By Nicholas Bainbridge
In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, High Point University has implemented a wide array of policies to prevent the disease from proliferating amongst the students and staff of the college. Many of the changes to campus are immediately noticeable, such as the requirement that people wear masks when in proximity to others; however, the measures go far beyond this.
HPU’s Health and Safety Task Force oversees these changes and determines whether or not a policy should be implemented. The task force has been routinely cleaning campus, cleaning classrooms and facilities.
Cleaning classrooms regularly is only one aspect of HPU’s COVID-19 prevention measures. Another observable change is the rework of dining to minimize the chance of food being contaminated. HPU cleaning teams also work to sanitize tables in dining areas shortly after students leave.
The Campus Chronicle reached out to Dr. Erb to speak on the various methods HPU is using to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“Contact tracing is conducted for any one considered a close contact, meaning they have been within six feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes,” said Erb.
HPU is using this method of contact tracing to identify high-risk students. Should someone be found to have been in close contact with an infected person for a sufficient length of time, they will be relocated to a quarantine facility for 14 days..
Air quality is also a concern for HPU, and Dr. Erb informed the Chronicle that the HVAC systems around the campus have been upgraded to ensure higher levels of air filtration.
The Student Health Center has been relocated to the former Christ United Methodist Church, now called University Commons.. It is three times the size of the previous Student Health Center and features well and sick entrances.
Multiple organizations have cancelled several meetings, under guidelines from the university, and the Student Government Association is no exception.
“For the SGA, we have put a halt on all meetings of over 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors for the first 30 days of school, regardless of meeting-space size,” said Erb. “After this time, we will revisit the issue to determine if it is safe for our organizations to be able to hold larger meetings, as long as the location allows for ample meeting space.”
Students that test positive for COVID-19 are required to leave campus and go into a quarantine area, provided and maintained by the university. Some ill students have been taken to hotel rooms off campus and are keeping up with their courses online.
Erb explained that HPU is monitoring the pandemic to determine when it will be safe to pull back on some of its health and safety measures, but there is still a high level of uncertainty about the timeline.
“There is no specific date or time that we can return to normal,” said Erb. “We are taking this day by day. This is an incredibly fluid time with things changing every day.”
Erb expressed that these measures, if properly followed, will help keep students and staff healthy.
“We are very confident in these methods,” said Erb. “HPU is prepared for whatever comes its way. We are also confident our students will rise to the occasion and take on this responsibility of following these rules and being an example to those students who may not.”
More information on the details of the health and safety measures can be found at www.highpoint.edu/coronavirus.