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University Prepares for Post-Pandemic Student Return
March 8, 2021 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
The nation’s colleges and universities continue to grapple with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the most difficult challenges that facilities managers face is adapting classrooms, lecture halls, research laboratories and offices for use by students and faculty practicing social distancing. Each institution is implementing its own upgrades based on its situation, and many are mixing and matching tactics to ensure the safety of returning occupants.
Consider Chico State University (CSU), where officials say that while it isn't possible for students to return to campus full-time this fall, the campus is preparing a range of spaces to ensure some students can safely return to campus, according to KRCR. About 130 classrooms have been converted into HyFlex spaces, where a portion of a class physically sits with a professor in a classroom while a camera with tracking capabilities livestreams the lecture to the other portion of the class virtually following along offsite.
Mike Guzzi, director of the university’s emergency operations center, says the campus has explored all options within its reach and continues to do so as transmission rates of COVID-19 decrease in the county. He adds that the university has explored the possibility of moving some virtual classes outdoors, which likely would require tents to be erected across campus.
Dan Hounsell is editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions.