Central Methodist University is just days away from students moving in for the fall semester, and the safety measures implemented on campus may be among the most comprehensive nationwide.
At the center of Central’s efforts is extensive cleaning. CMU has added a third shift cleaning crew and will rely heavily on the use of a Protexus electrostatic spray gun for widespread sanitization.
Cleaning, however, is just one part of a six-point plan that includes COVID-19 testing for all students and employees, a face covering policy, facial recognition pulse and temperature monitoring, COVID-killing ionization machines on buildings, and distancing that includes additional class sections and classroom technology for remote learning.
“We’re doing everything we can for our students and our community,” said President Roger Drake, who praised the advice he received from his board of trustees’ pandemic response committee.
Central purchased an antigen testing machine, and COVID-19 testing started in earnest this summer with employee testing. Two positive tests have been recorded thus far, and both employees have recovered. Drake stressed that all students will be tested prior to the start of school, and some may be tested multiple times.
Simultaneously, CMU implemented a face covering policy over the summer requiring students, employees, and guests to wear face coverings indoors. Students will be provided two masks from the university.
The University is in the process of installing multiple facial recognition stations to monitor health, and the devices will work in conjunction with an app that the University will purchase. The app will monitor respiration, pulse, and temperature, and will work in conjunction with the facial recognition devices across campus.
Planning efforts to achieve better distancing began in the spring, Drake said, and changes are significant in student dining, where Central has added a dining area and other “grab and go” stations. In the classroom, Central has added additional sections of courses to reduce class sizes, and added technology in each classroom to allow for in-seat and online learning simultaneously.
A final and significant piece to Central’s safety efforts includes the purchase of several ionization air cleaning devices for buildings. Drake said much discussion has occurred surrounding air recirculation in buildings, and Global Plasma Solutions ionization air purifiers achieve a 99.4 percent reduction of COVID-19 in just 30 minutes of use.
“I can’t guarantee we’ll be COVID-free,” Drake said. “But I can guarantee that our efforts to protect the health of our CMU community are absolutely the best we can produce.
“I think that is what families expect of us,” Drake said. “Along with providing a top-notch educational experience that positions our students well for employment and for life.”
For coronavirus updates at Central Methodist University, go to centralmethodist.edu and click the red bar at the top of the page.
Roger D. Drake,
Central Methodist University