Arts and Sciences Updates

September 28 Update

September 28, 2021

For today’s update I am going to summarize the topics we covered at the lunch check-in and provide responses to questions we have received so far. People reported experiencing a range of feelings as they return; many students, faculty and staff are happy to be back, while others are also (or more) concerned about health and safety, particularly in smaller classrooms.

Questions about how the Safe Start app works with exposure/COVID positive reports. When someone reports they tested positive or were exposed to someone else, the system immediately sends a follow-up email requesting much more information. There is also a phone call follow-up in those cases, even if the person does not complete the emailed questionnaire.

Requests for more hand sanitizer and wipes in the Admin Building, with reports that much more hand sanitizer and wipes are available in Pigott than in the Admin Building. I have made a request for more supplies in Admin.

Using air purifiers -- it's OK to open windows. Opening the windows will not make the air purifier less efficient. You will not create an unsafe air environment by opening the window. The air filter is designed to filter the air for a certain amount of square footage regardless of if the air is recirculated in the room or coming from the open windows. The filter may fill up quicker due to outside air but there is an indicator light showing it needs a replacement filter, Facilities will come and replace them.

Admin building access and stairway congestion -- They are encouraging everyone to enter up the main, center staircase in the Admin building and exit out of the North and South stairwells. I  have suggested signage to that effect, but feel free to share this idea with your students in Admin classes; most of the freshmen and sophomores probably have no idea the north and south stairwells exist.

Missing desks and crowded Admin classrooms -- We will follow up individually with faculty who raised this issue, desks should not be missing. There may be ways to move some sections to larger available rooms (especially classes outside the 9am – 1pm “prime time”) but this may take time to explore.

Space for students to do virtual classes near in-person classes. The 4th and 5th floors of the Lemieux library have individual study rooms students can use, we are checking in to what other rooms might be available.