Miami University officials recently unveiled the school’s return plan, outlining in general how the university will alter its systems to safely accommodate the return of more than 20,000 students to its main and regional campuses in Butler County.
“We expect COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future and are planning accordingly,” said Miami University President Gregory Crawford in a statement released to school students and employees.
“Although no one can guarantee a campus that is free of the virus, we are making several important changes to help reduce the risks. In order to minimize the risk of exposure and infection, we all must remember that the health of each of us depends on the health of all of us,” wrote Crawford.
Classes start Aug. 17.
Back-to-school plans for all Ohio schools largely remain in flux due to the changing circumstances of the coronavirus, state and local health officials monitoring and actions and on-going virus control research on how best to combat the spread of the global pandemic.
But currently, among the school’s still-developing “Healthy Together” plan are requirements for Miami students – including those at Miami’s regional campuses in Hamilton, Middletown and West Chester Township - to wear protective masks when they can’t social distance from others.
“Facial coverings are required indoors in all university buildings and outside when it is difficult to maintain physical distancing, such as while entering and exiting buildings, to promote the health and safety of all members of the university community,” according to the schools plans.
“There may be university-approved exceptions to this requirement, such as when students are in their own residence hall room or when staff or faculty are alone in their office,” said officials.
Classrooms will be adjusted to allow more space between students.
Plans are still being developed that will allow in-person classes – with some remote learning – are still being developed and will be released later this month.
Among other changes, students and employees will assess their health daily and the information will be collected and used should coronavirus contact tracing become necessary if infections are detected.
“Contact tracing will be done in collaboration with the Butler County General Health District. Testing strategies are currently under review. A decision regarding a testing plan will be communicated by mid-July,” said officials.
“Students who have tested positive for COVID-19, are awaiting test results, or have had significant exposure to someone with COVID-19 will need to separate themselves physically until medically cleared.
“The Healthy Together Plan rests upon what we know today. We will continue to monitor the situation every day and adjust and iterate the plan as required. It is flexible enough to respond to the quickly changing landscape,” said Crawford.
To see the back-to-school plan in its current form, go to Miami University’s website.