A Different SAIC

A Different SAIC

While we intend to offer as many in-person courses as possible this fall, we know teaching, learning, working, and living on campus will be different. We ask students, faculty, and staff for their flexibility and understanding as we make all necessary modifications to allow for social distancing and enact other needed changes to our processes and physical layout to reduce the risks to our community. In addition to on-campus courses, we will offer a significant number of hybrid and remote courses. We anticipate that most public programming and other large-format events will move online.

As our teams develop the many planning details required for our return to campus, they will keep in mind the need for flexibility, knowing that the global pandemic presents ever-evolving challenges that will necessitate ongoing adjustments. We will continue to share frequent updates with the campus community throughout the summer and ongoing into the fall.

SAIC is making many adjustments to its physical plant and facilities operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve highlighted some of these efforts below.

Facilities

  • We are improving the air quality in campus buildings:
    • We are upgrading HVAC filtration from a MERV 8 to a MERV 13 air filter where we don’t already have either carbon or UV filtration systems. These filters help filter out biological contaminants.
    • As environmental conditions permit, we are increasing the percentage of outside air brought into a building from 40 to 60 percent.
  • Existing favorable conditions:
    • All of our restrooms have direct ventilation to the outdoors, providing consistent fresh air and removal of contaminants.
    • All spaces on campus have an air exchange of three to four times per hour. Air removed from campus spaces is filtered and mixed with outside air before being brought back into the building.
    • Residential rooms in the residence halls have independent HVAC systems along with operable windows to allow in fresh air.
  • We are studying modified classroom capacities along with staggered class schedules. This study will help us determine how we manage the flow of people into, around, and out of buildings in accordance with limited elevator capacities and reduced traffic in building lobbies and circulation areas.
  • We are developing room diagrams for classrooms and studios to show physically distanced furniture/equipment and indicate adjusted room capacities. These diagrams will inform what furniture and equipment are removed or relocated. 
  • We have designed and are in the process of building plexiglass partitions for all points of transaction, open offices, and labs where six feet of physical distance cannot be consistently maintained.  We have begun surveying the campus for these locations and will expand on those as we meet with departments over the course of the summer.
  • We are creating health, safety, physical distancing, and circulation signage for classrooms, studios, instructional support spaces, and common areas.

Cleaning and Sanitation

We are modifying our housekeeping efforts, particularly for high-usage rooms, high-traffic spaces, and frequently touched objects. Increased attention will be dedicated to spaces like restrooms, lobbies, elevators, and cafes throughout the day. During overnight hours all classrooms, studios, and common areas will be cleaned.

While we’ve modified our efforts and increased our equipment resources, cleaning and sanitation throughout our campus depends on everyone’s participation. Certain surfaces, such as personal desks, tables with student or faculty projects that cannot be moved, personal phones, and electronics such as keyboards are not cleaned regularly by the housekeeping staff. Community members are expected to help by disinfecting shared spaces, as outlined in Shared Responsibilities.

To assist in these efforts, we are placing sanitation supplies in all classrooms and other high-traffic spaces. Including hand sanitizer, disinfectant cleaner, paper towels, and facial tissue. Students, faculty, and staff may utilize these supplies to wipe down surfaces and sanitize hands as frequently as desired. Supplies will be regularly monitored and filled by our Facility Services staff, and requests for refills can be made to 312.499.4920 or irfm@saic.edu.

Instructional Resources and Facilities Management (IRFM) is working directly with departments to further develop cleaning protocols for each area, including those that have circulating equipment such as the shops and media centers.