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Returning to campus: what’s open, what’s closed and the safety protocols in between

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With the return of upperclassmen students to Oxford in mid-August and first- and second-year students coming to campus in September, Miami University facilities are implementing extra safety precautions to protect the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is how the pandemic is impacting Miami’s campus hotspots: 

Armstrong Student Center

Armstrong will operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m, said the director of Armstrong Student Center Katie Wilson. Dining options will be limited to Pulley Diner and The Emporium. 

Wilson said when on-campus students return to campus in September, the rest of the dining options will become available at select times. Mein Street, Armstrong’s stir fry restaurant, will be replaced with a new dining option called Curve that will feature international cuisine.

All doors will be designated as either entrance or exit doors, excluding those built for accessible use. Wilson said seating in Armstrong has been reduced by 66%, and tables have been spread apart. The number of outdoor dining spaces available on the Joslin Family Terrace has been increased to offset the loss of indoor seating. Wilson also said all the couches in the building have been removed and replaced with chairs to better accommodate social distancing requirements. 

There will be several sanitation stations available for students to clean surfaces before and after use. Staff will also be cleaning other high-touch surfaces often. 

Wilson said students can still reserve study rooms but must follow limited-capacity guidelines. The larger study rooms have a maximum of four people while smaller ones may accommodate only two or three people. 

Once in-person classes resume, Wilson said Wilkes Theatre and the Joslin Senate Chamber will be used as classrooms. 

King Library

King Library is currently open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, said Nick Kneer, the library’s strategic communications coordinator. The library is closed on Sundays. 

Kneer said Plexiglass dividers have been set up at the circulation counter, and seating has been spread out to accommodate social distancing guidelines.

King Library is also offering curbside pickup. Kneer said this option is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

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When books are returned to the library, they will be isolated and unavailable for use for three days before being signed back into the library. 

Kneer said that King will also offer touchless printing. After sending a document to the virtual queue, students can scan a QR code located on the printer, enter their credentials on their phone and release the document to be printed. 

Makerspace and the special collections reading room will still be available to students, but Kneer said they will be by appointment only. Appointments can be made online or by calling or emailing.

BEST Library

BEST Library has closed. Kneer said the library’s closure is not related to COVID-19 and is part of the library’s master plan created in 2017 to gradually co-locate staff and consolidate services. BEST’s services have been relocated to other areas on campus. Some of its most accessed books and journals can now be found at King. 

Dining Services

In an email to The Miami Student, Miami’s Executive Director of Campus Services and Chief Hospitality Officer Geno Svec wrote that all locations including all commons, a-la-carte locations, markets, catering, concessions and vending operations will operate under CDC guidelines.

Currently, only Martin Dining Commons, located on North Quad, is open. Svec said that Martin  has been used to feed athletes who moved back to campus early but now will be open to all students and guests.  After Sept. 14, the majority of on-campus dining options will reopen. 

Sanitation stations will be available for use in addition to increased employee cleaning protocols. Svec said there will also be hired student wellness ambassadors who will assist customers, faculty and staff with keeping facilities sanitized and safe. 

Staff will wear masks and gloves, and cashiers will also wear face shields. Customer lines and walkways in all dining locations will be marked to promote social distancing. Svec said students should expect reduced and distanced seating.

All food and drinks at dining commons locations will be served by staff members in a container. The use of reusable drinking containers will not be permitted for refills at any dining hall. Svec said some markets will offer pre-packaged meals, and many a-la-carte locations will offer online ordering and pick up. There are currently no plans to change the dining hours.

According to Miami’s website, all campuses became cashless as of July 1. This means bills and coins will not be accepted at any dining service facility. 

Academic Buildings

According to an information session held by Vice President of Student Affairs Jayne Brownell and Provost Jason Osborne, students will be asked to wipe down their desk space upon arrival and before departure when in-person classes begin in September. Some academic buildings may also be open for students to use as a study space.

Student Health Services

The Practice Manager for the Health Center, Machel Tipton, said the center is currently open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The hours will shift to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. sometime in late August or early September as students start returning to campus. 

Tipton said that if someone suspects they have COVID-19, they can call the health center and receive guidance for getting the proper care. 

According to Miami’s Healthy Together Plan, testing will be available at the Student Health Service and Employee Health Clinic. Regular medical services will still be available to students. 

The health center is offering a new service through Telehealth and MyChart that allows students to have a virtual call with a doctor for various issues. Tipton says the calls will be charged through the student’s health insurance.

Recreation Center 

Senior Director of Customer Services & Facility Management Ron Siliko said the recreation center’s hours will be 6 a.m to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays. This schedule will be in place untilSept. 20. 

Siliko said that the bouldering cave and climbing wall usage will be limited to academic use only. Currently, all drinking fountains, showers and locker rooms are closed. The center is considering reopening the locker rooms and limiting usage to every fourth locker to enforce social distancing. 

The center has also spaced out all exercise equipment. Siliko said there is currently fitness equipment on the soccer and basketball courts that have been relocated from the fitness center. The center is still deliberating between several options for the court including allowing certain sports to be played on it and potentially hosting fitness classes in these locations. 

The North Quad and Clawson gyms will reopen when students return in September. Their respective hours will likely be 2 to 10 p.m. Siliko said equipment at these gyms has also been spaced out. 

Effective Aug. 20, masks are required in the facility except when swimming, on cardio equipment, or on the track. The rec center is also asking that all equipment be cleaned by users before and after each use.

@skylerlperry

perrysl2@miamoh.edu

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