Coronavirus Safety in the Classroom and Laboratory
(August 1, 2020)
Academic Senate Approved Policy
The following policy applies and shall be enforced during the current coronavirus pandemic as recognized by the State of Ohio.
As a consequence of the current coronavirus pandemic, students are expected to abide by all safety and health policies implemented by the University’s Office of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety as well as all applicable local, state, and federal mandates. Currently, the City of Youngstown and the State of Ohio mandates a face covering/mask in public spaces. Consistent with federal, state and local guidelines, University Health Guidelines require that all individuals within campus buildings, including students, properly wear face coverings except when working alone within an enclosed area. Face coverings are in addition to maintaining appropriate social distancing when possible. Exceptions to wearing a face covering in a classroom or laboratory must be for justifiable reasons as approved by the Office of Disability Services. Repeated violations of any coronavirus safety and health policy shall be handled in accord with The Student Code of Conduct.
The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted how lecture and laboratory sessions shall be conducted. To that end, students are expected to abide by all safety and health policies implemented by the University’s Office of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety as well as all applicable local, state, and federal mandates. For further information, students are most strongly encouraged visit the YSU’s Coronavirus Information web page.
Everyone at YSU is encouraged to adhere to these guides to help ensure the safest environment possible. Therefore, in addition to YSU’s Coronavirus Information web page, students are also strongly urged to visit the following web pages:
Lecture and Laboratory Safety Procedures
Students are expected to know, understand, and follow all safety policies, especially those being implemented this semester as part of Covid-19 protections. The following rules/procedures are in addition to those normally implemented during the semester and, in particular, expand upon those that already exist for the laboratory component of the course.
Entering and Exiting the Classroom/Laboratory. Students should enter the lecture hall, Ward Beecher Science Hall, Room 3022 (auditorium), in as socially distant means as possible through the door leading from the 3rd floor lobby area. When the weather is agreeable, students shall exit the classroom single row by single row through the doors at the front of the auditorium. If possible, please do not exit through the backdoor of the auditorium.
There is only one entry door to the laboratory (Cushwa Hall, Room 2123). Students should enter and leave the laboratory in as socially distant means as possible.
Assigned Seating. Students shall be assigned particular seats in a given lecture and laboratory session. The purpose for assigned seats is for possible contact tracing should it be needed as well as to maintain social distancing guidelines to the extent practical. Dr. Cooper will determine the means by which seats shall be assigned.
Attendance shall be taken, although lecture attendance is not a grade component (see the web page entitled Attendance). The University shall use of the “YSU app” and “QR codes” to take attendance. Attendance of laboratory sessions is mandatory and shall be recorded by the instructor in a manner yet to be determined. In addition, students should use the “YSU app” to scan the “QR code” when entering the laboratory.
Disinfection of Seating Area. Disinfectant materials shall be provided both in the classroom and the laboratory.
Students shall be required to disinfect their sitting area before lecture. With the entire class needing access to the provided disinfectant material, it will take time for each student to properly disinfect the area in which they are sitting/have sat. To that end, students should move to their assigned seat as soon as possible before the class starts. In addition, if time is available, students should disinfect their area prior to leaving the lecture hall. To save time, as well as to ensure safety, students may wish to bring their own qualified disinfectant wipes (e.g., Clorox, Lysol, etc.; this is not an endorsement of any particular brand!). It might not be a bad idea in general for students to carry such items, including hand sanitizer, throughout their day while on campus.
For the laboratory, disinfection of the work bench has always been required and will be strictly enforced moving forward. Students shall disinfect their sitting area before and after a laboratory session. In addition, students will be required to disinfect all equipment used during a laboratory period.
Face Coverings. University policy requires students to properly wear a protective face covering in while in university buildings, in the classroom, and in the laboratory. Recently, the City of Youngstown and the State of Ohio imposed similar face covering mandates. Exceptions to wearing a face covering in a classroom or laboratory must be for justifiable reasons as approved by the Office of Disability Services. Repeated violations of any coronavirus safety and health policy shall be handled in accord with The Student Code of Conduct. In addition, the City of Youngstown shall fine persons found to be non-compliant with its face covering rule.
What is the purpose of a face covering? The purpose of a face covering is NOT to protect a person from aerosols, but rather to prevent large droplets from entering someone’s nose or mouth. As was recently noted by the Rev. Kenneth Simon, wearing a face covering is akin to the Golden Rule:
“If I want people to protect me from whatever they may have … to protect me when they are out in public … then I should show the same kindness by protecting them.”
(as quoted in The Vindicator, July 18, 2020: Masks become musts in Youngstown)
What is a proper face covering? There are three basic types of face coverings that are acceptable for meeting University policy. All must be properly worn such that the nose and mouth are covered.
One type of face covering is a reusable item that is typically made of washable cloth. To be reused, this type should be regularly sanitized or sterilized using appropriate means. Another type of face covering is a disposable, single use item that is typically made of non-cloth materials (e.g., paper). Disposable masks should never be reused regardless if sanitized or sterilized. Finally, a face shield is considered a face covering if it is properly drawn down over the nose and mouth. The shield is readily and should be regularly disinfected with appropriate materials. Wearing a mask under a face shield is not required, but is recommended when not speaking.
A special note on face shields worn in the laboratory: Students may find it more comfortable to wear a face shield in the laboratory as mandated eye protection as opposed to the traditional safety glasses. That is, an appropriately protective face shield can substitute for safety glasses. Yet, if a student chooses to wear a face shield while working in the laboratory, there will be times when the shield will need to be lifted to perform a particular function, e.g., using a microscope. If a student lifts their shield to conduct a procedure, it will be required that a properly worn mask be used as long as the shield is not in the appropriate protective position.
What if a student forgets or loses their face covering? Should a student enter the classroom or without a face covering, having forgotten or lost it, a limited supply shall be available in the STEM Dean’s office (Moser Hall, Room 2200) or the Department of Chemistry office (Ward Beecher, Room 5053). Should a student enter the laboratory without a face covering, having forgotten or lost it, a limited supply shall be available in the HHS Dean’s office (Cushwa Hall, Room 2110). Dr. Cooper or the laboratory instructor may also have one on hand – please ask. To remain in the lecture or laboratory, the student must acquire and properly wear a face covering.
What if a student refuses to wear a face covering? Should a student refuse to wear a face covering or not do so properly, Dr. Cooper or the laboratory instructor shall encourage the individual to comply. As noted above, a limited supply of disposable face coverings shall be available in the STEM Dean’s office (Moser Hall, Room 2200), the Department of Chemistry office (Ward Beecher, Room 5053), or the HHS Dean’s office (Cushwa Hall, Room 2110). Dr. Cooper and the laboratory instructor may also have one on hand. A non-compliant student shall be asked to leave the classroom/laboratory and only return when properly masked. Obstinate refusal to wear a face covering or repeated, intentional non-compliance shall be handled in accord with The Student Code of Conduct.
Social Distancing. The lecture hall will be set up to facilitate three to six feet distance between people to the greatest extent feasible. Students are expected to maintain a proper social distance as much as is practical.
In the laboratory, because certain exercises are to be performed in groups of two or more students, social distancing is problematic. To the extent possible, students should practice social distancing in the laboratory and minimize close contact with one another as much as is practical. At all times, however, a face covering is to be worn when social distancing is not possible. Also, as much as is practical, limit the time to less than 15 minutes when working together.
Food and Beverages. Food shall not be consumed in the classroom. This includes chewing gum, mints, and like items. Beverages in closed, sealed containers may be brought into the classroom, but never shared. NOTE: Coffee cups with a non-closable drink opening are not acceptable as sealed containers. Also, the use of straws regardless if the drink cup has a cover is not permitted.
Food and beverages and NEVER permitted in the laboratory.
Please report any “broken” links to Dr. Cooper
Youngstown State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, disability, age, religion or veteran/military status in its programs or activities. Please visit the EIT Home Page for contact information for persons designated to handle questions about this policy.
It is possible that portions of this web page are not wholly in accord with the American with Disabilities Act. If this is the case, a student currently enrolled in this course should contact Dr. Cooper (firstname.lastname@example.org; 330.941.1361) and compliant material shall be provided as soon as practical.