5/26/2020 Virtual Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees approved a virtual August commencement among other items at its remote meeting in late May.

It’s official: Commencement will be virtual for this August’s graduating class.

This and seven other measures were approved by the Board of Trustees Tuesday in an effort to keep campus safe as it reopens this fall.

The other items approved by the members in their virtual meeting are as follows:

  • Adopting the previously discussed fall academic calendar
  • Giving students who can’t or won’t come to campus the option of online courses
  • De-densifying living and learning spaces reflecting medical guidance
  • Implementing enhanced disinfecting measures for campus facilities
  • Creating a framework to identify the most vulnerable on campus
  • Enforcing a face mask protocol in certain circumstances
  • Administering the “Protect Purdue Pledge”

An "extensive course catalogue" of online courses will be offered so students will still be able to make progress toward completing their degrees if they are unable or unwilling to return to campus in the fall, according to a press release after the meeting.

Board chairman Mike Berghoff said in a later phone interview that the University is focusing on the biggest courses in terms of putting classes online.

“We’re trying to make available the most in-demand and popular classes,” he said.

Student-occupant capacities will also be reduced by 50% and lecture halls will be able to house no more than 150 students. Space between instructor and students will be at least 10 feet, and mobile, Plexiglas barriers will provide additional protection, according to the release.

Residential spaces on campus will provide a radius of at least 6 feet per person, or 10 feet of space between residents while sleeping. 

Berghoff explained a few details about this framework, which ranks categories of risk and encourage people to participate so they can identify where they are on the spectrum. 

The pledge includes commitments like daily temperature checks, self-screening, personal hygiene and social distancing.

The Protect Purdue Implementation Team has worked with the board to recommend best measures for campus, which are then approved and adopted for the future semester. Berghoff said there were student representatives on some Protect Purdue committees.

The board did not discuss a few measures Purdue President Mitch Daniels mentioned in a Washington Post column published Monday. He referenced items such as contact tracing, the cancellation of concerts and convocations and a kit delivered to every Boilermaker come fall, including masks and a thermometer.

Berghoff said that for the most part, it’s just figuring out the sequence of approvals from the board for the various items brought to its consideration.

Daniels didn’t mention the future of Purdue athletics in his column. Berghoff said the board is concentrating on measures to help students arriving on campus first, and because athletics involves other organizations like Big Ten and NCAA, it's not as easy to make independent decisions.

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