With Western New York beginning the reopening process, Daemen College President Gary Olson has announced that preparations to reopen its Amherst campus are moving ahead with great caution to ensure the health and safety of the college community and in compliance with all state and federal guidelines and regulations.
“While it is positive news for all of us that our region is reopening, we are tempering that excitement as transitioning back to a bustling campus must be done with an abundance of caution and a great deal of planning and care,” said Olson. “As we look forward to safely returning to on-campus classes in the fall, our Emergency Response Team has been diligently working on specific policies and procedures designed to keep our campus community safe and welcomed.”
Daemen’s Emergence Response Team (ERT), led by Dr. Greg Nayor, vice president for strategic initiatives, is using several guiding principles to coordinate a comprehensive reopening plan.
“In addition to complying with federal, state, and local guidance, as well as recommendations from public health professionals, Daemen’s ERT is prioritizing the health and well-being of community members while ensuring that we are able to provide students the positive community that is at the heart of the Daemen experience,” said Nayor.
Recognizing that Daemen will need to be flexible and nimble as the planning process unfolds, return to campus operations will require several measures and safeguards to protect the well-being of students, faculty, and staff, including:
- A phased-in approach in 25 percent increments for faculty and staff returning to campus in similar increments to how the college transitioned to an online learning model.
- Prior to returning to work, a process in which clearance will be provided based on a combination of screening, testing, and mandatory PPE that will be issued by Daemen.
- Once at work, access to a daily tool for individuals to report health concerns that will allow the college to be proactive in intervention.
- Policies and protocols for staff, faculty, and students for wearing protective equipment and keeping physical distance while creating a campus environment where people feel safe.
- Enhanced cleaning and sterilization of rooms and equipment, including the regular use of new electrostatic sanitization equipment. Additional cleaning equipment will be provided for each office so that they may take care of their own sanitation of their frontline space in between college cleaning.
- Standard campus-wide-signage, floor markers, and barriers to assist with creating distance while not creating an unwelcomed or unsafe atmosphere.
- Density controlling measures for classrooms, non-academic spaces, and dining facilities to keep physical distance between individuals.
A number of other safety measures and guidelines are being developed for when Daemen employees currently working from home will return to campus. A text line is also being created for faculty and staff to use for COVID-19 related questions.
As the WNY region proceeds through New York State’s reopening phases, Daemen will continue its detailed planning for the phased return of the college community.
“As a campus community, we have been through a lot together and we are doing what is necessary for the utmost safety of everyone as we introduce people back on campus,” said Olson. “While we are still maintaining the status quo until we reopen, we are adapting to this new challenge with the goal of safely bringing back our faculty, staff, and students to campus and providing the highest quality educational experience in a healthy and safe setting.”
You can read President Olson’s letter to the Amherst campus on the college’s COVID-19 website. Additional information on procedures for reopening will be shared with the Daemen community in the coming weeks.