The world as we knew it changed forever in March. Faced with unparalleled challenges and no roadmap to navigate them, our faculty, staff and students came together to face the uncertainty and rise to the occasion. Overcoming personal challenges and stressors and making adjustments on the fly to address the demands of a rapidly changing environment, every member of the Truman community played a significant role in making sure the educational mission of our University continued unabated. The work that was done in the spring semester was impressive. Were we perfect in our efforts? Not even close. But we were committed to making it happen and we did.
Fast forward to July. Today, we face even more challenges than we did in March. Not only must we determine answers for the seemingly infinite number of questions still posed by the pandemic, we must be actively cognizant of the injustice and inequity present on our campus and effectively address overt and pernicious impacts of racism. And we must do this with significant decreases in state appropriations.
We learned a lot from the spring semester and we are working with local health officials, professional organizations, and the plans of other universities to determine how best to move forward. This current plan reflects that work as well as input from faculty, staff and students addressing the multitude of factors that must be considered to return to campus.
Members of our community hold a wide variety of defendable perspectives about all aspects of Fall 2020 planning. This variety of perspectives is both welcomed and valuable as the University must consider all factors as we strive to chart the best course forward. As we work to move forward, especially in these extraordinarily trying times, we have a shared responsibility to put the common good above individual preference. By doing this and with great care for the well-being of everyone and for our University, we can create a valuable in-person experience that diminishes risk.
Because the pandemic is still very fluid, this plan represents current data, perspectives and strategies. Like the pandemic, it will evolve over the coming weeks and months. We will continue to follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education and Missouri Center for Public Health Excellence: College and University Minimum Recommendations. The University must continue to prepare for multiple scenarios and we must be ready to make any necessary adjustments should the need arise.
If you have specific questions about what this current plan means for you, please refer to the FAQ section of the Fall 2020 Plan website and/or contact your department chair/dean (for faculty), supervisor (for staff) or academic advisor/Center for Academic Excellence (for students).
Health and Wellness
- Daily symptom check – All faculty, staff and students must monitor symptoms every day, including a daily temperature check, before arriving on campus or leaving a residence hall. A new app (CampusClear) can be used to help faculty, staff and students with daily monitoring tasks, and more details on how to get this app will be posted on the website as soon as it is available for download. If symptoms of COVID-19 are experienced (without a separate known cause, e.g., asthma, allergies, etc.), the individual should not come to campus or leave the residence hall. Faculty should contact their department chairs, staff should contact their supervisors, and students should contact their faculty members.
- Testing – Truman has worked with public health officials to develop a strategy for testing symptomatic community members. Based upon June 30, 2020 CDC guidance, the University will not conduct entry testing of all returning students, faculty, and staff. The Student Health Center (SHC) will be able to initiate rapid testing for students only, with results expected to be returned to SHC within a two-hour time frame (based on capacity of the local hospital). Negative results from the rapid test must be confirmed by a secondary test. Lab test results may take approximately seven days to be returned to the provider. Faculty and staff members should contact their health care provider for any testing needs.
- Contact tracing – University health professionals will work with the Adair County Health Department to conduct contact tracing if Truman community members test positive for COVID-19. Public health privacy requirements will be followed.
- Coordination of Communication – To ensure continued communication between the University and local public and private health entities, Dr. Brenda Higgins, Associate Vice President for Student Wellness has been designated as the primary contact person in regard to issues of testing, contact tracing, quarantine, isolation, community spread, etc.
- Student quarantine arrangements – Students who live on campus and who have been exposed to or have been tested for COVID-19 and need to be quarantined, will be asked to remain in their assigned residence hall room or apartment until confirmation from a health care provider indicates they are not infectious. If necessary, students may be temporarily relocated to a space that has a private bathroom. Arrangements will be made with Dining Services to prepare take-out meals for delivery to the student’s quarantine location, to ensure that students have access to their meal plan during this time. (Additional details will be available in mid-July on the Residence Life website.)
- Student isolation arrangements – Students who live on campus and who become ill and need to be isolated will be provided a single living space with a private bathroom. Arrangements will be made with Dining Services to prepare take-out meals for delivery to the student’s isolation location, to ensure that students have access to their meal plan during this time. Depending on the severity of symptoms, the student may also wish to return to their familial home to recuperate. (Additional details will be available in mid-July on the Residence Life website.)
- Student quarantine/isolation daily check-ins – Students who are asked to quarantine or self-isolate will receive contact (via phone, zoom, or email) from a trained and qualified individual to conduct a daily check-in regarding status of symptoms, any concerns related to health or daily functioning, as well as experiences with potential academic barriers (technology problems, lack of clarity regarding faculty expectations while in quarantine/isolation status, etc.)
- Returning to daily activity following quarantine and/or isolation – While keeping CDC recommendations in mind, the university will also seek guidance from medical professionals in and around Kirksville who are making quarantine and isolation decisions in our community based on testing procedures and the time necessary to receive accurate results.
- Coping with stress – This pandemic can be stressful personally and professionally. Faculty, staff, and students should be mindful of their well-being and take steps to cope with this situation in a positive way (e.g., eat healthy, exercise, get sleep, talk with a trusted acquaintance, take breaks from the news and social media, etc.). The CDC has published information about Coping with Stress during this time. In addition, faculty and staff who are struggling to manage stress and anxiety have access to the Employee Assistance Program as part of the employment benefits package. Students who are struggling are encouraged to contact University Counseling Services.
- Personal safety practices – Individuals are asked to be considerate of others on campus and to consistently participate in the safety practices described below, as they are intended to support the health and well-being of our campus community members.
- Social distancing – As faculty, staff and students return to campus, they should maintain a social distance of six feet at all times.
- Facial Coverings – Wearing facial coverings at all times when inside university owned and controlled buildings will be mandatory except:
- When in a private office (individuals may require facial coverings in their private offices)
- For students, when in their assigned residence hall room
- When eating and drinking
- When an alternative has been approved as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act or religious observance accommodation processes.
- Outdoors when a social distance of at least six feet can be maintained.
- The University will provide one reusable, washable cloth facial covering to students, staff and faculty. Everyone is encouraged to have at least one additional cloth face covering. Face coverings are available for purchase at the University Bookstore in the Student Union Building, and many other retail establishments throughout the community.
- Handwashing – Individuals should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after having been in a public place. They should also avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth. All members of the campus community are also encouraged to carry personal hand sanitizing products. The CDC has recommendations on how to wash your hands.
- Access – Through at least July 24, 2020, campus buildings will remain locked, with limited access allowed by key holders who have been authorized to return to on-site work. As the campus reopens, each building will be subject to unique guidelines for operation based on its facilities and the needs of its occupants.
- Entry to and/or exit from buildings will be regulated, with some doors designated specifically as entrances or exits. Flow of traffic will also be regulated on staircases and other areas as appropriate. Signage will be posted prominently.
- All classrooms will be reconfigured to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between seats.
- Plexiglas/transparent barriers – Locations with high student traffic, reception areas and locations where the 6-feet social distancing is not possible will have Plexiglas shields.
- Cleaning – Housekeeping crews will continue to clean restrooms, public spaces, offices and work spaces based on CDC guidelines. HVAC systems will be operated to increase airflow and provide ventilation.
- Hand sanitizer stations will be available in multiple places within University buildings. This will include main entrances and areas with high visitor traffic.
- Classrooms–cleaning supplies will be provided so classrooms can be cleaned as needed.
- The Fall 2020 semester will start as scheduled on August 17. In-person instruction will end November 24, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Final examinations will be delivered either in-person prior to Thanksgiving or remotely, according to the regular final examination schedule.
- There will be several modes of delivery for courses:
- Online-Asynchronous – The course is fully online and students access content on their own at a time in the day of their choosing.
- Online-Synchronous – The course is fully online, but students meet in real time, on a regular schedule, with their professor and peers via Zoom or a similar platform.
- Fully on Campus – All students meet in a regular classroom setting at normally scheduled times. All students can fit in the designated class space while social distancing.
- Blended On Campus/Online – A combination of face-to-face and online learning. This may include an arrangement where students rotate through the classroom on different days or weeks or could involve a combination of synchronous or asynchronous activities depending on the circumstances of the course.
- Flipped – The course is taught predominantly online, in an asynchronous format, but students are encouraged to periodically visit a classroom or laboratory space to work on problems, projects, or group discussions in a manner that respects social distancing. The primary work of the course is done outside of class.
- Flexible – The course is intentionally designed to allow students to attend face-to-face or complete content online as it suits them, provided they meet the course objectives.
- Mode of delivery for the vast majority of courses will be available by July 15. Students should contact the Center for Academic Excellence or their academic advisor for assistance with any course schedule issues.
- Students who become ill or who need to quarantine or self-isolate should contact their instructor as soon as possible to inform them of the situation and explore possible contingency plans.
- Administrators and faculty will develop instructional continuity plans to manage the potential for instructor absences.
- Faculty are required to hold regular office hours. These hours should be posted and indicate whether they are virtual and/or in person. If a student requests an in-person meeting, faculty should endeavor to accommodate this request.
- Seating for in person classes will be arranged so that adequate physical distancing can be maintained. To aid in contact tracing, faculty will use assigned seating and maintain daily attendance records. Furniture should not be rearranged so that seating chart arrangements and social distancing are not disturbed.
- Residence halls will officially open August 12 for new students and August 15 for returning students with new move-in processes.
- Students residing on-campus during the fall semester will receive Residence Life Move-In Reference Guide: On-Campus Living during the COVID pandemic, by the end of July. This document provides information about the move-in process, what to expect on move-in day, important dates, guidance regarding what to do if they become ill, social distancing guidelines and public space etiquette, etc. Additional information is also available on the Residence Life webpage.
- Access to the residence halls will be limited to Truman students, and authorized personnel. Inviting guests into the residence hall or individual rooms increases the risk of exposure for all members of the community. To promote the health and well-being of our students, everyone is asked to maintain appropriate social distancing and wear facial coverings in common areas of the building(s).
- Students may still request a double room buyout to live in a double room without a roommate. To request this option, students should contact the Residence Life Office.
- Preparations are in progress to ensure appropriate social distancing in dining halls.
- Transparent dividers will be placed on dining tables to provide a barrier between individuals sitting across from one another. Dividers will be cleaned/replaced between each meal.
- When the dining halls reach maximum capacity based on social distancing, incoming diners will not be accommodated in the seating area until someone leaves the dining hall. As an alternative, diners may choose to utilize the take-out meal option.
- Students who prefer to utilize the take-out meal option for lunch and dinner may access the dining hall 30 minutes prior to the regularly scheduled opening for those meals. Students entering during this time will not be allowed to remain in the seating area. The take-out meal option continues to be available whenever the dining hall is open. Breakfast numbers tend to be much lower and should allow for appropriate social distancing. If that should change, we will make appropriate adjustments related to the take-out dining option.
- Self-service stations (i.e. salad bar, beverage stations) will not be in use. These food and drink options will continue to be available, but will be provided through the server stations.
- Retail dining options will be available at the Student Union Building Main Street Food Court, Starbucks in the Pickler Memorial Library and C-Stores located in West Campus Suites and Dobson Hall.
- Catering services will offer plated, served meals only. Buffet-style meals will not be available.
- Further details related to Dining Services will be available by the end of July.
- University travel – Currently, travel restriction for all University-related international and non-essential domestic travel for faculty, staff and students remains in effect. Designating travel as essential will only be made in extenuating and compelling circumstances and will be based upon the necessity of the proposed travel, including consequences of postponing travel, and assessment of risks associated with the proposed travel.
- Personal travel – Personal travel should be carefully considered, and following CDC travel guidelines and state and local travel restrictions is strongly recommended. It is important to note that anyone who chooses to travel may be restricted from returning to campus, depending upon the specifics of their travel.
- Domestic Travel (University or personal) – Public health officials recommend minimizing domestic travel to the extent possible. When domestic travel is essential, follow these guidelines from the CDC.
- Individuals who travel should monitor for symptoms and contact their medical provider if symptoms present.
- International Travel (University or personal) –
- Anyone who travelled internationally or on a cruise ship should not return to campus for 14 days upon their return.
- Anyone arriving to the U.S. from an international location should quarantine for 14 days. Click here for CDC information related to international travel.
- The University is developing policies and procedures for having athletics competition this fall pursuant to state, local, NCAA, and GLVC health and safety guidelines. Policies and procedures should be refined by mid-August.
- Phased policies and procedures are currently being implemented to return essential coaches, athletics staff and student-athletes to campus for voluntary summer workouts as allowed by NCAA and pursuant to guidance by the CDC, state and local officials, the NCAA and GLVC, and Athletics staff.
- The criteria for determining if an event can be held during the Fall 2020 semester include:
- Maximum attendance is limited to no more than 250 people (including all individuals in the facility, i.e., speaker(s), performer(s) and support personnel)
- Facility must have the capacity for the intended audience to maintain appropriate social distancing.
- There will be no rental of University facilities for the Fall 2020 semester to external entity sponsors.
- Internal versus external attendees
- Decisions about external attendees will be made on a case by case basis.
Information for Employees
Self-Certification Form Required to Return to On-Site Work
- Upon returning to work, all employees will be required to complete a return-to-campus checklist with their supervisor. Essential employees who have continued working on campus will also be required to promptly complete the checklist.
- An employee will again be required to complete the form prior to returning to campus if there is a change in circumstance, such as:
- Testing positive for COVID-19
- Having been advised by a health care provider to stay home and self-quarantine
- Having close contact in the last 14 days with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who showed symptoms of COVID-19
- Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (without a separate known cause, e.g., asthma, allergies, etc.)
- Having been notified of exposure to COVID-19 within the last 14 days
Faculty and Staff Accommodations
- To avoid the potential of capricious decision making, the University is following federal guidelines for reasonable accommodations.
- Faculty and staff members with medical conditions or other risk factors placing them at high risk for COVID-19 can request a reasonable accommodation using the Americans with Disabilities Act process.
- Faculty and staff members who are unable to work due to COVID-19-related child care or school limitations should review leave options available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
The deadline for reasonable accommodation requests was July 1, 2020. Faculty and staff are able to request accommodations at any time under the ADA process. But for planning purposes, those requests should be submitted as early as possible.
As the number of employees returning to campus increases, the University will take steps to keep campus density at an appropriate level. Prior to July 24, each area will determine the appropriate staffing and coverage plans, which could include:
- Staggered reporting/departing – The beginning and end of the workday typically bring many people together at common entry/exit points of buildings. Staggering reporting and departure times by at least 30 minutes will reduce traffic in common areas to meet social distancing guidelines.
- Alternating days – In order to limit the number of individuals and interactions among those on campus, departments may schedule partial staffing on alternating days. Such schedules will help enable social distancing, especially in areas with large common workspaces.
- Working remotely – Employees working remotely, because of an approved accommodation or because of alternating days, will need to adhere to the earlier guidelines established, and are required to update their Telecommuting Request Form, submitting the updated form to Human Resources. In addition, employees are encouraged to review the technical tips and resources for learning and working remotely, found here: Teach and Work Anywhere – paying special attention to the section on Safely Accessing Files, Shared Drives and Data.
- Virtual meetings and communications – When possible, employees should continue to meet virtually, either by phone, Zoom or any other preferred platform. For in-person meetings, facial coverings and social distancing guidelines should be observed at all times.
Please consult the University’s COVID-19 website for more information on Truman’s response to this pandemic. In addition, other general resources include:
- Center for Disease Control (CDC) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education
- Missouri Center for Public Health Excellence: College and University Minimum Recommendations
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Interim Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education Administrators for SARS-CoV-2 Testing
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): How COVID-19 Spreads
- AAUP Guidance for Reopening Campuses
- CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- World Health Organization information on COVID-19
- CDC How to Protect Yourself& Others
- Truman Fall 2020 Planning
- Adair County Health Department Novel Coronavirus Updated (COVID-19)