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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn University releases reopening plan for fall

Signs like this remind students, faculty and staff that face masks and social distancing are required in certain parts of the campus.
Signs like this remind students, faculty and staff that face masks and social distancing are required in certain parts of the campus.

Auburn University has released their complete plan for students, faculty and staff who will be back on campus this fall. 

The plan, which is called "A Healthier U," includes apps for students to self-report their symptoms, mask guidelines for University buildings, changes in instruction methods and many other modifications. 

"The 2020–2021 academic year will be unlike any other in Auburn University's history," the plan states. "Students and faculty are expected to take responsibility for their health and safety as well as the health and safety of those around them as they engage in academic instruction."

The first major changes listed on the page are the modifications to the fall schedule.  

In short, on-campus classes will end before Thanksgiving, with virtual exams being given during the first and second weeks of December. The time lost to this change will be made up, in part, by not having a fall break. 

The next large change announced by the University is called the Stay Safe Together Platform. 

In essence, it is a pair of apps which students, faculty and staff will use to self-report symptoms and participate in contact tracing. 

The first app, Healthcheck, is a COVID-19 assessment tool where users self report their symptoms. Students will be required to complete the screening every day before they come to campus. 

Based on their symptoms, Healthcheck will give students either a green or red screen. The green screen will serve as a "pass," which will allow them to move freely throughout campus. A red screen will indicate that a student should not be on campus. 

The second app, which will allow for contact tracing between students who have tested positive for the virus, will not be required, but it is being "strongly encouraged."

Individuals who use the app will be able to self-report a positive COVID-19 test. Then anyone who came in contact with that individual will receive a notification telling them that they have been exposed to the virus. 

According to the University, all of the information collected by these apps will be stored on servers compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. 

"The information collected will be held anonymously, and there are no identifying values that can link the information to the participant," the site states. 

The next changes announced in the plan were a series of instruction options for faculty. 

As previously reported, the University is allowing faculty to choose between four main modes of instruction. These include traditional options like face-to-face and online learning, but they also include blended courses and HyFlex courses. 

Blended and HyFlex courses will combine elements of face-to-face learning and online instruction. 

Because of the previously mentioned apps, it is likely that many students will not be able to attend classes on campus as regularly as they would in a normal semester. In response, all classes being taught this semester, regardless of their method of delivery, will be recorded and made available online. 

The next major changes announced by the University deal with face coverings, social distancing and other health-related guidelines to be follow on campus generally and in classrooms specifically. 

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First, masks will be required in all University buildings, including classrooms and labs. 

Social distancing will be required in all academic spaces including classrooms, hallways, elevators and restrooms. 

Classrooms will only be allowed to be at 50% capacity to allow for social distancing, and students will be encouraged to leave an empty desk between them. 

The University also said that cleaning and personal hygiene supplies like hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes will available in classrooms for students and faculty. 

Finally, all faculty are being required to create contingency plans in case a student or instructor is not able to attend on a given day. 

Students will still be required to complete any missed work, but all COVID-19 related absences will be counted as excused. 

In the event that an instructor cannot attend class, they are being asked to designate backup instructors to take their place. 

All classes will also have a "Syllabus B," which will detail how the course will continue "in case a sudden resurgence of the COVID-19 virus requires the University to return to remote-only instruction."

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