Protocol update: What campus will look like when students return

Gonzaga is offering a combination of in-person and online classes for the fall.

As Gonzaga prepares to reopen for the fall semester, university administrators have implemented key guidelines to contain the spread of COVID-19, meaning this semester will look very different from those before.

On July 31, GU President Thayne McCulloh sent an email to undergraduate students and families containing a 48-page document detailing the university’s plan for reopening.

In response to COVID-19, GU created the Pandemic Response Task Force, led by Charlita Shelton, to develop the necessary protocols to reopen in the fall.

“President McCulloh was very intentional about having as many individuals as possible from the community involved with the task force,” Shelton said.

The task force is comprised of over 100 students, faculty, staff and administrators who have been working closely with the Spokane Regional Health District.

Mary Joan Hahn, director of community and public relations, said the situation is ever changing and plans may be updated, but regardless, the year will certainly look and feel different.

“This is not business as usual,” Hahn said via email. “Many restrictions and limitations will need to be observed by everyone in order to create as safe of an environment as possible.”

Here is what you need to know about current safety protocols and campus guidelines before the first day of class.

Returning to Campus

Upon arriving in Spokane, GU asks students to quarantine at home for at least seven days before coming to campus. The arrival guide states this preemptive step is crucial in mitigating exposure on campus.

Each student will receive two cloth face masks, which can be picked up during the first week of class. Face masks must be worn at all times when on campus or in the community.

According to the arrival guide, students must utilize a self-screening mobile app using their GU credentials to monitor symptoms and possible exposure to COVID-19. Students are required to complete daily self-certifications before arriving on campus.

Academic Instruction

All courses, including hybrid and in-person models, will be offered in a remote option, allowing students to pursue their instruction virtually.

“As a mid-size, private university, we have the ability to offer flexibility to our students and families, so they can make their own decisions regarding the best academic model and their personal preference for living arrangements for the coming year,” Hahn said via email.

Following Thanksgiving break, all courses will be delivered online.

Housing and Residence Life

GU’s strategy regarding on-campus housing involves changing many factors of typical residence life to minimize close contacts with students. These efforts include using a phased move-in schedule and closing common areas, for example.

On-campus living requirements for first and second-year students have also been suspended, but the option will remain available.

Dining and Facilities

The COG will offer both dine-in and takeout options with an emphasis on grab-and-go meals. Dine-in seating will be limited to allow for physical distancing.

Simple serving and vegan options will be available at 1887 at Cataldo, which will expand seating into the Globe Room.

Other facilities such as Hemmingson, the Zag Shop and the Kermit M. Rudolf Fitness Center will have modified operations with traffic flow control and physical distancing in mind.

Efforts to meet these requirements include access-controlled buildings, requiring a GU ID card for entry, visitor sign-ins and signage indicating traffic flow directions.

Hours of operation and capacity will be limited at the Rudolf Fitness Center, requiring appointments for use through a reservation system.

Campus Events

Under Washington’s current state guidelines, large gatherings are prohibited, meaning campus events such as Mass of the Holy Spirit and Fall Family Weekend will occur in a virtual or hybrid manner.

While decisions regarding NCAA seasons are still being evaluated, spectators are currently prohibited from attending athletic events.

As the year progresses the Pandemic Response Task Force will become the COVID-19 Compliance Task Force, which will ensure the university follows Washington’s four phase approach as well as GU’s own protocols.

“A global pandemic is not a spectator sport – we are completely dependent on each other now, and each of us has to be vigilant in our behaviors and actions to help keep everyone safe,” Hahn said via email.

Devan Iyomasa is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter: @devaniyomasa

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