In preparation for the return of students and employees to campus for the Fall 2020 semester — which begins August 24 — Southern Adventist University has put in place a number of new safety measures. These precautions were developed by a special task force to help employees and students return to in-person instruction as safely as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, hopefully giving parents some peace of mind.
“I want my son to have the complete Southern experience. While we all have come to expect a certain amount of ‘virtual’ in our lives these days, there is nothing like the real thing,” said Franklin Farrow, Southern alum, board member, and parent of a current student. “The University is working hard to safely provide the real thing to students, and I trust that the preparations made will provide the best opportunity to those who want to experience the fullness of life that Southern offers.”
These are the top five ways Southern is working to guard against infection and viral transmission this fall:
1. Enhanced Air Filtration – Southern has taken the special precaution of installing new filtration systems in all buildings on campus. The needlepoint bipolar ionization provides hospital-level air filtration in all classrooms, offices, meeting areas, and residence halls. The technology works by emitting charged ions that bind to airborne particles and neutralize pathogens, such as the new coronavirus. The installation has attracted attention from local churches, schools, and the media, as well as other universities across the country.
2. Electrostatic Cleaning – In addition to increasing cleaning frequency, Southern’s sanitation team has a powerful tool in their arsenal: electrostatic spraying machines. These special devices evenly disperse hospital-grade cleaning agents throughout a room, disinfecting even hard-to-reach places. This ensures that high-contact surfaces and heavily trafficked areas receive a deep cleaning frequently.
3. Daily Screening – All employees and students will be required to participate in daily temperature checks and symptom surveys to help quickly identify individuals who may be infected. Visitors will also be screened.
4. Masks – To help protect others from infection, employees will be wearing face masks in most indoor spaces. Washable masks will be provided to students, who will be encouraged to wear one whenever social distancing is not possible. In certain campus spaces, such as classrooms, face coverings will be required.
5. Revised Calendar – To reduce the amount of travel and send students home at a time when viruses are typically more prevalent, Southern has adjusted the Fall 2020 semester schedule. The new calendar ends in-person instruction at Thanksgiving break, followed by two weeks of distance coursework, completing the semester on December 11.
Additionally, Southern is reducing classroom capacity, increasing the number of hand-sanitizing stations on campus, installing Plexiglas at key interaction points, adjusting social activities, and streamlining how food is served, along with other precautions. These safety measures were developed in collaboration with the University Health Center to meet or exceed state and Centers for Disease Control health guidelines for higher education. More information is available at southern.edu/safety.
Despite needing to take these extra precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic, registration at Southern is on track for a full campus this fall.
“Our students are the heart of Southern Adventist University,” said President David Smith, Ph.D., in an email to students. “We believe this will be an amazing fall semester, complete with Vespers, intramurals, Student Association events, and face-to-face classes. We can’t wait to start it with you!”
Southern Adventist University | August 2020