MEU IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION AND SAFE EVIRONMENT CAMPUS PLAN DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
This document will outline the plan and guidelines for MEU to facilitate as much as possible offering face-to-face instruction in Fall 2020 during the COVID-19 restrictions. Our priorities are to:
- Provide face-to-face and/or online instruction in a safe environment
- Maintain a safe COVID-19 free campus
- Recruit for the future
- Strengthen community through creative social-distancing avenues
This plan is for all students, faculty, staff, administration and visitors who come to the MEU campus. It has been created and voted by the COVID-19 Response Team that includes all members of the Management Committee, an MD and the Residence Hall Deans. The plan will begin immediately, including fall semester which begins with registration August 26, 2020. It will be applicable through the 2020-2021 academic year with any adjustments to be made, voted, and announced to the MEU community by the COVID-19 Response Team.
MEU formed a COVID-19 Response Team which first met on March 3, 2020 to evaluate the growing coronavirus pandemic situation. At that time, Lebanon’s Ministry of Education had instructed all universities to suspend operations, including in-person instruction, until March 8 which was later extended through the end of the spring semester. Classes transitioned online and continued through the summer session. As the country has opened back up, MEU is preparing to welcome students back for the fall semester.
- Some individuals may become infected but not have symptoms. Infected individuals with minimal or no symptoms can still transmit the virus to others.
- An effective vaccine is not currently available. A number of vaccines are in development and may become available during the 2020-2021 school year.
- Timing will be crucial in the decision to cancel classes or close the University. Premature implementation may lead to unnecessary disruption while late implementation may affect the spread of the disease.
- This plan is campus wide and operating under the expectation that all employees, students and visitors take responsibility to follow and implement regulations set forth by this plan.
- The COVID-19 Response Team will continue to monitor the spread of the virus and will recommend modifications to this document as needed.
- MEU seeks to assure the health, safety and welfare of every member of its community, and takes seriously its responsibility to create an environment where those principles drive its decisions.
- None of us can completely guarantee a COVID-19 free environment. Therefore, we voluntarily accept that there is an inevitable risk of infection as we work and study together.
- Taking steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infections (or any other spread of disease) at MEU is a shared responsibility. Every member of the MEU community must do his or her part. This means adhering to Lebanon’s health guidelines and requirements, as well as adhering to those measures that MEU deems safe and appropriate for its campus. MEU reserves the right to impose guidelines that exceed the requirements of the various Lebanese COVID-19 related directives. Specific details will be provided as circumstances dictate, but this will include such things as requiring temperature checks, social distancing, wearing masks or other facial coverings, using other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), not reporting to class or work if sick, and self-isolating when required.
HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEE
MEU’s Health and Safety Committee (comprised of MENA RNs, a retired Faculty MD, the Residence Hall Deans, Dean of Students, Student Labor Coordinator, and a Business Office representative) regularly assess the threat level from the coronavirus pandemic in collaboration with the Ministry of Education mandates so as to assure utmost care and safety on the part of the University community. It advises the Administration and communicates with and coordinates with both MEU and the MENA Union COVID-19 Response Committees.
POLICIES IN EFFECT
The policies herein will be in effect as long as COVID-19 is a pandemic virus and present in the country.
To reduce risk and limit the spread of COVID-19, all should follow these basic principles on the MEU campus:
- Maintain 2 meters distance from others on campus. This applies to gatherings, classroom instruction, and casual interaction.
- Face masks covering the mouth and nose should be worn in any indoor public area, in offices if more than one person is present, and outdoors if closer than 2 meters to another person. Face masks are required to be worn in the Administration Building, unless in your office by yourself.
- Faculty and staff and visitors should maintain at least 2 meters distance from other persons on the main lawn area. If they are less than 2 meters distance, they should be wearing masks.
- Facemasks are not required
- When eating, but a social distance of 2 meters should be maintained
- When exercising
- For dormitory residents in the dormitories. Note: All approved visitors and service and maintenance personnel must wear masks while in the dormitories.
- For children under 2 years of age
- If doing outdoor heavy construction, building repair, or grounds work.
- If specifically prescribed by a University-approved physician
- Cloth masks are recommended for students as they can be washed and reused.
- Disposable masks should not be used more than one day.
- The campus is cleaned and sanitized daily, particularly in high traffic areas.
- All students, faculty, staff and visitors are required to wash their hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and running water, regularly and often. If handwashing is not possible, hand sanitizer from one of the stations around campus should be used.
- Events indoors should be limited in size to allow for social distancing.
If students, faculty and staff are at an event sponsored by MEU but off campus, they should follow the above guidelines unless the hosting location has changed them.
- All classroom seating must be at least 2 meters apart in all directions.
- Each classroom will have hand sanitizer available. After each class, the instructor and students will clean their tables, chairs, keyboards, and anything else they have touched. The instructor will also wipe the classroom’s door handle before leaving.
- Where possible, hallways and classroom entrances will be designated for one-way traffic flow with appropriate signage to improve traffic flow and decrease the likelihood of bottlenecked clusters of people. Staircases will be designated as one-directional when possible.
- Registration begins August 26, 2020
- Classes begin August 31, 2020
- Final exams end December 17, 2020.
- Some courses may be offered as a hybrid online and in-person option for the fall semester. This option is available for students who may need to be isolated for two weeks at the beginning of the semester due to international travel.
- Some courses may alternate students between online and in-person learning as a way of reducing class sizes, yet still offering both students and faculty the opportunity of in-person learning experience.
- Extra sections of some courses may be offered so as to reduce in-person class sizes.
- The final decision on class arrangements and or hybrid online learning will depend on the mandate of Lebanon’s Ministry of Education.
- Students must enter the library with masks on. If they go to an individual study carrel, they can remove their mask. If they are at a library table, they have to keep the mask on.
- Students will use hand sanitizer when they enter and when they leave the library.
- As the students enter the library, a contactless thermometer check will be done by the person at the desk. A quick health questionnaire will be asked. If all passed, the student will wash hands with hand sanitizer, and enter the library.
- Books will no longer be checked out. Books and magazines will continue to be used within the library.
- As many windows as possible will be opened during hours of operation.
- General access to the library will be limited to MEU staff, faculty, administration and students. Any other visitor access will be reviewed by the library administration and permitted on a case by case basis.
- When the library is open, there will be regular cleaning of surfaces on the elevator and will allow the library areas in high use to be wiped down more than once a day.
UNIVERSITY HEALTH ASSESSMENT & COVENANT
- Every new student entering the dorm will undertake a PCR Test with a negative result.
- A covenant affirming willingness to abide by MEU’s COVID-19 related protocols will be signed by each individual at the beginning of the academic year—including students, staff, faculty, and all members of the MEU campus community (MENA Union personnel and on-campus individuals).
- MEU’s Health & Safety Committee will administer the daily screening for all campus students, faculty and staff on campus during the academic year.
- All students will be required to complete the Medical History Form and to be interviewed by designated MEU health personnel prior to completing registration. A medical hold will be placed on students in their registration process until they complete this step.
- There will be a general sanitation of all public areas and buildings of campus prior to the beginning of the academic year.
ARRIVAL OF INTERNATIONAL PERSONNEL/STUDENTS
- All returning staff, faculty and students will be required to undertake a PCR within 96 hours prior to their departure time for Lebanon.
- All returning staff, faculty and students will be required to home isolate until
- the government publishes zero negative cases on the flight on which the individuals arrived
- they have been cleared by MEU’s Health and Safety Committee
- Anyone with a positive PCR will need continued home isolation and follow up testing for a minimum of 14 days.
- Anyone with a negative PCR test, but who comes on a plane with positive PCR cases will need to home isolate for 14 days, with follow up testing on Day 7, and daily monitoring for fever and other symptoms.
All new dormitory students will undertake a PCR test with a negative result, prior to residence in the dormitory.
- Only dormitory residents are allowed in the residence halls. Maintenance personnel and visitors must be pre-approved by the dormitory deans. Entrance to the dorms is strictly prohibited to outside guests.
- Cleaning will be implemented on a regular basis in shared spaces and high traffic areas.
- Residential life activities programming will incorporate physical distancing as needed to reduce group sizes and promote physical distancing.
Campus Housing (non-residence hall)
- Campus housing residents must self-isolate if they suspect exposure or isolate in their apartment/home if they develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has. All family members in the house must self-isolate if one person in the house tests positive.
- All service personnel should wear a face covering when entering a private residence to provide maintenance or service requests.
To properly sanitize the campus and keep the campus safe, these guidelines will be followed:
- Each area will have specific instructions to keep their area cleaned and sanitized. Cleaning supplies can be obtained from the Business Office as needed.
- Hand sanitizer will be provided at the entrance to each building.
- Floor stickers will be placed in high-traffic areas to facilitate social distancing.
- Cleaning staff will ensure high-traffic areas are regularly and properly cleaned—including entrances, door handles, rails, faucets, etc.
- The Student Labor Supervisor will ensure that hand sanitizer is available in classes and entrances to buildings.
- Each student, employee and visitor will be required to sanitize the area they used (table, keyboards, etc.) with the supplied cleaning and sanitizing materials before leaving an area.
All who visit and live on the campus should self-assess daily to check for and monitor suspected symptoms.
PCR testing is available for a fee at area hospitals. The Health and Safety Committee will publish a list of testing facilities.
Suspected/Confirmed Case for a Residential Student
- If a residential student has one or more COVID-19 symptoms, a campus medical official will monitor the individual. If they present as having COVID-19, they will need to be tested and then placed in an isolation room until the PCR test results have returned.
- Faculty are asked to graciously work with students who must miss class because of illness or exposure to COVID-19.
- If a student is identified as presumed or confirmed positive, contact tracing of that individual will be conducted.
- If the student is local and can go home, this is the preferred option. If it is not possible, they will remain in isolation and food, laundry, and daily health check-ins will be provided for the student.
- A student will be cleared from quarantine by the Health and Safety Committee if any of the following are met:
- At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); AND at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
- An asymptomatic person may resume campus activity if they have quarantined for 10 days after the positive test result OR had two negative COVID-19 tests that are at least 24 hours apart (at student’s expense.)
Employees Living with a Confirmed Case
Employees will be asked to stay home and self-monitor if they live with an individual who is confirmed positive.
If they are local, the student has the option to go home during their quarantine. If a student must quarantine for non-symptom reasons and they choose to stay in the dorm, they must abide by the following procedures:
- Stay in their room at all times, except for restroom needs
- Their roommate(s) may also need to quarantine
- Stay in quarantine until they have two negative tests at least 24 hours apart (after five days of exposure, testing is at the student’s expense) OR 14 days.
- If living in a residence hall with community restrooms, one toilet, sink and shower must be designated with signage indicating “Private Use Only.”
- Wear a face mask when going to and from the restroom.
- Food will be delivered to the quarantined student three times a day.
- Laundry service will be provided once per week.
- Transportation to doctor appointments and urgent care will be arranged as needed.
- The resident physician will connect with the student’s instructors and work supervisors to identify them as excused. The student should communicate individually with their instructors to see what they need to do to continue their classwork.
- Instructors will provide online course materials and assignments so the student can keep up with classwork.
If they are local, the student has the option to go home during their time in isolation. If a student tests positive for COVID-19 and chooses to stay in the dorm, they will be placed in isolation with an isolated room and restroom. Students in isolation will receive the same food, laundry, health check and transportation services provided to those in quarantine as listed above.
Failure to comply with quarantine and/or isolation may result in disciplinary actions determined by the Student Affairs Committee.
- The Administration building is a Mask Zone.
- The Assistant Registrar’s Office and Business Office should be using the glass covered window as much as possible. If students enter either of the offices, they should have masks on, and the staff should put on a mask and maintain 2 meters distance, with the windows open. Hand sanitizer & masks will be available at both the Registrar’s window and Business office.
- Faculty and staff and students should be wearing a mask when they enter the Administration Building. In their individual offices, they may remove the mask. When faculty, staff and/or students meet in the Administration Building in groups of 2 or more, then masks should be worn.
- Windows in offices, and in the library (as much as possible) should be kept open for circulation when in use. Auditorium windows should be kept open during meetings. The auditorium windows should be opened from the side as much as possible, and on both sides.
- Food service employees must wear a mask.
- All hot food will be served by servers who are wearing gloves and masks.
- Facemasks will not be required while eating in the cafeteria, but there should be a 6 foot social distance.
- All deliveries for the cafeteria should be left at the back dock and cleaned properly.
- The cafeteria is not open to outside groups.
- Cafeteria access is allowed only on case by case to individuals who are not living on campus. They must obtain approval from the COVID-19 Response Team.
- Persons working at the gate should wear masks at all times, when they are within 2 meters of another person.
- All entries to campus will be logged by gate personnel. This will include a list of the purpose of visit for non-campus residents.
- Everyone who enters the campus needs to wear a mask. Those who live here can take off the mask, after entering the campus when outside.
- Everyone who enters the campus at the gate needs to have a screening temperature taken every time they enter the gate.
- A temperature of 38 degrees Celsius and greater is considered to have a fever. If the person lives on campus, then that person needs to go home immediately and retake the temperature with a traditional thermometer. Residence need to be asked to own a thermometer.
- Any person who does not live on campus, and is screened with a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or greater does not come on campus.
- Hand Sanitizer/Disinfectant: There needs to be either hand sanitizer or a spray bottle of disinfectant at the gate, as is already being used at gate entry to local medical centers. All hands entering the campus can be sprayed and people entering can rub their hands to dry it, prior to opening the gate.
- Logs are being used for students leaving campus. A log entry needs to be made of every person entering the campus, who does not live on campus. This is very important not only for security, but also for contact tracing, if this ever becomes necessary.
- Students should be wearing a mask when exiting the campus and observe social distancing.
- Any student, staff or faculty should wear a mask when picking up food at the gate. The person who brought the food should also be wearing a mask.
- Disinfectant should also be used by students and staff before picking up food just outside the gate.
- Masks must be worn by delivery persons and by staff or students picking up food.
- Staff and students picking up food should throw away the paper packaging as soon as it is possible and then wash their hands again, prior to eating.
Sports Courts Usage
- The sports courts can be used by students in the evenings until 10 pm Sunday – Thursday and Saturday after sunset.
- Outside groups who rent the sports courts will abide by the guidelines set by the COVID-19 Response Team and available to them at the Business Office where they make their reservations.
- Tournaments with outside universities are not permitted.
- Friendly tournaments within the campus (students vs. faculty, for example) are allowed and must follow the same guidelines as those set for the outside groups.
University-sponsored travel includes, but is not limited to, field trips, sports tournaments, mission trips, or off-campus events. Each circumstance has its own risks and solutions. Each trip must be planned ahead of time and approved by the COVID-19 Response Team. If anything in the plan changes during the trip, an update must be provided to the COVID-19 Response Team after the trip along with any potential exposures for tracking purposes.
Day trips must have greater safety protocols to balance risk of exposure. Quarantine is not required prior to or after the trip. Trip plans must include:
- Buses or vans must have windows that can be opened for circulation, if at all possible.
- Masks are required to be worn on the bus and are required outside one’s home, if not exercising, by Lebanese directive.
- Hand sanitizer should be available both on and off the bus.
- Persons who live off campus and do not work on campus should travel by separate vehicle.
- A church service should be set up according to proper safety protocols. Outdoors is always much better than indoors.
- Chairs when set up outdoors need to have at least 2 meters distance.
- The size of the group should never be more than 25-50 persons, depending on the destination
- The vehicles must be sanitized before and after use
- Realistic trip member maximums to maintain physical distancing during travel and at the destination.
- 12 passenger van max capacity to eight including driver.
- Minivan max capacity six including driver.
- Car max capacity four including driver.
Trips within Lebanon
Trips within the country that are longer than a day will have different guidelines due to spending extended periods of time together and possibly sharing sleeping quarters. Quarantine will not be required prior to or after the trip. Trip plans must include:
- Realistic trip member maximums to maintain physical distancing during travel and at the destination
- A trip waiver signed by all trip members informing them that they assume all risks regarding COVID-19
- Insurance if applicable
- Choose a partner of the same gender to share sleeping quarters with for the entire trip, not necessary to wear a face mask when sleeping
- Hand sanitizer and wet wipes available for use and used before entering/exiting vehicles
- Sanitize vehicles before and after use
- Masks to be worn by trip members if social distancing not possible
- Minimize exposure to people who are not part of the trip
- Regular hand washing
- Regular cleaning and sanitization of living/working spaces
- Safe food and drink
- A plan for testing and quarantine if any members shows COVID-19 symptoms during the trip. This plan should be for the member and also for the entire group until the test is clear.
International trips should follow all guidelines of local trips with the following additions:
- A possible 14-day isolation in the dormitory room with roommate or in the residence with family members, upon return to the MEU campus
- Take immune system supplements where possible
- Have a plan for repatriation for any COVID-19 positive trip member and a plan to test/quarantine all other trip members
Visitors are defined as any individuals who are not considered employees or students at Middle East University. This can include family members of students, prospective students, and/or outside services on campus. All visitors to campus must abide by the following:
- All visitors must assess themselves for any symptoms prior to arrival to the MEU campus. If positive for any symptoms, the visit will be rescheduled.
- Outside persons (who are not part of the SDA local community) cannot be allowed onto campus by invitation of a student who lives on campus. The invitation needs come from a staff, faculty or resident adult to a specific location & for a specific length of time.
- Non-campus residents who enter MEU campus are welcome to conduct business purpose, and once that has been accomplished, they need to exit. This includes maintenance, garbage and recycling collection, food deliveries to the cafeteria, etc.
- The Adventist Church community may hold scheduled/approved activities on the MEU campus.
- All gatherings of outside groups on the MEU campus must be pre-approved by the COVID-19 Response Team.
- Visitors will not be housed in current students’ rooms.
- Each visitor is responsible for their care if they should become symptomatic.
When to stay home
All individuals should do a personal health assessment before going to work at MEU every day. If they have any COVID-19 symptoms, they should stay home and immediately notify their work supervisor. Employees who have traveled internationally or experienced a sustained exposure (more than 15 minutes without appropriate PPE or physical distancing) to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks will be required to self-isolate in conversation with MEU’s Health & Safety team. PCR testing or quarantine for 14 days may be required.
This plan, along with any addendums, will be communicated in the following ways:
- Email communication to students, faculty, staff, MENA, and University Church members
- Post on MEU website
- Signs around campus with information about social distancing, handwashing, sanitization, masks, and guidelines.
MEU is gated, yet open campus in which each person has a moral responsibility to care for the health of others by following these rules and regulations. Visitors who refuse to follow the regulations in this document and signs posted on campus may be asked to leave campus and may not be allowed to return. Students or employees who knowingly and repeatedly refuse to follow the regulations may be subject to disciplinary action.
MEU usually implements newly stated governmental guidelines by one week. Guidelines are subject to change and will be announced and updated in the master COVID-19 campus plan.