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BW Health Advisory Committee at forefront of safe return to campus

photo of BW Strosacker with Aug. 24 copy overlaidWith an August 24 start for classes and a pinpoint focus on maintaining the safety of the BW community while providing a quality campus learning and living experience, the Baldwin Wallace health advisory committee is laying the foundation for a safe and successful return to campus.

"Baldwin Wallace University's policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic are rooted in safety for students, faculty and staff," emphasized BW President Bob Helmer. "Protecting the health of the BW community will require long-term effort and commitment, cooperation and understanding.

"We assembled a team of leaders from across campus and external experts to help us put together a comprehensive plan that will enable us to adapt every facet of our life together on campus," said Helmer. "This team is led by Dr. Trina Dobberstein, vice president emeriti of student affairs, and includes advisors from the Cleveland Clinic and Southwest General Health Center."

Connecting to BW's Strong Network of Medical Experts

"Determining protocol and best practices to enable BW to safely re-open is central to our mission," explained Dobberstein. "The health advisory committee meets weekly to review, discuss and make recommendations to the BW President's Cabinet. Guiding us are protocols and best practices issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and county health departments, Responsible Restart Ohio and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine's office.

"Staying current with the evolving mandates and recommendations issued by the government and health care professionals is an ongoing and even challenging task that makes the work of the health advisory committee so important to the University," said Dobberstein. "BW is relying on a strong network of medical centers and experts to stay up to date on data, protocol and practices."

Providing Students Quality Learning, Living Experiences

Photo of students wearing masks and social distancing at StrosackerKeeping the BW community safe while giving students the extraordinary college experience they've come to expect is foremost in the minds of the committee. Whether it's in a classroom or lab, on an athletic field or in a residence hall or dining area, the BW pride points of meaningful belonging, faculty mentoring and strong academic opportunities will still be ever-present.

In June, BW announced plans for reopening campus that included a 16-week semester with schedule modifications in place that provide for flexible academic instruction and remote instruction beginning November 30.

Around campus, new signage and modifications like plexiglass barriers have been added to reinforce health safety measures. Faculty, staff, students and visitors are required to wear masks in common areas, maintain six-foot social distancing and self-monitor their health. Other changes include increased cleaning frequency of high-touch surfaces and room capacity reductions.

Part of the plan includes a phased move-in for residential students, who will be housed in rooms of only single or double occupancy. North Hall, which was closed last year, is being reopened and arrangements are in place to have additional space for quarantine housing should the need for isolation arise.

Building a Community of Trust, Commitment

"As we continue to monitor and update our plan, communication will be key," Dobberstein added. "Accurate information shared on a regular basis builds trust. We will all make a commitment to care for each other this fall by practicing self-care and following guidelines intended to protect others in our community."

The committee will continue meeting throughout fall semester and will be chaired by Lauren Bara, director of BW Health Services, with oversight by Dale Grubb, interim VP of Student Affairs.

"This year may be different from years we've had before on campus, but community has always been central to who we are and what makes us special," Dobberstein concluded. "The same trust, compassion and YJ4L spirit that has always defined us remains unchanged, regardless of any challenge we may be presented that calls for us to unite and create new pathways to success."

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