CMU-SV prepares for students, staff, and faculty to return

Staff writer

Jul 15, 2020

Entrance of the NASA Research Park

Source: Stacy Marshall

The entrance of the NASA Research Park with a reminder that all tenants are asked to abide by the most recent State and Santa Clara County Public Health Orders.

Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley (CMU-SV) will begin its fall semester as planned on August 31, 2020. CMU-SV is aligned with the Pittsburgh campus in planning for a hybrid fall, with extensive preparations underway for blending in-person instruction and remote learning. After Thanksgiving, all classes will be remote.

When students, faculty, and staff return to CMU-SV, they will find new protocols in place aimed at ensuring the health and safety of all. Below are a few of the top-level highlights, upgrades, and noteworthy details that may be helpful as we plan to return to campus. Here you can see the minimum requirements in order to return to campus. 

CMU-SV staff and faculty have spent countless hours working to bring everyone back in a safe and thoughtful manner. When you return, here are a few things that you can expect.

“Pause Your Paws” decals at CMU-SV

Source: Carnegie Mellon University

“Pause Your Paws” decals are being secured on floors where lines of people typically form as a reminder to maintain 6 feet between yourself and others.

Signage. Signs are being posted campus-wide to reinforce physical distancing requirements, to remind people to wash their hands frequently and to provide other directions as needed, such as where a stairwell is designated as only one-way. “Pause Your Paws” decals are being securely placed on floors where lines of people typically form as a reminder to maintain 6 feet between yourself and others. Those common areas in use will have reminders to maintain a low population density.

Enhanced Sanitation and Disinfection. Facilities Management will be conducting enhanced sanitation and disinfection of Building 23 (B23) prior to the start of the fall semester. Once classes start, enhanced sanitation and disinfectant cleaning procedures will be done every 24 hours in high-traffic and occupied common areas. Restrooms and other high-touch areas will be disinfected additional times during the day. Facilities Management is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for cleaning and is available for consultation regarding additional cleaning of offices, laboratories, and other spaces as called for by our academic programs.

Improved HVAC Systems.  Facilities Management has evaluated many options for improving HVAC systems. We have installed improved air filters in all HVAC systems, adjusted our HVAC systems as necessary to utilize the maximum recommended amount of fresh air, and are upgrading our HVAC programming to provide continuous air filtration during operation hours. This summer, CMU-SV is installing Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization systems in our classroom HVAC systems to provide an additional layer of safety. This technology has been shown to be effective in controlling the spread of airborne viruses.

Photo of chairs placed a safe distance away

Source: Stacy Marshall

Chairs and desks have been placed a safe distance away from each other to enable everyone to position themselves in a safe manner.

Safe Physical Distancing in Rooms. Classrooms and public areas have been reconfigured so that all chairs, seats, and work surfaces are a safe distance away from each other. Distancing locations will be clearly marked on the floor so that everyone will be able to position themselves in a safe manner.

Facial Coverings. All faculty, staff, researchers, students, and contractors must wear a facial covering at all times while on CMU premises both inside and outside of buildings, including while alone in a private office or other CMU space or facility. Facial coverings should cover the nose and mouth at all times.

Exceptions include: While eating or drinking if working outdoors during hot and humid conditions, or when alone in a private space, such as an office, assigned residence hall room, or enclosed vehicle. When outdoors, facial coverings are expected to be worn whenever physical distancing of 6 feet or more cannot be maintained. If you cannot wear a facial covering due to a medical condition, please contact either the Office of Disability Resources (students) or HR Disability Services (employees) to request an exemption as an accommodation.

The campus will be receiving a supply of CMU branded face masks and will be distributing these during orientation week. Additional masks are available.

Lots of Hand-Washing. Community members are encouraged to use the hand sanitizing stations that are being placed in classrooms and common areas each time they enter. You will be required to wash your hands after coming into contact with high-touch surfaces such as printers and copiers. On stairs and in stairwells, be mindful of your contact with handrails and practice hand-washing hygiene immediately afterward. If soap and water are not available, personnel should use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

Plexiglass. The use of physical barriers can also mitigate the transmission of viruses. Portable plexiglass barriers will be used around CMU-SV when necessary.

Fewer In-Person Meetings. In-person gatherings or meetings are strongly discouraged. All meetings should be held virtually via Zoom or other conferencing technologies whenever possible or outside as an alternative.;

Pandemic Safety Officers. Similar to a floor marshal, pandemic safety officers have been appointed and trained. They will ensure the campus community has the information and resources they need to comply with the minimum safety requirements and will remind people of required safe practices.

 NASA Research Park campus

Source: Carnegie Mellon University

NASA Research Park campus

In order to help protect the safety and well-being of the members of the CMU community, we have also updated our protocols for travel and concerning visitors to campus.

In the coming weeks and months, university leadership will continue to review and follow guidance from federal, state, and local officials, including any new guidelines for higher education. We will be following all applicable regulations of the state of California and Santa Clara County as they evolve in the coming weeks.

As a reminder, all tenants of the NASA Research Park (NRP) are asked by NASA Ames to abide by the latest Santa Clara County Orders, which include requirements to wear face coverings and to adhere to social distancing protocols. You can also get the most up-to-date information on Carnegie Mellon's response to the coronavirus.

Students can get the latest CMU-SV updates by accessing their respective CMU-SV student sites via Canvas. 

Incoming students can access: Launching Your CMU-SV Hybrid Student Experience 

Continuing students can access: Your CMU-SV Hybrid Experience

CMU-SV Student Affairs is utilizing both Canvas sites to provide incoming and continuing students with regular updates throughout the summer in preparation for fall. The sites are designed to be students’ one-stop hubs of information with updates such as hybrid learning, health and wellness, campus health and safety guidelines, housing guidance, transportation, and commuting updates, events and activities, and student support.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the following CMU-SV campus administrators: Faculty and staff, contact Steven Rosenberg, senior director of campus operations; Students, contact Lauren Schachar, assistant dean of student affairs.