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Minimizing Spread

Protocol and Oversight

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

The protocol for containing the spread of COVID-19 on campus will be overseen by the University’s Chief Health Officer working in close coordination with Clark Health Services (for students) and the Department of Public Health. A designated containment team will be on standby to respond quickly and comprehensively to known or suspected cases of COVID-19.

During the initial period of return of students, closing some building spaces may allow focused sanitation of open spaces and the capacity to respond to unanticipated needs. Meanwhile, modest physical modification of spaces is likely in order to support social distancing (e.g., partitions in dining spaces, plexiglass partitions at customer service windows, reorganization of classrooms). Floor markings and other means will be used to promote six-foot social distancing in waiting areas and other locations. We also are exploring opportunities for contactless technologies.

The following additional steps will also be taken.

Expanded Sanitation Practices and Protocols

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

  • High traffic areas: High traffic areas, including common spaces, shared spaces, corridors, lobbies, entrances, bathrooms, elevators, and associated high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs and light switches) will be sanitized by Facilities Management 2–3 times every 24 hours, consistent with CDC guidelines.
  • Classrooms: Facilities Management will sanitize classrooms once every 24 hours, at the beginning or end of the course day. A basic “cleaning station” (antiseptic spray, etc.) will be set up and stocked by Facilities Management in classrooms for students and professors seeking to carry out additional sanitization in their immediate seating areas.
  • Dining halls: Dining halls will be cleaned and sanitized by Sodexo to industry standards and CDC guidelines.
  • Laboratories: A sanitation protocol will be implemented for computer labs and other spaces.
  • Individual workspaces (e.g., employee offices) and student private rooms in residence halls: Sanitization of these spaces will be carried out by the room occupants at their discretion, using sanitization supplies provided by Facilities Management.
  • Stairway and elevator usage: Buildings will be evaluated to determine if stairwells and entrances can be designated as one way with clear signage. Elevators will be limited to one passenger and should only be used by those who have physical limitations.
  • Department expectations: Departments will be supplied with a hygiene kit containing masks, hand sanitizer, and wipes (or paper towels and sanitizer spay if wipes are not available). Depending on departmental needs, kits will also contain gloves. Each department will appoint a staff member as safety liaison to be responsible for maintaining supplies and be the main point of contact for any safety-related communications. Access to breakrooms will be limited to accessing refrigerators, sinks, and appliances (microwaves, etc.).
  • Personal hygiene expectations: Employees will be encouraged to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. They also will be advised to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth and to follow related CDC recommendations.
  • Supplemental sanitation protocol: If particular locations on campus are identified as being associated with multiple COVID-19 cases, a supplemental sanitation protocol will be implemented.

Classroom Health and Safety

(Last updated June 20, 2020)

  • All classroom capacities will be reduced by 50 percent, with the maximum set at 50 students.
  • Seats will be blocked off in large, non-configurable fixed-seating lecture halls.
  • Chairs will be removed from reduced-capacity classrooms and used to furnish alternative classroom spaces.
  • Current rules concerning the scheduling of “departmentally owned” and “central priority” spaces will be suspended, allowing greater authority for the Registrar to schedule classes in these spaces.
  • Some classroom instruction spaces across campus that are currently not used for classes (e.g., Grace, Lurie, ASEC 101) will be used first and foremost as classrooms.

Instructional practices and flexibility

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

  • Faculty with an elevated risk profile (i.e., age, preexisting condition) are authorized to teach their courses fully online.
  • Face masks are required for students and faculty members during all in-person class meetings, regardless of class size.
  • Course content and design will be evaluated and modified on a course-by-course basis to allow social distancing in all instruction modalities, including projects, field trips, and laboratories.
  • For all large classes (enrollments > 50), lectures will be recorded and made available for students through remote access; face-to-face meetings will be conducted in smaller discussion sections.
  • For large classes, students will be split and rotated between the in-class and online formats in a hybrid model (e.g., half the class attends face-to-face on Tuesday sessions and the other half on Thursday sessions).
  • Irrespective of class size, to the greatest extent possible, Clark will ensure that instruction is recorded so those not present may access content and those present have the opportunity for playback.
  • Clark will expand the use of currently underutilized day and evening time blocks (e.g., 8 a.m.).
  • If needed, Saturdays will be used for instruction, particularly for high-touch classroom activities (e.g., laboratory classes).
  • Individualized instruction (directed or independent studies/readings) and advising sessions are to occur remotely.
  • Additional technological capacities will be available for both current classrooms and other spaces being used for classes (e.g., ability to record classes, the ability to present a digital alternative to chalkboard or whiteboard work).

Safe internship requirements and other academic policies to minimize spread

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

  • Clark will suspend Consortium cross-registration for in-person courses in the fall semester. Cross-registration for online courses is encouraged.
  • Clark will require external organizations offering internships or other off-campus engagement opportunities to provide a workplace safety plan that is broadly similar to Clark’s. Absent such a plan, Clark will suspend nonvirtual or remote internships and community engagement activities with these organizations for the fall semester.
  • Clark will suspend all study abroad and away programs for the fall semester. A decision on study abroad and away for spring 2021 has not been made at this time.
  • Clark is suspending dual enrollment in Clark University courses.
  • Clark is reviewing the necessity of suspending all enrollment of high school students in Clark University courses.

Modifications to specific courses

(Last updated June 20, 2020)

Departments with high-touch instruction — e.g., laboratories in the sciences, arts instruction in V&PA — will significantly redesign their courses to accommodate social distancing requirements. Additional changes will be made to courses that are based on close in-person interaction.

  • Physics will move all labs to online modality for fall 2020.
  • Biology will reduce the amount of time students spend in lab-based instruction, modify courses with significant field trip components by using samples collected by the instructor, and cancel classes that depend on field trips.
  • Chemistry will reduce the amount of time students spend in laboratory-based classes.
  • Geography will redesign classes to allow for remote learning (e.g., with GIS classes) and more individual engagement.
  • Psychology will ensure that faculty/student laboratory-based instruction occurs in spaces large enough to allow for social distancing.
  • V&PA will redesign all “high-touch/activity” classes for appropriate social distancing, including remote teaching of individual music instruction, the cancellation of large choir gatherings, etc.

Residence Hall Health and Safety

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

All efforts will be made to ensure that students residing in on-campus housing can do so safely, comfortably, and with minimal disruption to their routines. To accomplish this, Clark will make modifications to how rooms and common spaces are occupied, and create pathways for student traffic through residence halls.

Occupancy standards and modifications

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

  • 100–200 beds will be removed from undergraduate and graduate housing to create 60–80 spaces for isolation and quarantine.
  • If a larger isolation and quarantine space is determined necessary, Clark will consider other options, including spaces in the city.
  • Based on enrollment projections, Clark will:
    • Determine whether to restrict students within commuting distance from living in campus housing
    • Encourage students to move off campus and let students out of their housing contracts without penalty
    • Increase by at least 20 percent the number of single rooms available to incoming students (these are traditional double rooms occupied by one student).
  • If a triple room loses an occupant, the room will remain a double and only be assigned as a triple if necessary. No “forced tripling” will occur and the few triples allocated for first-year housing will not be used, leaving those rooms as doubles.
  • New students can be placed in smaller “pods” that account for shared interests and other factors (e.g., intended science majors might be grouped because they will share contacts in biology and chemistry courses).

Expectations of students who will live in residence halls

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

  • Students will be required to wear face coverings (masks) whenever they are not in their rooms. A face covering will be provided to any student who does not have one.
  • Students will be expected to participate in social distancing by remaining six feet away from one another outside of their rooms. This will require:
    • Care in passing one another in hallways
    • Creating distance from one another in common areas
    • Keeping all areas clean
    • Refraining from touching roommates’ belongings/surfaces in shared residential rooms
  • Signage, training, and coordinated messaging will communicate protocols and safety measures.
  • Common areas will bear occupancy limit signs. If students violate capacity limits, the common areas will be locked.
  • All resident adviser interactions with students will be done under recommended social distancing policies, and, as much as possible, virtually.
  • Students will be expected to bring a thermometer and cleaning supplies for their rooms. Emergency grant funds will be available for those who cannot afford to purchase these supplies.

Residence hall entrance and exit protocols

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

  • Students will only be permitted to enter the residence hall or house where they have a room assignment. No guests will be allowed, including family members. This restriction holds during move-in times.
  • In large, multi-access residence halls, students will enter the building through the established “Main Entrance.” This entrance will be the only swipe- or key-access entrance for students.
  • In large, multi-access residence halls, students will exit through side doors only, where no entrance is permitted. This will require deactivation of some emergency crash bar alarms.

Lack of compliance

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

Students will be given an opportunity to learn and adapt their behaviors to the established health and safety measures. The University’s conduct protocols will be used to review the behavior of students who blatantly disregard these requirements. Sanctions will escalate in intensity if a student’s behaviors do not change or if a student is disruptive or does not follow campus public-health expectations, including for social-distancing and mask-wearing.

Activities, Athletics and Recreation

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

Clark’s many student clubs and organizations help foster a vibrant social network on campus, recreation activities are essential to keeping our students’ minds and bodies strong, and the University’s athletic teams are an enduring source of school pride. The following protocols are designed to help ensure these valuable activities can continue to operate in a fun and safe way.

Clubs and organizations

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

  • When possible, meetings of clubs and organizations should be virtual. In-person meetings must follow Clark guidelines for social distancing and face coverings.
  • Events will not be open to guests.
  • No activity may exceed 50 people, or the limit of the space as calculated to accommodate social distancing.
  • No food shall be served at events unless it is individually packaged, essential to the purpose of the event, and approved by the Office of Student Leadership and Programming.
  • Rooms must be cleaned after an event, including all objects that have been touched, such as markers, tables, chairs, and other surfaces.
  • Signature events with more than 50 people will not be permitted at this time. Organizers are encouraged to consider digital events or breaking out into multiple smaller groups.

Athletics and recreation

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

  • Protocols will be put in place to allow access to the Bickman Fitness Center, the pool, and other fitness spaces. These protocols will meet all Massachusetts requirements for fitness centers, including for maximum occupancy and sanitation, and increased spacing of equipment.
  • Clark University and the NEWMAC have not at this time made a decision about authorizing fall varsity sports.

Dining

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

Clark is committed to providing a robust variety of dining options while also making use of new seating areas to promote the health and safety of students and employees.

Higgins Dining Hall

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

  • Seating will be reduced from the 360 diners to 160 diners.
  • All diners will receive self-service containers and a disposable cup instead of plates, bowls, etc., whether they plan to eat in the dining hall or elsewhere. All cutlery will be disposable.
  • Only students on meal plans will be allowed to use the dining hall facilities.
  • Traffic flow will be marked out to help with social distancing.
  • The cleaning regimen between meal periods will be enhanced.
  • Contactless technology will be used for meal plan swipes, eliminating students’ time standing in line and eliminating the need for a cashier to touch cards.

Bistro and other dining facilities

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

  • The number of stations at the Bistro will be reduced and traffic flow altered to maximize social distancing.
  • The Bistro will no longer prepare made-to-order meals. Prepackaged meals and grab-and-go items will be offered.
  • Swappable grab-and-go options will be enhanced at Jazzman’s and the Den.
  • Additional dining spaces will be opened in Winton Hall (20 seats), Tilton Hall (150 seats), and the Grind (75 seats).
  • Other options under consideration include:
    • Using the Kneller Athletic Center for buffet-style lunch dining
    • Creating “pop-up” facilities at various locations
    • Using an online ordering system at the Bistro

Meal plan adjustments

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

  • The “All Access” meal plan will be temporarily deactivated.

Building Access and Use

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

Access to and activities in Clark buildings and facilities will be significantly restricted when campus reopens to minimize the chance of COVID-19 transmission.

Entry and activity

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

  • All buildings on campus will shift to card-access only.
  • Employees must wear face coverings outside of their office or when meeting someone in their office.
  • Authorized visitors must follow state-mandated social distancing and face covering guidelines.
  • Employees in shared office locations must wear a face covering. Staggered work schedules are recommended.
  • Group meetings will be held virtually.

Visitors to Clark

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

  • Only authorized visitors will be allowed on campus. These will include job candidate finalists and contractors, who are required to follow the guidelines and protocols outlined on this site.
  • Academic and administrative departments and student organizations will not be allowed to hold any lectures, events, or social activities that include any non-Clark visitors to campus.
  • Guest lecturers many only speak to classes in a virtual format.
  • No outside groups will be allowed to rent and use any of the Clark facilities for the coming year.
  • No visitors from outside the Clark community will be allowed to enter any of Clark’s libraries for in-person services.
  • Prospective students and their families will be allowed to visit with Admissions in a way that limits their contact with members of the Clark community.

Travel Policies

(Last updated June 10, 2020)

  • All international travel on University business remains suspended until further notice.
  • Undergraduate and graduate admissions counselor travel to events, high schools, and college fairs is suspended until further notice.
  • If allowed by state regulation, local and regional advancement travel for one-on-one meetings may take place if approved by the Vice President for Advancement. Travel to events or group meetings is not authorized at this time.
  • Any employee uncomfortable with travel will not be required to do so.
  • All staff who travel on University business, in state or out, must work from home following the travel. Their last visit must have ended two weeks prior to returning to campus.
  • Faculty and student travel for research continues to be suspended until further notice. This includes University-funded, externally funded, and self-funded professional travel to conduct field research, teach, and present or attend professional meetings and conferences.