Masks are mandatory, social distancing guidelines are in place and health and safety standards are being employed across the campus of Elizabeth City State University in preparation for a return to campus amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The health, safety, and wellbeing of students, faculty and staff are, said Chancellor Karrie G. Dixon, the university’s number one priority.
“To ensure that the campus community is prepared, every ECSU student will receive a welcome kit. This kit will contain three face masks, a thermometer, hand sanitizer, and hand sanitizing wipes,” said Chancellor Dixon. “All faculty and staff will receive two face masks to assist them in adhering to the guidelines. Some employees, based on the nature of their work, also will receive additional personal protective equipment as needed.”
Student move-in day will begin Wednesday, Aug. 5, and plans are in place to ensure the safety of students as they settle into their residential halls. According to Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Gary Brown, students have been asked to make appointments for move-in to avoid crowds, and they are allowed two family members to assist them.
“Students should expect to see a welcoming presence of faculty and staff who have worked diligently to ensure that the campus environment is prepared for their return,” said Mr. Brown. “They’ll notice a great amount of signage that is meant to ensure the expectation for maintaining a safe environment on campus is met.”
Mr. Brown said the signs explain all of the guidelines for students, faculty and staff:
- Wearing masks on campus and in all campus facilities is mandatory;
- Students must sit at appropriate distances no matter what the location;
- There will be maximum occupancy signs for every location.
“Students may notice that there are less furnishings in places where they have generally seen plenty,” said Mr. Brown. “Classrooms have fewer chairs, and there are fewer places to sit in the grill and cafeteria on campus.”
Students will maintain social distance guidelines in the campus cafeteria. Per state guidelines for food service establishments, the maximum capacity for the cafeteria will be maintained at 50 percent.
Students, said Mr. Brown, will also see plexiglass partitions in locations that have been reserved for face-to-face interaction. Those include classrooms and student service areas.
“So, the campus will look quite different with all of the modifications that are meant to ensure the safest possible environment,” he said.
Another means being employed to ensure safety during the pandemic will be to provide virtual opportunities to interact with faculty and staff. Many meetings and appointments will be conducted using Zoom or other virtual communication software, said Mr. Brown.
“The Vikings Engage app will be utilized as a means for students to garner real-time information about campus activities and services,” he said. “The app even provides the capability to schedule appointments with university offices.”
Each day, before leaving their residential halls, students will be required to take their temperatures with thermometers provided in their kits. Mr. Brown says the Vikings Engage app will also allow them to answer pre-screening health questions.
According to Chancellor Dixon, there are five primary guidelines for the entire campus community to follow in an effort to maintain a safe environment:
- Wearing face masks or face coverings is required by all faculty, staff, students and visitors when on the ECSU campus. There are only two exceptions:
- Employees when they are in their private offices;
- Students when they are in their residence hall rooms.
2) Individuals must practice social distancing when in line at the cafeteria or bookstore, in classrooms or labs, in meetings, and at events.
3) Visitors or guests will not be allowed in the residence halls.
4) Individuals will be required to monitor for symptoms and do a self-health check each morning before coming to campus or leaving their residence hall rooms. They should be checking their temperature and making sure they do not have any other coronavirus symptoms.
5) If any students have tested positive, have symptoms of the virus, or been exposed to someone that has tested positive, they need to quarantine and report that immediately by calling the Student Health Center. If faculty or staff have tested positive, have symptoms of the virus, or been exposed to someone that has tested positive, they need to quarantine and report that immediately to Paula Gassaway in Human Resources.
The ECSU campus community can refer to the Viking Compass webpage for updates.