Fort Lewis College plans to lease a hotel in Durango to handle more requests for single dorm rooms, and some students will be trained as health advocates to educate people about procedures taken on campus to minimize risk from COVID-19.
Those were among the procedures to deal with the novel coronavirus that the Board of Trustees heard during their meeting Friday.
Procedures now common will be practiced on campus, including maintaining a 6-foot social distance, mask-wearing and frequent hand-washing, but measures will extend beyond them.
FLC is requiring all students who will stay in dormitories and at the hotel to be tested for the virus during check in and will be able to provide 1,100 tests a month once the semester begins, said Jeff DuPont, associate vice president of student affairs. About 1,500 students are expected to be tested and tests will be free to the students.
An app to aid in contact tracing will use a QR code placed in each room so students can track where they have been during the day.
Hand sanitizers, both for personal use and in common areas, will be provided. The school has bought 1,500 N95 masks.
Food services will start off with grab-and-go items only. The dining room will open only after the school determines it is safe.
“It’s really paying attention to the situation and to anticipate. Things might happen fairly rapidly, and we need to be adaptable and flexible,” said Julie Love, FLC vice president of student affairs.
Students will be required to take a brief online training before given a Health Awareness Certification.
As part of the certification, students will self-certify that they:
Have not been found to be actively infected with the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.Have not been in close contact with anyone known or suspected to have tested positive for the virus in the past 14 days.Agree to abide by FLC’s terms and conditions.FLC President Tom Stritikus estimated the school may be dealing with the novel coronavirus for at least the next three semesters.
FLC will lease rooms in the Durango Downtown Inn to accommodate more requests for single dorm rooms. In an email after the meeting, Love said local and corporate representatives helped the school find a solution with a room shortage spurred by the virus.
Students will be charged $3,344 for the semester, and their contract will be with FLC. Rooms at the hotel will be assigned to upper-division students who will have on-site residential staff assisting them.
“We greatly appreciate the community partnership and help from the hotel as we welcome our students back in a few short weeks,” Love said.
School will start Aug. 24, and the last day of in-person classes is scheduled for Thanksgiving week. Finals will be administered remotely, said Jesse Peters, the dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.
Weekly emails will go out to students and employees informing them about the epidemiological situation on campus, locally and in La Plata County. Ad hoc emails will also go to students’ families.
A Facebook group, Skyhawks Parents and Family Group, has been formed to help students’ parents and families stay abreast of campus developments and the school’s response to COVID-19.
About 800 classes will be offered in person on campus. Another 300 classes will meet in person and have access remotely online. About 100 classes will be held completely online.
Cheryl Nixon, provost and vice president of academic affairs, said 550 classrooms have been reconfigured for social distancing.
“Our motivation is to work to provide in-person instruction, but to also have options,” Nixon said. “We want to be able to serve a diverse student body. We have students working to complete degrees, and a disruption could really impact communities where we want to provide academic services and achievement.”
Fifty classrooms have been Zoom enabled.
“The faculty understands they need to be super flexible during this time. A student may need to be online for five days. A faculty member, if they test positive, may have to teach online,” Peters said.
This story has been updated to reflect that all students in dormitories and the hotel will be tested for COVID-19 during check-in.[email protected]