WILMINGTON — When students return to Wilmington College in August for the fall semester, they will encounter a campus designed to help ensure their safety and well-being in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Interim President Erika Goodwin notified students, faculty and staff Thursday evening (June 25) of new processes and protocols throughout the College’s facilities, ranging from classrooms and residence halls to dining services and common areas.
“We’re going to great lengths to ensure our facilities and fixtures are safe and clean,” she said, noting the plan also places an onus for success upon all members of the campus community. “We’re striving to provide a safe environment and each of us has a personal responsibility to ourselves and to one another to make the return to campus successful.”
Goodwin cited the combined efforts of the College’s COVID-19 Response Team and Safety and Emergency Committee with “diligently” working on plans for an academic year like no other in modern history. The plans featured consultation with the campus medical staff, as well as a review of those intentions with the Clinton County Health Department. The plans are based upon guidelines set by the Ohio Department of Health, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Education, Governor Mike DeWine’s office, the NCAA and the Ohio Athletic Conference.
The College’s website at www.wilmington.edu features a comprehensive listing of protocols for the return to campus, including details on education delivery plans, dining services, housing and residence life and employee protocols, along with a host of other related resources.
Among the highlights, students, faculty and staff are required to practice physical distancing and wear facial coverings/masks on campus, when outside of private work and living spaces. Employees have already received reusable masks as part of a disinfection kit and students will get at least two each upon their arrival.
On the academic front, the College plans to offer a combination of in-person, hybrid and online classes. The capacity of classrooms has been reduced to increase the physical distance between all persons in the space. All classrooms will undergo a deep, comprehensive disinfection each night.
Signage will be everywhere highlighting physical distancing, wearing facial coverings and maintaining effective hand hygiene. Hallway arrows will indicate the desired flow of traffic in buildings, as various stairways have been designated for either up or down movement. Elevators and restrooms have reduced capacity limits and lobby areas feature fewer pieces of furniture to limit the number of persons congregating in common spaces.
The Colleges Health Services, including the campus nurse and doctor, and the athletic training staff, will play an expanded role this year in both employing measures to prevent illness and dealing with any contingencies. The College is working with the County Health Dept. in developing a comprehensive plan should the quarantining and contact tracing of individuals become necessary.
Hand sanitizer stations have been installed throughout the campus. Indeed, the College’s custodial services have been assigned to disinfect restrooms and numerous other high and medium-touch points routinely throughout the day. Some 180 disinfection kits have been delivered to employees across the campus to accommodate on-the-spot disinfection where deemed necessary and daily cleaning of their personal workspaces and equipment such as telephones and computer keyboards and mice.
The NCAA and Ohio Athletic Conference continue to develop a comprehensive set of guidelines for athletics. They have implemented a 14-day self-quarantine for fall student-athletes prior to their campus arrival with numerous other measures involving temperature and symptom checks prior to team practices and competitions. Participants in fall sports are scheduled to arrive Aug. 18 for football and 19 for soccer. volleyball and cross country.
WC’s international students will undergo a 14-day quarantine upon their arrival in Wilmington in early August.
Classes are scheduled to start Aug. 24.