GRAND RAPIDS – Davenport University is launching a Healthy Panther Promise initiative to inform and educate students, faculty, staff and guests of the safety protocol in place and expectations for compliance when they return to campuses this fall.
The Healthy Panther Promise is being rolled out this week during a virtual town hall meeting with students and their families where participants will be able to share their thoughts and ask questions. The rollout includes the written pledge, website updates, an explanatory video, virtual meetings and weekly email updates.
“We’re entering uncharted territory, but I can assure everyone we’re doing everything in our power to protect the health and safety of our university community,” said Dr. Richard Pappas, Davenport University president. “With the help of the university’s Coronavirus Preparedness Taskforce and with the advice of medical professionals, the health department and the Center for Disease Control, we are initiating specific guidelines and practices to limit exposure and protect everyone during this pandemic.”
The Healthy Panther Promise is a COVID-19 health and safety agreement all students, faculty, staff and guests will be asked to sign and follow to prevent exposure and transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Guidelines include wearing masks while on campus, requiring testing for athletes and students living on campus, and maintaining social distancing guidelines in the classroom.
The goal of the Healthy Panther Promise is to:
- Protect the health and safety of the university community
- Support emotional well-being with flexibility, adequate notice and resources
- Ensure students receive a quality education and achieve their career goals
“The decision to reopen our campus was not made lightly but we’ve found through surveys that it’s important to many students to have the on-campus experience as part of their learning. We’re working to accommodate that desire as much as possible,” said Dr. Pappas.
The pledge is organized into four parts:
- Check my Health Daily: If a student experiences any of the COVID-19 alert symptoms, they should stay home and check with their health care provider.
- Protect myself and others with distancing and cleanliness: Maintain social distancing practices, wash hands often, refrain from sharing desktops or equipment, wipe down study areas often, avoid handshakes, and other guidelines.
- Protect myself and others with personal protective equipment: Wear facial coverings or masks in public areas, utilize additional PPE when required for labs and other activities.
- Report unsafe working conditions: Report unsafe working conditions to the public safety department in your community or anonymously through the EthicsPoint hotline.
Upon their return to campus, students will receive safety kits containing masks, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. On campus there will be signage enforcing the Healthy Panther Promise and reminding everyone of the guidelines in place. Virtually, reminders will be posted on classroom sites and through student portals as well.
Davenport’s W.A. Lettinga Campus located in Grand Rapids offers students living arrangements with private rooms for up to 800 students. The university has also set aside a floor in its residential living aside to accommodate quarantine needs. The university is encouraging students to submit their housing application as soon as possible.
The university has also hired a private cleaning firm to initiate cleaning protocols that include a new antimicrobial fogging system that effectively eliminates contaminates across all surfaces.
Classes for the fall semester begin Sept. 8.