This fall, universities were faced with the prospect of bringing students back to campus or committing to remote learning through the remainder of 2020. In some cases, schools that reopened had to quickly close due to coronavirus outbreaks. In remote situations, technology and logistics challenges made for a bumpy experience for educators and students alike.
Looking ahead to 2021 and the eventual widespread return to campuses, universities are developing plans to implement enhanced social distancing practices and manage access to all campus spaces.
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Access control, managing the flow of people, and space utilization of residence halls, academic buildings, and other common areas are top issues administrators, facility managers and faculty are facing. Altering class schedules, limiting the maximum capacity of lecture halls and smaller rooms, and increasing automated access are major issues that require considerable coordination and planning.
However, the core challenge is to create the right plan for each campus while working within increasingly restricted budgets and a short window of time for implementation. This is, of course, easier said than done.
Despite the challenges, there are a few simple strategies campuses can follow to safely open and remain that way.
The future of campus life in a post-COVID world
Leverage and expand existing access control as part of the solution
Campus access control plays a significant role in space management to meet growing social distancing protocols. It can support reopening efforts by regulating traffic flows, and controlling, or limiting, the use of certain spaces.