Campbell ‘very prepared’ to reopen for fall, says national assessment

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Campbell University has prepared well for the return of students, faculty and staff to on-campus instruction this fall, according to the results of an assessment developed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The evaluation, specifically designed for colleges and universities reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, gauges 11 aspects of university planning, from policies and procedures to resident halls and dining services to cleaning and sanitation.

Campbell University, according to Vice President for Student Life Dennis Bazemore, scored a 91 out of 100 on the assessment — falling into the top category indicating Campbell is “Very Prepared to Mitigate COVID-19 Impacts.”

Bazemore also heads Campbell University’s Fall Task Force, which has met multiple times each week since the campus went completely to remote learning last March.

The Task Force, along with several subgroups, have pored over all aspects of reopening the university as safely as possible, according to Wesley Rich, associate dean for health sciences and an associate professor of public health.

Campbell’s decision to provide students, who were awarded on-campus housing, with private accommodations in residence halls was “paramount” and weighed heavily on the university’s high score, according to Rich.

“Our flexibility in academics, our learning spaces that have been revised and set up for social distancing, our ability to pivot to remote instruction in case of another outbreak … Campbell did really well in these areas,” Rich said.

Rich called Campbell’s ability to conduct contact tracing should positive tests arise “rock solid.”

He also touted Campbell’s health science programs for the expertise they’ve provided during the pandemic. Campbell’s health clinic has the ability to do COVID-19 tests on campus, and the university has plans in place to quarantine students — as well as a depopulation plan — should an outbreak occur.

“Utilizing best practices as recommended by the CDC, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, as well as our local partners Harnett Health and the Harnett County Health Department, Campbell University stands ready to face the challenges of the new academic year,” Rich added.

The 11 categories reviewed in the assessment include:

  • Policies and procedures
  • Connections to public health entities
  • Communications
  • Public health and safety measures
  • Academics
  • Residencies/housing/dining/food services
  • Athletic activities
  • Specialized programs/enrichment activities
  • Assemblies, group meetings/religious services
  • Cleaning and sanitation
  • Travel and transportation

In addition to these preparedness plans, which can be viewed on the Campbell Ready webpage, the university task force has identified key metrics that will be tracked throughout the fall using real-time data on a secure dashboard to inform decision making. These metrics include elements such as local case-incidence data, campus case-incidence data, testing availability, cleaning and sanitation supplies, availability of masks and personal protective equipment, facilities available for quarantine, contact tracing, on-campus and off-campus exposure, and much more.

This type of data, tracked in an accurate and timely manner will allow Campbell University to be swift and nimble in its response, relying on a continuum of public health strategies, according to a CU release.

Campbell University’s fall semester preparedness plan can be viewed online here.

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