West Lafayette, Ind. — Purdue University has announced plans to accept students on-campus in typical numbers for the upcoming fall semester. The university is considering new policies and practices to keep the younger student population separated from older faculty members or members of the population with underlying health conditions.
“Purdue University intends to accept students on campus in typical numbers this fall, sober about the certain problems that the COVID-19 virus represents, but determined not to surrender helplessly to those difficulties but to tackle and manage them aggressively and creatively,” says Mitchell Daniels Jr., president of Purdue University.
New safety measures under consideration include spreading out classes across days and times to reduce size; use of online instruction for on-campus students; virtual lab work; requiring vulnerable members of the Purdue community to work remotely; and pre-testing students and staff prior to arrival in August for both infection and post-infection immunity through antibodies. Anyone — be it student or faculty — showing symptoms will be tested promptly and quarantined, if positive, in a space set aside for that purpose.
“Whatever its eventual components, a return-to-operations strategy is undergirded by a fundamental conviction that even a phenomenon as menacing as COVID-19 is one of the inevitable risks of life,” continues Mitchell. “Like most sudden and alarming developments, its dangers are graphic, expressed in tragic individual cases, and immediate; the costs of addressing it are less visible, more diffuse and longer-term. It is a huge and daunting problem, but the Purdue way has always been to tackle problems, not hide from them.”