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CDC Adds New COVID-19 Guidelines for Higher Ed

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently came out with additional guidelines to help institutions of higher education protect students, faculty and staff and slow the spread of COVID-19. The list of considerations was meant to inform, not dictate, university policies, noting that "implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each community."

The guidelines covered behavioral, environmental and operational factors for lowering the risk of COVID-19 exposure. Recommendations included:

  • Encouraging anyone who has experienced COVID-19 symptoms, tested positive for COVID-19 or has been potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19 to stay home or self-isolate;
  • Hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, wearing cloth face coverings and providing adequate hygiene supplies;
  • Posting signs to promote everyday protective measures;
  • Cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces;
  • Increased ventilation of indoor spaces; and
  • Physical barriers and guides to ensure individuals stay at least 6 feet apart.

The CDC also offered specific recommendations for classrooms. Institutions should space seating/desks at least 6 feet apart when feasible, the guidelines noted, suggesting that seats and rows in lecture halls can be taped off to ensure that seating is spaced appropriately. Other recommendations included: Host smaller classes in larger rooms; offer distance learning to help reduce the number of in-person attendees; and ensure that students engaged in experiential learning activities remain at least 6 feet apart.

The guidelines also encouraged the use of virtual meetings and flexible/staggered schedules to limit in-person gatherings. That includes going virtual for group events, administrative meetings, student support services and individual classes.

The full list of considerations is available on the CDC site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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