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Coronavirus: Guidelines released for colleges, universities

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Colleges and universities must require face coverings for all employees and also must have a plan for testing and isolating students and staff who show symptoms of coronavirus, according to guidelines released by Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health.

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“As our campuses seek to re-engage in more normal operations, the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and campus visitors must always be the number one priority,” the guidelines read.

Face masks are not required when prohibited by law or regulation, when working alone or if there is a health reason that would prevent a person from wearing a mask.

If wearing a face mask would make teaching more difficult, such as in foreign language classes, staff should consider wearing a clear face shield.

Students are recommended to wear a face covering.

When returning to campus, schools should welcome students and staff back in strategic phases.

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All visitors and students should also keep a minimum of 6 feet apart while on campus.

All employees should also undergo daily health assessments, which include taking their temperature and monitoring for a fever, coughing or trouble breathing.

Campuses should use the most recent and evidence-based approaches to contact tracing, coronavirus testing and public health interventions, according to the guidelines.

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As a recommended best practice, schools should create a team focused on monitoring infection reporting and evaluating special accommodations. Schools should consider using a mass communication system to promote health precautions, update on classroom and facility closures and notify people of heightened risks.

The guidelines recommend that colleges close non-essential buildings and common areas to keep cleaning efforts on areas used the most by students and staff.

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Schools should consider staggering class start and end times to make sure there’s enough time for cleaning between classes and to limit foot traffic in hallways and elevators.