Purdue Calendar 2020 21 – Coronavirus: Mitch Daniels Purdue’s ‘Foot on the Gas’ Administrators are laying the groundwork for students to return to campus this fall
WEST LAFAYETTE — After Purdue President Mitch Daniels signaled for weeks that the university is willing to do whatever it takes to bring students back to campus as the coronavirus pandemic continues, university administrators laid the groundwork Thursday with the fall semester ending at Thanksgiving and other measures for whom it should happen.
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Daniels said the six recommendations approved Thursday were the “first part” of more than 100 reviewed by his 15-member Safe Campus Task Force, which he said has been on a “fast track” since he was appointed on 31 of March, as it would occur. a way to make the fall 2020 semester happen, as Purdue anticipates a record number of incoming freshmen.
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“Everyone should look forward much, much longer as soon as we can verify them and determine if they are practical,” Daniels said. “He’s constantly stressing that we need every day if we want to do it right by the end of August. That’s why we’re not lingering. Obviously, we’ll be watching events. But we weren’t going to wait and see, because that would probably hurt our chance to make this campus the safer and the best prepared you can be”.
“There are a lot of issues that haven’t been addressed yet,” said Michael Berghoff, chairman of the commissioners. “This is a process that must begin as we aim to have students on campus this fall.”
Trustee Malcolm DeKryger said the plan could be a model for Purdue’s regional campuses. He said the plan recognizes that “potentially there will be points where we will have to stop, back up and detour.”
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Purdue administrators’ plan came during a special meeting Thursday, which would have been one of the last days of finals week during the regular semester.
Daniels has done more than hint in recent days that Purdue was aiming for something as normal as possible, including getting students back for the first time since Purdue went to remote classrooms and asked all students who could leave their dorms after the summer break. spring in the middle of the road. .March.
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Two days before administrators were to meet, Daniels released a video in which he reiterated his claim, first made in an April 21 letter to the campus community that would make national headlines, that students are eager to return to campus and that emerging science points to paths. for social distancing to work.
Daniels said Purdue’s incoming class, based on enrollment trends for the fall semester, will bring freshmen closer to more than 8,000 students, which would be near record numbers for the third year in a row. Daniels also noted that Purdue could avoid the financial woes of other colleges, including those that have announced major budget cuts, layoffs or even closings, with a plan that brings students back to campus.
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“The scientific world has taught us a ton about the virus itself,” Daniels said. “For example … it will reveal that almost all people at risk of death have one or more comorbidities, and which of them are the most dangerous. The effectiveness of different types of protection tools and social distancing practices. And, of particular importance to a place like Purdue, the consistent realization across the board that the young people who make up more than 80 percent of our campus population are at almost zero risk of death.”
On a campus built to be efficient and compact, and therefore filled with 44,551 students, more than 1,900 faculty and 15,000 staff, Daniels promised to “use time, space and technology in new ways to decongest classes, offices and meetings on campus.”
Berghoff said the next steps will look at how to manage dormitories and food service — “It’s going to be important to figure that out,” he said — and how to deal with closed classroom spaces.
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Berghoff said he understands there have been rumors about plans to keep new students off campus. He said that was not the goal.
“There will be a segment of the student population and faculty and staff who may be uncomfortable. So there will be an option for those people to participate remotely. This would, at least according to current thinking, allow students who want to be personal and the faculty and staff who want to be staff. And those who don’t have can do it remotely.”
The same was true, Berghoff said, of the cost of the plan. He estimated that his pieces would cost millions of dollars. He said Purdue is developing contingency plans that include enrollment projections, including the traditional “summer meltdown” of freshmen who simply don’t show up, among other things.
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Daniels’ stance, defined as proactive and even aggressive by supporters and critics alike, has drawn mixed reactions from faculty, staff, students and the West Lafayette community.
Assata Gilmore, Purdue’s 2020-21 student body president, said she is concerned about the impact of a semester without scheduled breaks. But she said she thinks the plan prioritizes health and safety on campus.
“Many students have expressed their excitement about returning to campus in the fall, myself included,” Gilmore said. “I just hope that all of us (students, faculty, staff, community members, etc.) understand what campus life can and will be like as the plan moves forward.”
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Emma Clemenz, a law, society and classical studies major, said her friends couldn’t wait to get back to campus, too. But Clemenz said he has his doubts and wonders whether it would make sense to change the schedule, going remote during the first part of the semester instead of at the end, to give him more time to understand what the coronavirus cases are doing. .
“I think Purdue, and Indiana in general, is rushing to get things back to normal and that could be dangerous,” Clemenz said. “Online learning is not great, but I’d rather do it than see my classmates and teachers sick. I want to go back to Purdue as much as my teammates, but I think coming back in August is too soon and might do more harm than good.”
“I’m comfortable with face-to-face courses, within reason,” Bailey said. “I think that large conferences – which can have more than 400 students – are problematic and should be dealt with systematically, but I see no reason why most courses cannot be adapted to a realistic level of protection measures. I don’t think this comes without risk, but I think we need to work on it.”
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Li Qiao, an associate professor in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a member of the university’s faculty senate, said she personally agrees with face-to-face classes and interactions on campus, saying her risk is as low as someone in their 40s. . But she said she is worried about others on campus.
“Say, after students return to campus in the fall, it doesn’t matter what we do, like every possible way to prevent the spread of the virus: smaller classes, social distancing, disinfecting the campus, frequent cleaning, sufficient and adequate testing , etc. – coming will lead to outbreaks, which is inevitable,” Qiao said. “Young students will hang out, get together, do fun things together, whatever. The scariest thing is that many young people don’t show any symptoms while they have the virus.”
Attempts to reach officials of the Campus Support Staff Advisory Committee and the Administrative and Professional Staff Advisory Committee, two groups that represent campus staff, were not immediately successful.
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Dr. Tippecanoe County Health Officer Jeremy Adler said Wednesday that the county health department “has had some discussions with Purdue University” about reopening. Adler said he understands the plans will include ways to protect students and staff on campus, as well as what to do if students become ill during the semester on campus.
West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis, who has balanced discussions about campus-oriented businesses hurting without a conference by encouraging people not to deviate from social distancing guidelines to stay home, said he’s confident Daniels will get things done well
“Unless you live in a cave, you know what’s going on,” Dennis said. “And the two big mantras we’ve been saying are social distancing and when necessary, wearing a mask. And Purdue, because of its plan to open this fall, is making it not just something that’s heard, but something that’s recognized and understood.”
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In the background, Purdue is among dozens of schools facing class-action lawsuits from students seeking tuition, fees and room and board refunds. Purdue has yet to officially respond to the one case that was filed