Stony Brook University released a facilities reopening plan on June 8, outlining the guidelines for the return to on-campus interactions for the fall 2020 semester.
This document was released after a June 4 email by President-Elect Maurie McInnis revealed the initial decisions regarding on-campus learning, including the mandatory wearing of face coverings and that traditional large scale lectures will be held online.
The plan follows the guidance of New York State and State University of New York Administration guidelines and aims to protect the health and safety of returning students and workers while creating a “transparent” process for a phased return, according to the document.
To safeguard people on campus from possible COVID-19 contraction, the campus will be following guidelines in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). These safeguards include reducing the density of shared workspaces, keeping people six feet apart when possible, and ensuring Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and sanitational equipment are in abundance, according to the document.
Regular cleanings will continue, with an emphasis on high traffic areas and surfaces that are commonly touched like building entrances, bathrooms and handrails. Hand sanitizing stations will be installed in high traffic areas and near building entrances and exits. Some buildings will have designated exits and entrances in order to increase the space between people on campus.
The university will also be enforcing social distancing by reducing seating capacity in buildings. Most notably, classrooms will cut their occupancy by approximately 55%, computer lab space by about 50% and lecture halls by a range of 78%-82%, according to the document.
Heavily populated student-centered areas like dining halls, fitness centers and lounges may be restricted for use because of the established guidelines, prompting either additional hours to accommodate student needs or the temporary closure of these areas.
Recital halls and performance areas will see a cut in their seating as well, with the most significant cut being to the Staller Center for the Arts’ main theater, which will go from 1133 seats to 84.
Buses on campus will see a 75% decrease in their occupancy, allowing only 10 passengers at a time. Drivers and passengers will be required to wear face masks. Buses and bus shelters will be disinfected daily.
Certain underutilized parking lots are also being considered for temporary commuter use to reduce bus usage.
To control the spread of COVID-19 in the air, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems will remain consistently operational throughout the semester. These systems, as well as water lines, will be flushed and cleaned before campus life resumes.
Campus Residences will be responsible for most of the guidelines in residence halls with a plan that will adhere to density reductions similar to the facilities reopening plan.
Areas with a person who is suspected or confirmed to have had COVID-19 will be cleaned 24 hours after the individual has left the area following NYSDOH and CDC guidelines by staff wearing PPE.
Along with the changes to facilities, Stony Brook University started updating the Fall 2020 semester’s class schedule on June 22. These changes will be completed no later than July 10, according to the SOLAR website.
Niki Nassiri and Claudia Motley contributed reporting.