The Spring has certainly been challenging for Xavier and for universities across the nation. You have persevered in spite of the disruption. Fall 2020 will mark our return to campus.
Xavier’s fall reopening will differ significantly from the past to offer the safest campus possible. Our class schedules and locations are being reimagined to satisfy social distance. New residential venues are being incorporated in student housing plans so as to reduce occupant density. And most importantly, each member of the Xavier community will be required to embrace practices and behaviors to profoundly reduce the possibility of transmission of the COVID-19 virus on campus. The return to campus will be a reaffirmation of our calling and our mission to serve one another and to show the way to the more just and humane society.
I know that as the days progress you are most interested in more details of our plans for the Fall 2020 reopening of our campus. I have heard from many of you your concerns about the awaited return to face to face learning, work and interactions. Your voices and the safety of the community are top of mind as preparation for our return continues.
In the documents that follow, you will find details of the plan developed under the leadership of our cabinet, deans, leadership team, staff and faculty. We have consulted with public health experts at Xavier and other institutions and remain in constant contact with our local, state and federal leaders for guidance.
The decision to return to campus is driven by our collective knowledge that students learn, grow, and benefit greatly from the in-person engagement with a committed faculty and classmates. These interactions breed the environment of learning and mentoring that has led to the success of generations of Xavierites.
I am confident in our decision to return and our capacity to work and learn as a community. Yet, we must all remain flexible in the knowledge that this unprecedented moment in our history may present new challenges to which we shall respond.
We will bind ourselves to each other in solemn agreement. We will protect and care for one another by our masking, social distancing and hygienic practice. To do otherwise would not be worthy of a Xavierite, called to follow in the example of service of Mother Katharine.
Xavier University of Louisiana
Please review the attached documents for details regarding our return. The University will release additional detailed information for Fall 2020 operations over the coming week and months and will continue to update this plan. Updates will be emailed and posted to the website at Xavier University Fall Return.Benefits of Infection Prevention Tactics Mandated at Xavier University Fall 2020 Benefits of Infection Prevention Tactics
ONE-WAY CORRIDORS to manage density and reduce risks.
As an institution we are increasing community standards for cleanliness with increased focus on cleanliness. Cleaning materials will be available in all classrooms, departments, and common spaces to allow users to easily sanitize workspaces prior and after use. Xavier will follow all public health guidelines set for the by the CDC and best practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Housekeeping staff will continue to clean office and workspaces according to CDC guidelines. “High touch” areas and surfaces such as doorknobs and bathrooms will be cleaned more frequently and monitored more closely. This summer, we are reviewing proposals from vendors for our cleaning services. This process is well underway and the selected team to assist with this is scheduled to start work in July 2020.
We are enhancing our community standards to promote a safe and healthy environment to teach, learn, work and play. This is an opportunity for us to live our mission of service to others by taking individual action to protect our fellow community members.
In coordination with federal, state and local guidance, we will require you to practice physical distancing, wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer, maintain clean spaces and wear appropriate face coverings/masks (provided by the University for those who need them), among other best practices. Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms or knowledge of exposure should seek medical care and must not report to work or class. We will post signage in campus buildings with these important reminders.
The University is developing programs with healthcare industry partners to provide ongoing surveillance of the disease on campus. Personal Daily Health Check-ins will be required with guidelines to determine physical campus attendance or remote workdays forthcoming from Human Resources. Educational reminders on safe and health behaviors will be shared on an ongoing basis to keep our health top of mind.
Health and Safety Stewards will be recruited, trained, and deployed to help us all maintain social distance, provide masks, and encourage hand sanitizing and messaging to achieve success in mitigating risks of COVID- 19 infections on campus.
Please know that planning and implementation for a safe and healthy campus will continue throughout the summer. The University will release additional detailed information for Fall 2020 operations over the coming week and months and will continue to update this plan. Updates will be emailed and posted to the website at Xavier University Fall Return.
Current research and prior experience with respiratory viruses, has shown that masks do significantly reduce infection. I urge you to look at this video from the Bax and Anfinrud laboratories in Pennsylvania that show potentially infectious droplets from the mouth of a speaker without and with a mask. These droplets are be mitigated by appropriate mouth and nose covering. The requirement for masking all in public and common space will suppress airborne spread of the infectious agent and prevent community transmission.
The other mode of transmission is transfer from a contaminated surface. To suppress tactile transmission, frequent handwashing or sanitization will be an essential and necessary part of Xavier life. Xavierites will undertake care for other to another level. Xavierites will clean and sanitize surfaces before and after every use. Our facilities team will assure that wipes and appropriate cleansers will be available in classrooms, libraries and other common spaces. Xavierites will wash or sanitize their hands before entering a meeting space or classroom. Xavierites will not rely on others to clean before and after them. Each of us will seriously do our part.
An appropriate distance (6 feet or more) and avoidance of touching are well established as effective in preventing transmission. Thus, we will accommodate our behaviors to keep healthy distance, avoid handshakes, kisses, even fist or elbow bumps. Prescribed seating arrangement in classes and common spaces will support appropriate distancing. As Xavierites, we will each do our part. During the current period, we will accept these changes in our behaviors for the protection of fellow members of the Xavier community. We do so assured that better times will follow, when we shall embrace and hold each other hand in hand.
No one can be assured of complete safety in the midst of this pandemic, even with complete isolation. However, strict adherence to these practice has been proven over time to provide a significant measure of safety. This will be the case at Xavier, where we protect one another by blocking our capacity as human beings to infect one another.