Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to Open
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- May 22, 2020
Trustees unanimously vote to reopen residential campuses in Florida and Arizona; face-to-face instruction begins June 30
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Board of Trustees voted unanimously to reopen the institution's residential campuses in Florida and Arizona for face-to-face instruction on June 30. With health precautions in place, Embry-Riddle will resume face-to-face instruction, in keeping with its Path Forward strategy, President P. Barry Butler announced today.
"We are excited about the return of students to Embry-Riddle's residential campuses," said Mori Hosseini, chairman of the university's Board of Trustees. "We continue to review all progress and monitor every phase of the strategy. We believe that a structured, cautious return to normal operations will provide a platform for our institution's long-term success and better prepare us for the fall semester. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is well positioned for this next step. Our safety focus is unparalleled and our board is unanimous in supporting this decision."
Embay-Riddle is building on its rigorous safety culture to launch innovative learning solutions amid the global pandemic and fulfill its mission of education.
"We have resumed flight and housing operations on our campuses,” Butler said. "Beginning face-to-face classes on June 30 will mark the next critical milestone. Our plan focuses on statistical risk testing, risk mitigation, support for contact tracing – and most importantly, education. We are continuing to educate our community on the risks, create redundancy across all of our safety standards, and finalize our testing protocols."
Key elements of Embry-Riddle's Summer B plan include these and other precautions:
The university will rigorously adhere to all federal, state and local guidance.
Classroom capacity will be limited to ensure physical distancing (six feet of separation).
Class schedules will be optimized to minimize contact.
Returning students will be pre-screened for risk factors.
Cloth face coverings are mandatory in all common areas on campus, indoors and outdoors.
Daily wellness checks and physical distancing are also mandatory.
Plexiglass barriers and "smart" pathways help reduce contact between individuals.
Residence hall occupancy and density are limited.
Sanitizers are readily available and everyone is urged to maintain a personal supply.
No one can return to campus if they have recently been sick, in contact with someone who is sick, on a cruise, or in any designated Covid-19 hotspot, without appropriate quarantine, screening and/or testing.
Visible ID badges must be worn at all times.
All visitors as well as returning students must check in first at the Henderson Welcome Center on the Daytona Beach Campus, or the Visitors Center on the Prescott Campus.
To view examples of how the university has structured low-density, safety-conscious learning environments and procedures, watch Embry-Riddle's videos on flight check-in and aircraft sanitation procedures. In addition, the Path Forward presentation spells out Embry-Riddle's rationale and risk assessment as well as the solutions that were engineered to keep the university community healthy. A best practices guide is also available online.
"Embry-Riddle is leveraging both its strong aviation safety culture and trademark can-do Eagle spirit to bring students back to our residential campuses in the safest possible way for the fall semester," Butler said. "We are also working hard to remain transparent in communicating all of our plans. Based on our aviation expertise, we know the importance of being able to quickly and openly speak up about any safety concerns – without fear of negative consequences. That principle, along with the critical need for personal responsibility, are at the heart of our return to face-to-face instruction."
To ensure transparency, Embry-Riddle will continue to convey what it knows, and what it does not yet know about the ever-evolving health crisis. "We cannot predict a spike in new cases of Covid-19, for example, and we don't know what new federal, state or local rules might affect us, going forward," Butler said. "We do know that consistently adhering to strict health precautions such as physical distancing, hand washing, and face coverings will reduce our risks. We have called on everyone in the Embry-Riddle community to do their part to ensure good health as we take our first, cautious steps toward more normal operations."
Embry-Riddle has been posting frequent updates to its Covid-19 informational webpage since January. Butler emphasized that the university's Path Forward phased reopening plan is unique to Embry-Riddle, which "lives and breathes safety," and it might not be the right choice for all institutions.