Harris-Stowe State University has made the decision to temporarily close its campus in response to several employees testing positive for COVID-19. According to a statement from the university, eight employees, all located in the Henry Givens, Jr. Administration Building, tested positive for COVID-19 during a three-week period.
The campus has been closed since Wednesday, July 22 to all students and non-essential personnel to conduct a deep cleaning of the entire campus. Officials said that the cleaning will be conducted by a third-party vendor specializing in this process.
“We continue to work closely with public health officials to ensure that we are not only following all protocols, but are doing everything we can for our staff, our students, and all who will be on campus,” the university said in a statement.
The campus, including the William L. Clay Sr. Early Childhood Development Center, will reopen on August 10. The university plans to start the fall semester as scheduled on Monday, August 24, and end on-campus presence on Friday, November 20. The last three weeks of classes will be conducted remotely in an effort to mitigate risks from the global health crisis.
Harris-Stowe will offer three types of classes this fall: classes that meet remotely with no specified time, classes with a specific time of meeting for at least 50% of instruction, and classes with at least 50% virtual at a specific time or online(time not specified with the remaining sessions at a specific time (in person for some students).
Students, faculty, staff and visitors are required to wear face masks when entering campus buildings and in all public areas. The university will provide reusable face coverings to all students, faculty and staff.
All community members are expected to follow recommendations regarding social/physical distancing both inside and outside of buildings. Classrooms and common areas have been reconfigured to apply with social distancing. Plexiglass, rope stanchions, and floor markers have been installed in student services and high traffic areas.
Community members are expected to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19. Any faculty, staff and/or students who are symptomatic should remain home and should contact their healthcare providers. The university will conduct daily temperature checks and health surveys for all employees as mandated by the City of St. Louis.
All housing students will reside in single-bed suites, and there will be one student in designated double-bed rooms to ensure social distancing. Four suites on the first floor of Gillespie Hall will serve as isolation rooms.
Corey S. Bradford Sr., university president, said that the university will continue to work with health officials and amend the plan as needed. The university’s Fall 2020 COVID-19 Campus Reopening Plan is posted at www.hssu.edu/c19.