By Hannah Lester
Auburn University is preparing for the return of students this fall and how best to protect the campus when they do.
The school announced Thursday in a university press release that all students will be required to complete a coronavirus test 14 days before returning to campus.
“Testing students gives us a more complete picture of the health of our campus, which will in turn help us preserve the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff,” said Auburn President Jay Gogue. “The data collected will inform health strategies in our community and give our state’s public health officials information to help effectively combat the virus.”
The announcement followed Gov. Kay Ivey’s press release and mask ordinance. Residents in the state of Alabama are now required to wear masks in public when with members outside of their household or where social distancing cannot be enforced.
There are exceptions outlined in the ordinance, such as health conditions, when exercising or when dining.
Students can be tested anywhere, but the Beard-Eaves Coliseum will be available on Auburn’s campus for testing.
“In addition to required student reentry testing, voluntary random COVID-19 testing will be conducted weekly for Auburn students, faculty and staff, enabling local and state public health officials to identify ongoing campus and community trends and target potential problem scenarios,” the release said.
The University created its ‘A Healthier U’ on July 9, which outlines the school’s plans for classes, cleaning, wellness kits and a coronavirus tracking app.
“A Healthier U promotes the health of our campus while minimizing the risk of transmitting COVID-19,” Gogue said. “It’s an all-in approach for the Auburn Family that recognizes we must be unified and fully committed to new safety protocols.”
Students and faculty will be required to wear face coverings and social distance, the program outlines. Additionally, the classroom sizes will be reduced and the academic calendar will end sooner in the year.
To accomplish this, fall break will be eliminated.
“A dedicated team has worked nonstop the past few months to prepare campus,” said Fred Kam, director of the Auburn University Medical Clinic. “The best Auburn experience is shared when we are together on campus, but we need everyone’s commitment and cooperation to start and finish the school year strong.”
Dining venues will also have limited capacity.
Students and faculty will receive wellness kits that will have a face mask, hand sanitizer and a thermometer. Cleaning kits will be available to students who request them, the program said.
Finally, a coronavirus tracking app, Healthcheck, will be used to asses symptoms, exposure and more in students and faculty.