Langston University’s Outstanding Proactive Response to COVID-19

Langston University’s Outstanding Proactive Response to COVID-19

By Christina Gray

Just a few short months ago, no one could have predicted how COVID-19 would impact our institutions. A special team at Langston University started bracing for that impact early on, and the effect has been significant. The Langston University (LU) Emergency Leadership Team (ELT) has met daily to work on operational contingency plans for COVID-19 since the first confirmed case within the US was reported on January 21, 2020. The initial campus-wide advisory notification immediately followed and advanced screening protocols at the LU Health Clinic quickly followed. The campus community has consistently received updates via e-mail, on the COVID-19 landing page, and community telecommunication briefings from the Office of the President.

The University has been diligent in its proactive response to the crisis with the health and safety of its community members at the forefront of their efforts. “Our entire community has shown tremendous courage and creativity throughout a time of uncertainty and transition,” said President Smith.

“LU is profoundly grateful for the resilient spirit demonstrated by Lions everywhere. Together, we will overcome this challenge and emerge stronger and more innovative than ever before.” The team worked with campus facilities to implement deep cleaning practices across campus and modified operations  to the LU dining service as part of their initial efforts. During the extended spring break, the community spaces on campus were deep cleaned, new protocols for campus safety were enacted, and additional hand sanitizing stations were deployed across campus. On March 27, 2020, the following enhanced measurements were implemented: limited access to campus, mandatory teleworking, and consolidated campus housing.

After spring break, a total of 1108 students returned to campus, but trends surrounding the virus and community transmission made it clear that changes to campus housing needed to be enacted quickly. The University worked to assist students in returning safely home. To date, only 80 students remain on-campus. At this time, only approved community members who have written approval from the Executive Policy Group of the ELT may remain in housing. Several student resources were made available to help them transition during this time, including travel funding, credit adjustments to accounts, and aided in student employment assistance. The Langston University Foundation also established an emergency fund to award mini-grants to students in need of funding.

Virtual Resources to Ensure Student Success

On March 30, 2020, all campuses were closed to the public and all coursework transitioned to fully online delivery through the end of the spring semester. The faculty worked to make academic accommodations for a hybrid delivery of coursework and leadership implemented expanded adjustments to campus operations. LU has enhanced its virtual resources to ensure student success throughout this time of distance learning. To help our students thrive, the University enhanced its library and technology resources and is providing virtual tutoring and virtual office hours. “Our dedicated faculty, staff, and students have embraced the challenge with grace, flexibility, and innovation as we all adapt to a new way of operating,” said President Smith.

“Our collective response affirms the values at the core of our University; that of unwavering loyalty and a mission to serve.”

Advanced Health Screening Protocols for Remaining Residents

As part of the COVID-19 efforts, the University hired an additional nurse practitioner dedicated to COVID-19 monitoring and new protocols. The University implemented advanced health screening protocols for approved residents. Any resident that experiences symptoms similar to or consistent with COVID-19 will be required to self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. Any confirmed cases will be placed in the designated quarantine spaces on campus.

The LU Police Department has implemented controlled access on all campuses. On the Langston campus, only one gate remains open. A checkpoint was established and is the single point of access for vehicles entering the campus. Additionally, no outside guests are authorized to visit any campus housing space while these mitigation protocols are in place. To date, no confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported at any campus or location associated with Langston University.

The University has initiated these strict protocols to ensure the continued health and safety of its community, including several precautionary measures to maximize the recommended social-distancing practices. “No one could have predicted the impact COVID-19 would have on our society, but one thing is certain and that is the resiliency of our community,” said President Smith.

“Taking care of one another is what Lions do best, and it’s how we intend to get through this challenging time.”

 

###

SHARE: