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Health Association Issues Guidelines for Reopening

May 8, 2020

The American College Health Association has issued guidelines for reopening campuses. The guidelines say colleges “can anticipate restrictions and limitations in activities will be in place for the next 12-18 months, if not longer” and that “resumption of activities will be gradual and phased based on local public health conditions as well as institutional capacity.”

“Return to an active on-campus environment will depend upon widespread testing, contact tracing and isolation/quarantine of ill and exposed individuals both on campus and in the community,” the document said. “Planners should prepare for the likelihood of a local rebound of infections that may result in a return to more restrictive mitigation measures and physical distancing for periods of time.”

Other key concepts underlying the ACHA guidelines include the ethical imperative to protect the most vulnerable populations: the guidelines note some individuals may need to observe social distancing for a longer period of time. The guidelines also say “meticulous adherence to public health practices, including hand hygiene, physical distancing, proper cough/sneeze etiquette, frequent disinfection of common and high traffic areas, symptom assessment, temperature checks and face covering” is “the new normal” for campuses.

“Until a vaccine for COVID-19 is available and widely used or until an effective prophylactic treatment is discovered, physical distancing, viral testing, isolation, quarantine and contact tracing are our best strategies to control the spread of this virus,” according to the guidelines. “Decisions to ease COVID-19 distancing restrictions must be based on the best available scientific data and the rapid availability of testing. Campus experts, in collaboration with public health officials, are best positioned to inform and advise campus leadership on when to resume operations.”


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