Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to reopen the institution’s residential campuses in Florida and Arizona for face-to-face instruction on June 30. With health precautions in place, Embry-Riddle will resume face-to-face instruction, in keeping with its Path Forward strategy, President P. Barry Butler announced.
“We are excited about the return of students to Embry-Riddle’s residential campuses,” said Mori Hosseini, chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees. “We continue to review all progress and monitor every phase of the strategy. We believe that a structured, cautious return to normal operations will provide a platform for our institution’s long-term success and better prepare us for the fall semester. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is well positioned for this next step. Our safety focus is unparalleled and our board is unanimous in supporting this decision.”
“We have resumed flight and housing operations on our campuses,” Dr. Butler said. “Beginning face-to-face classes on June 30 will mark the next critical milestone. Our plan focuses on statistical risk testing, risk mitigation, support for contact tracing – and most importantly, education. We are continuing to educate our community on the risks, create redundancy across all of our safety standards, and finalize our testing protocols.”
Some of the key elements of Embry-Riddle’s Summer B plan include these and other precautions: classroom capacity will be limited to ensure physical distancing (six feet of separation); Plexiglass barriers and “smart” pathways will be used to help reduce contact between individuals; class schedules will be optimized to minimize contact; returning students will be pre-screened for risk factors; cloth face coverings will be mandatory in all common areas on campus, indoors and outdoors; and daily wellness checks and physical distancing will also be mandatory.
To ensure transparency, Dr. Butler added, Embry-Riddle will continue to convey what it knows, and what it does not yet know about the ever-evolving health crisis. “We cannot predict a spike in new cases of Covid-19, for example, and we don’t know what new federal, state or local rules might affect us, going forward,” he said. “We do know that consistently adhering to strict health precautions such as physical distancing, hand washing, and face coverings will reduce our risks. We have called on everyone in the Embry-Riddle community to do their part to ensure good health as we take our first, cautious steps toward more normal operations.”
Embry-Riddle has been posting frequent updates to its Covid-19 informational webpage since January. Dr. Butler emphasized that the university’s Path Forward phased reopening plan is unique to Embry-Riddle, which “lives and breathes safety,” and it might not be the right choice for all institutions.