operation

  • Face coverings must be worn in all indoor areas, and outdoors if physical distancing restrictions are not able to be maintained
  • Signage will provide instructions related to queuing, entry/exit, wearing of face coverings, occupancy, physical distancing, etc.
  • Increased cleaning protocols for high touch areas and multi-use areas (classrooms, dining halls, etc.)
  • Special cleaning protocols for areas that may have been contaminated by an active COVID case 

Academic instruction

  • 40% of courses offered with some or all on-campus instruction; 40% of courses offered as completely on-line instruction.  Remaining classes include internships, student teaching, dissertation hours, research, independent study, etc. 
  • All classrooms have been reconfigured to meet social distancing guidelines.  Traditional event spaces, including the Student Union Ballroom, are being repurposed for classroom instruction.
  • Consistent attendance policy across all classes, with provisions for illness or isolation requirements
  • All classroom instruction may be captured via video technology for use by students who cannot come to class due to illness

On-campus housing

  • All sleeping rooms converted to private space
  • There will be assigned check-in times staggered over five days to reduce density in lobbies, hallways, elevators.
  • 5% of total bed spaces held for isolation/quarantine (100 beds)
  • Visitation restricted to one MTSU student guest per resident; non-student guests restricted unless approved by staff

Meal services

  • Tables and chairs removed to reach social distancing guidelines of 6 feet between tables
  • No self-service or buffet-style options; all food will be served or pre-packaged 
  • On-line ordering available through Grub Hub
  • Touchless transactions instead of traditional meal card swiping
  • Prepared to go to an entirely take-out menu if needed

Student Health

  • Separate entry for potential COVID patients.  Both in-person and tele-heath appointments available to students
  • Testing available for all students meeting CDC guidelines of symptomatic or close exposure.  Expanding contracts with testing labs to facilitate faster results.  Self-swab kits are becoming available.
  • Pursuing purchase of Sophia 2 machine so that on-campus rapid testing can be conducted
  • Contact tracing to be managed by medical staff in conjunction with local/state department of health
  • Online reporting process for those with knowledge of active cases or exposure, to be evaluated by medical staff 

Activities and events

  • All events will meet social distancing guidelines
  • Room/ballroom capacities reconfigured to meet social distancing guidelines
  • Events restricted to university events only
  • Student activities provided either on-line or in small groups, or outdoors while meeting social distancing guidelines 

Mental health and academic support

  • Both in-person and telehealth counseling available to students
  • Both group and individual counseling available.  Long term needs will be referred to off-campus providers, as always.
  • On-line/virtual tutoring available.
  • On-line/virtual academic advising available. 

Key Indicators to Continue Operations

Conditions to Move From In-Person, On-Campus Restrictions for Fall 2020

  • Any orders mandating campus closure/decreased campus operations/work from home by state or local public health officials/government would activate Immediate action to move totally online delivery
  • Local and regional hospital/ICU capacity nears capacity, per public health officials
  • On-campus isolation and quarantine rooms at full/near full capacity
  • Case counts on campus significantly exceed county and/or regional case counts
  • Absolute confirmed case counts rise to an unacceptable level in the county/region per public health officials
  • Absentee rates from documented illness of MTSU faculty/staff/students exceed acceptable margins to continue on ground experience

Conditions to Relax In-Person, On-Campus Restrictions for Fall 2020

  • Confirmation of decreased viral virulence or infectivity and/or development of improved treatment methods
  • Widespread availability of immunization (safe vaccine)