American Institute West Hartford COVID-19 ReopeningTO: All students, staff, and visitors to our West Hartford, CT campus
We are all deeply impacted by the worldwide pandemic known as COVID-19. Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones as a result of this virus, and we remain committed to the health and well-being of all our AI family as we determine how best to re-open our campus and make in-person instruction available again to our students. COVID-19 is highly contagious and is still a novel virus that we continue to learn about. As a result, our local health and government officials have provided guidelines and recommendations to help keep us safe as we work toward a vaccine and/or better management of our healthcare resources.
To that end, as we prepare to re-open for in-person instruction beginning June 22, 2020, we have determined to address three key areas of potential concern: 1) how to effectively continue social distancing where appropriate, 2) protective measures we can implement to reinforce best practices to avoid disease spread, and 3) facility adjustments that will support these first two initiatives. Below are details of each of these three areas and while this represents an extensive list of actions it is not intended to be exclusive of any additional actions deemed required as we continue to evaluate and adjust to the dynamic nature of this health crisis.
We are providers of adult career education – and we expect that, as responsible adults, each member of our campus community will take appropriate measures to mitigate their individual risk as well as to protect those around them to the fullest extent possible. Any individual who demonstrates a disregard for, or willful non-compliance with, the below efforts to protect our campus community to the best of our ability will be asked to leave the facility immediately.
The Director of Education, Kim Colbert, has been designated as our COVID-19 campus administrator (COVID-19 Czar) and will be coordinating with local health and government officials to ensure we are proactively taking all measures necessary to ensure the safety of our AI Family on campus. Additionally, a ‘COVID-19 Deputy’ will be hired to assist her in overseeing and implementing the following plans to ensure we have enough support for this important effort.
Individual program schedules and details by program cohort were posted by instructors in our online learning management system, Canvas, prior to the start of in-person instruction classes.
- All staff, students, and faculty will participate in training on basic prevention measures and proper face mask use to help prevent the spread of COVID-19
- All who come to the campus will be required to complete a daily health check-in, which includes a non-contact temperature screening and symptom check; anyone who displays symptoms common to COVID-19 will not be allowed on campus and referred to CDC guidelines to self-monitor and/or get tested and/or care as appropriate
- All individuals able to comply with the CDC recommendation of wearing a face mask will be required to do so while on campus (exceptions must be approved prior to coming to campus without a mask); visitors who come to campus unprepared with their own cloth face covering will be provided a disposable mask upon check-in to wear throughout their visit
- To reinforce social distancing protocols:
- We will schedule each program cohort for a limited number of people arriving/leaving at the same time of day and on different days of the week, with no more than 10 students per session in any one classroom, with Weds and Sat and Fri evening reserved for make-up hours for March-May modules
- Particularly in the beginning/end of sessions, we will have the doors and hallways monitored to limit people in the hallway, staggering those entering/exiting the building with a staff member providing a gateway control point at the appropriate doorways
- Markers have been placed in hallways and classrooms to give visual cues for people to maintain 6 feet distance on campus in shared areas, and will be made one-way as needed to ensure easy entrance/exit from the building while maintaining 6′ distance
- We will encourage the use of stairs as the primary method of navigation through prominent signage, and implement limits of no more than 2 people in the elevator at any time unless they live in the same household already, which will have the added benefit of increasing health while social distancing; stairways will further be designated as one-way with one set used for entering and one for exiting to prevent passing individuals less than 6′ while in the stairwell
- The staff conference room will be limited to no more than 2 people at any one time and must maintain 6’ distance within the room
- Protective measures to prevent disease spread among our community:
- Reminder signs from the CDC have been placed both at entrance areas and around campus to keep best practices top of mind while on campus
- Hand sanitizing stations are installed and clearly labeled throughout campus as a back-up to handwashing protocols
- At the beginning and end of each in-person lab session, students and instructors will sanitize their classroom and surroundings as part of our ongoing infectious disease control training and reinforcement
- Each staff member’s desk and in each shared area (e.g. reception, kitchen, conf room); all areas, doorknobs, desks, etc. will be wiped down between each student’s/person’s visit with a disinfectant spray or wipe
- Disinfecting supplies will be maintained at the front desk for ‘on demand’ sanitizing needs in addition to the enhanced cleaning and disinfecting provided by our cleaning staff, including frequent sanitizing of the elevator buttons
- Individuals who have a suspected or confirmed positive COVID-19 illness will: A)Be excluded from all on-campus activity for at least 14 days and until: 1)At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and, 2)At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared; and B)Self-monitor for symptoms and seek immediate re-evaluation if symptoms recur or worsen
- In the event of a suspected or confirmed case among our AI Family, we will close off areas visited by the person and ventilate the area for at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting as directed by the CDC’s guidelines before reopening that area of the campus for use
- Facility adjustments:
- Hands-free door openers are installed on all push/pull doors, including the main building entrances and restroom doors to limit the need to touch door handles
- High-touch areas like microwaves, water stations, and vending machines have been temporarily disabled to limit the possibility of disease spread on campus
- Tables and chairs are placed such that they are each positioned at least 6′ from one another in the space provided
- Tables and chairs have been removed from student lounge such that they are each positioned at least 6’ from one another in the space provided and users of that space will be encouraged to sanitize and disinfect before and after use
- Waiting area seating is limited to 1 person per 6′ area (e.g. reception area)
- Acrylic freestanding desk guards are provided for all campus staff who meet with students in their office for counseling and/or assistance as well as at reception
- Enhanced cleaning schedules will be maintained with a focus on high-touch surfaces such as door handles and phones
- The COVID-19 Czar and/or Deputy will provide entrance/egress support to individuals at peak times to ensure social distancing protocols are followed, especially at the beginning/end of classes
- Additional equipment and supplies will be secured to ensure students and instructors can adequately practice appropriate social distancing within the lab classroom setting
- Weather permitting, main entrance doors will be propped open to allow non-contact entrance/exit from building
- Any violations observed that put our campus community at risk for disease spread should be reported to our hotline at 877-399-2920 and will be addressed immediately