The fall 2020 term presents a new challenge for students returning to campus: safety in the face of COVID-19.
Although many of the day-to-day practices that will help to keep you healthy are up to you, we are also hard at work preparing for your return by making sure the chapter houses themselves are healthy environments. Prior to your return, you will need to have a fully signed housing agreement on file with us. If you have not already signed a housing agreement, please click here to start the process.
Below are some of the things we are doing over the summer to prepare for the fall.
Our primary task each summer is to repair damage and clean houses so that they are ready for fall move-in. This summer we have allocated the majority of our efforts and resources toward cleaning and disinfecting the house. We have reviewed CDC guidelines for cleaning hospital common areas as well as dormitories and multiple occupancy dwellings in order to specify a scope of work for these cleanings.
We are working with our vendors to make improvements to each house that focus on health. We are installing hand sanitizer stations around the house to make it easier to frequently clean your hands. Foot-operated door pulls will be installed on many frequently used doors within the house enabling you to open them without touching the handles. We will also be adding signage throughout the house to remind everyone of best practices.
Over the summer, each house manager will work with the Esponda staff to develop cleaning protocols for your chapter that are reasonable given the current health situation. These must comply with CDC standards but can involve chapter cleaning schedules, outside services, or a combination thereof. The house managers will inform chapters of these plans prior to the start of the semester and all members will be expected to participate.
When you arrive at the house, each house manager will find an assortment of cleaning supplies that can help you keep the house sanitized during move-in and until your house manager is able to acquire supplies. Chapters and their members are still responsible for cleanliness during the course of the semester though and staff and volunteers will help you to verify that the cleaning protocols are being followed.
If your house has a meal plan, things will be operating a little bit differently than you may be used to. There will be no self-serve buffets or salad bars. Instead, all food will be plated. We encourage your house manager or steward to promote social distancing by creating a meal schedule for your dining room or moving tables around to create eating spaces in other rooms or outside while the weather is nice.
Move-in is still a few months away and some best practices may change between now and then. At this time, it seems unlikely that large events will be possible without proper social distancing protocols. We will be working with chapter leaders to set expectations of compliance with CDC recommendations. It is unlikely that your chapter will be able to host meetings, social events, philanthropic events, or brotherhood events at the house. We still do not fully know what the fall will look like so now is a good time to explore some options and be proactive. As we get closer to move-in, we will release more up-to-date guidance.
Being back on campus does not mean the threat of COVID-19 has disappeared or diminished, but at this time it seems that the risk is manageable. As always, your personal practices are what will have the greatest impact on your personal health.
We know that this may be information overload, but we want you to know that everyone is working toward safely operating this year. We will continuously be working with your Chapter leadership and we will continue to communicate with you.
If you have any questions or would like more information pertaining to a specific topic or event, please don’t hesitate to ask.