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Delaware State University plans to resume campus operations in the fall, using a combination of in-person and online classes, regular COVID-19 testing of students and employees, and social distancing practices.
On-campus classes are set to resume Aug. 25. The university’s plan echoes those of several other major universities, relying on hybrid learning and remote work to limit students and employees on campus to about 3,000 people in a given week.
Like the University of Delaware, classes will be fully remote after Thanksgiving break.
DSU officials plan to use consistent and mass COVID-19 testing to ensure a safe reopening, and are seeking guidance from the nonprofit Testing For America, a nonprofit aiding schools and businesses in reopening through mass access to rapid testing. The partnership is funded in part by $100,000 in CARES Act funding from New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer.
A small group of aviation students will return to campus this week in order to catch up on missed flight hours from the spring semester. These students will pilot the university’s COVID-testing abilities.
Then, in two weeks, student athletes will return to campus, as the university slowly ramps up testing capacity for when the majority of students return in August.
By the start of the semester, students and staff will undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, with the capacity to test high-risk individuals biweekly.
“The key to safe university operations in the ‘new normal’ is robust testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine,” said university president Tony Allen.
“As the university develops toward a weekly COVID-19 testing capacity, we will have the unique ability to test our entire campus community throughout the semester.”
In June, the University of Delaware announced similar plans to use online and in-person learning, rotating students in and out of the classroom on a weekly basis. But still, some colleges have committed to going exclusively online in the fall, like Wilmington University.
At DSU, all students and staff on campus will be required to complete a daily symptom monitoring questionnaire before arriving on campus or leaving their residence hall. Masks will be required, and social distancing must be practiced on campus. The number of people in public areas will be monitored, hand sanitizer will be widely available on campus, and public areas will be frequently cleaned and disinfected.
Residence halls will also operate at about 75% capacity, with rooms set aside for any students needing to quarantine. The university will also accommodate any high-risk students and employees needing to work from home.