ERAU Sets Stage for June 30 Return of Classes

 - May 21, 2020, 3:45 PM

This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), which has resumed flight and housing operations, plans to reopen its campuses in Florida and Arizona for face-to-face instruction beginning June 30 with a series of health precautions in place.

The board of trustees unanimously voted in favor of the move, the university said. “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,” said Mori Hosseini, chairman of the university’s board of trustees.

ERAU outlined a series of measures that it plans to implement over the summer, including following all federal, state, and local guidance; limiting classroom capacity to ensure physical distancing; optimizing class schedules to minimize contact; pre-screening returning students; requiring cloth face coverings in common areas on campus; mandating daily wellness checks; installing plexiglass barriers and implementing “smart pathways;" and making sanitizers readily available.

“Our plan focuses on statistical risk testing, risk mitigation, support for contact tracing—and, most importantly, education,” said ERAU president P. Barry Butler. “We are continuing to educate our community on the risks, create redundancy across all of our safety standards, and finalize our testing protocols.”

The protocols are part of a “path forward” phased reopening plan. Butler said the university will remain transparent in what it knows and doesn’t know regarding the 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.”