Auburn University launches ‘A Healthier U’ plan for safe return to campus this fall

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Auburn today released details of A Healthier U, a plan for the return of students, faculty and staff this fall that encourages individual responsibility for the health of the campus community.

A Healthier U promotes the health of our campus while minimizing the risk of transmitting COVID-19,” said Auburn President Jay Gogue. “It’s an all-in approach for the Auburn Family that recognizes we must be unified and fully committed to new safety protocols.”

Academic operations

The plan, developed with input from campus leaders, supports Auburn’s goals of safely facilitating academic, student and institutional operations. The instructional plan includes four options for course delivery. Students and faculty will follow a modified academic calendar that eliminates fall break and ends instruction prior to Thanksgiving, resulting in final exams administered remotely. Health protocols include physical distancing, face covering requirements in university buildings, reduced classroom capacities and limits on large gatherings.

“A dedicated team has worked nonstop the past few months to prepare campus,” said Fred Kam, director of the Auburn University Medical Clinic. “The best Auburn experience is shared when we are together on campus, but we need everyone’s commitment and cooperation to start and finish the school year strong.”

Health and safety guidelines

Additional safety measures include frequent disinfection and cleaning of classrooms, dining spaces, residence halls and high-traffic areas. Dining venues are moving to contactless payment systems, 50 percent seating capacity and new entry and exit procedures.

In an effort to support personal safety efforts, students, faculty and staff will receive wellness kits containing a reusable face covering, hand sanitizer and a digital thermometer. Cleaning supply kits will also be available for students.

Auburn will introduce an app designed to provide health and wellness tracking across campus. Health screening will be enabled through Healthcheck, a feature of the STAY SAFE TOGETHER™ platform. Healthcheck is a COVID-19 assessment tool that allows individuals to report their health status, symptoms and exposure.

Students, faculty and staff are expected to view a brief educational video about campus safety measures and the role each one has in protecting the health of others. Students and employees are required to acknowledge they have viewed the video and read safety reminders prior to returning to campus or as soon as possible for those who have already returned.

Gov. Kay Ivey is making federal funds available for COVID-19 virus screening at colleges and universities in the state. Auburn officials are considering if testing will be required and will provide more information as it becomes available.

Commitment is contagious

The A Healthier U plan encourages the campus community to rally around the slogan, “commitment is contagious.” Online resources, campus signage, social media posts and more provide reminders about the measures Auburn is taking to enhance safety and the simple, practical steps everyone should take to help stem the spread of COVID-19.

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Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.