Purdue University Announces Strategic Plan for Fall Reopening

Published 6-25-2020

Purdue University released the "Protect Purdue" strategic reopening plan in June of 2020. Incorporating the latest scientific guidance, the university has developed an array of tools and operational protocols to safely resume campus activities while limiting the spread of SARS-CoV-2. The plan aims to create a culture of safety and accountability through a universal pledge by students, faculty, and staff to assume personal responsibility for protecting themselves, others, and the Purdue community. This includes participating in training exercises to learn the required safety practices, which will include hand hygiene, the wearing of face masks, symptom monitoring, testing, and contact tracing.  

Health safety practices and protocols will be implemented, including the distribution of wellness kits to every on-campus student, the designation of rooms for isolation and quarantine, and the establishment of a comprehensive testing and contact tracing system. A 90-day supply of essential equipment will be acquired and maintained. For the fall 2020 semester, in-person instruction will conclude by Thanksgiving with distance-learning continuing after the holiday. Special residential accommodations will be available for the most vulnerable students, and guidelines will be implemented for student organization and group meetings. The Protect Purdue Health Center is also being created to oversee and manage the integrated health monitoring and surveillance system for SARS-CoV-2. 

Physical spaces will be significantly adapted to mitigate risk. Classrooms, living areas, and study spaces will be de-densified, and instructional venues will be redesigned to reduce occupancy by approximately 50 percent. There will be new procedures for entering and exiting classrooms, which will receive enhanced cleaning and decontamination services, and appropriate shields will be erected between instructors and students. In labs and other areas where occupancy reduction is not feasible, additional barriers will be installed. Residential facilities will integrate social distancing models with revised room assignment plans. Dining halls will provide a carry-out-only service with distanced queueing, with adjacent tent seating areas stocked with disinfection wipes for use before and after eating. The recreation center will reopen with distancing requirements determined by activity intensity level. Additionally, Purdue is evaluating each campus building individually to address the performance of HVAC and water systems and the effectiveness of signage for wayfinding. One-third of the administrative staff will work remotely during the fall semester, and additional building services personnel will be hired to perform cleaning and disinfection tasks.

A range of instructional options will be offered such as fully online, hybrid, and in-person learning. Purdue will provide faculty and staff with additional training and equipment to enable them to work remotely, and will take steps to identify and protect the most vulnerable members of the community. The university is committed to engaging all stakeholders with consistent, compelling, and timely communication, leveraging the Protect Purdue website to provide the latest information and guidance. 

Purdue's research mission will be advanced safely and responsibly through the assessment of over 100 buildings and the implementation of additional safety measures including social distancing, working in shifts, the phased reopening of laboratories, and remote research operations for tasks such as data analytics or literary reviews. 

Lastly, Purdue will anticipate and plan for contingencies by evaluating local healthcare and treatment capabilities, on-campus testing capacities, and the availability of isolation and quarantine facilities. The university is actively engaged in the development of resilient pedagogies to support changing circumstances, such as student isolation after a positive test.