A message to the Olin community from Dean Mark P. Taylor
Today, I want to let you know about a new way WashU Olin has been called upon to assist the entire Washington University community during the coronavirus crisis. At the same time, I want to further assure you of the care, forethought and priority we are placing on our community’s health and well-being as we navigate the pandemic.
When the fall semester begins, the guest rooms at Knight Center will be among the on-campus spaces used as a quarantine site for students suspected of contracting COVID-19. To further clarify, students who are confirmed to have COVID-19 will be isolated in housing in other parts of the WashU campus. Knight Center will only be a quarantine site for students who may have been in contact with someone who has contracted the virus.
We still intend to use classroom space in Knight Center, and I would like to share with you why our WashU experts are confident that these two uses are compatible.
To start with, the fourth- and fifth-floor guest rooms operate on separate air handling systems, meaning air that flows through our Knight Center classrooms never mixes with that of the guest rooms. We have also increased the flow of outside ventilation in accordance with public safety guidelines.
Quarantined students have very specific paths through which they will enter and exit the building. Signs will limit their movement and direct staff, students and faculty safely through the building. Meals will be delivered to students’ room. We have further lowered the building density by moving EMBA classes off campus. To be very clear, quarantine operations at Knight Center will be sealed off from the rest of the building. Two security guards each will be stationed on the fourth and fifth floors to enforce the quarantine, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We have world-class facilities and state-of-the-art technology in Knight Center that we want to use for our students’ benefit. Meanwhile, we have been guided through these decisions and protocols by WashU’s world-class medical experts, who assure us we have done everything we can to conform with campus protocols and public health guidelines. Further, I cannot overstate the professionalism of the Knight Center housekeeping staff and the gravity with which they have approached this task.
I am confident that by following the best advice of WashU medical experts and the St. Louis public health community, we will, working together, make the fall semester a success.