Returning to a Safe and Effective Campus

Returning to a Safe and Effective Campus

Data-driven decisions for campus spaces are essential for creating a sustainable working and learning environment for students, faculty and staff. Technology that connects the campus under a single system provides clarity into how spaces are requested, used and maintained. Accruent’s campus solutions help prioritize safety, access and effective operations of campus facilities, and empower collaboration anytime, anywhere.

“Unprecedented” almost does not do the situation justice for higher education institutions in 2020. Leading up to the Fall semester, Registrars reported working feverishly on their third, fourth or even tenth iteration of the Fall curriculum, while the rest of campus support and facilities teams ensured space was adapted and ready to support a surge of students and faculty. While some university systems push forward with comprehensive plans to support an in-person semester and have gotten creative with creating safe space for classes, others have taken a more cautious approach with fully online experiences and others still are embracing a blended, hybrid approach and the organizational complexities that come along with it.

With decades of experience working with education institutions across the country, Accruent’s focus on providing technology to create data-driven campus spaces and facilities has continued to help administrators make informed decisions, adapt quickly to changes and pivot to completely new and novel operating models with less disruption.

Our Recommendations for the New Campus Normal

Return To Campus: A Guide to Safer Campus Spaces Gain clarity and guidance into best practices, insights and technology that will facilitate your safe return to campus.

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How Do You Create a Safer Campus?

Dynamic Class Scheduling

Capacity reduction for existing classrooms based on social distancing guidelines cuts class sizes by 50% to 90%. To counter this, consider adapting traditionally non-classroom spaces to create additional seats and simulcast lectures. Alternatively, divide course sections and have students alternate days in class and days online, effectively reducing room capacity burdens. Either way, course scheduling technology should be able to accept this level of adaptation and dynamic optimization, or the challenge will be even more difficult to manage. 

An empty classroom

Young man in study space writing in notebook

Tracking Access and Availability

Library carrels and student study nooks as first-come-first-serve amenities now present an area of potential risk. A safer, more thoughtful approach turns these areas into reservable resources that a student or staff member can book in advance or reserve on the spot. Better peace of mind for the user, a system of record for usage of that space, and an indication of relative safety creates a more informed campus experience. 

Maintaining Clean Spaces

Inform daily cleaning procedures with reporting on actual space usage to avoid wasted time and expenses for sanitization efforts. Hourly, daily and weekly reports can inform which spaces have been booked and which have been used, and by whom. Consider integration with ad-hoc technologies like room and desk signs or occupancy sensors for a deeper level of awareness through a single system of record to track the usage and cleaning of spaces. 

Accruent EMS screen on tablet displaying "Closed for Sanitation" from 2 pm to 3 pm

Young people with face masks back at work or school in office after lockdown

Faculty and Staff Experience

While creating a sustainable plan for classes has been a main focus, workspaces for staff and faculty also pose unique challenges. The key to getting back to work is creating space between people where it did not exist before. Office design changes are costly—especially when uncertainty remains high—but simple physical tagging of spaces is not very secure. A technology-centric approach to managing office spaces provides the control and visibility necessary to implement and quickly adapt a social distancing policy. Office hoteling for workspaces provides centralized control of space usage as well as invaluable utilization data, creating social distance and supporting a flexible work policy with less space left vacant.

Accurate, Reliable Campus Space Data

Reporting on how space has been booked and used on an hourly, daily and weekly basis will be invaluable information. This data can be used to inform policy changes, like advancing to the next phase of your return plan or amending to accommodate new capacity restrictions. It can correlate with other data sources like the registrar, campus security or visitor management to inform contact tracing and a rapid response in the event of any concerning event on campus. The data can also justify an increase or decrease in real estate investments or inform changes to office layout or overall design. A robust room booking platform can provide accurate, anytime access to business-critical utilization data.

young woman on campus

Actionable Insights Based on Real Time Regional Data

Accruent's robust analytics platform connects enterprise data sources to enable actionable insights for your decision-making. This platform can now source data from third-party sources like the COVID-19 Data Repository by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) and from Accruent space planning products like FAMIS 360 to create dashboards on the current state for all of your connected campuses.

Solutions to Support Your Return to Campus 

 

More Bookable Spaces

Give your constituency the peace of mind knowing they have a clean, safe space available when they need it. Optimize your faculty and staff workspaces and remain agile as strategies shift from phased returns, to split-shifts, to fully remote employees.

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Adaptable Academic Planning

Set seat fill restrictions and run optimization scenarios to create an academic plan to maximize availability without sacrificing safety. Know that your space scheduling solution can support complex scenarios and last-minute changes using data direct from your campus SIS.

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More Connected Staff

Create video conferences and room bookings in a single action and quickly join video meetings from your everyday booking endpoints. Then ensure the room is ready for the meeting before you even arrive to connect your remote and in-person staff effortlessly.

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Additional Resources for Your Return to Campus

Wellesley College Tower Court

Explore Our Guide to Safer Campus Spaces

A space-by-space look into suggestions, recommendations and points of thought around the various types of space on campus.

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Seamlessly Bring Your People Together Across Physical and Virtual Spaces

With many universities keeping staff remote for the time being, make it as effortless as possible for them to connect and collaborate. Learn how EMS is investing in integrations with leading video conference technologies like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to make collaboration frictionless from anywhere. 

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people in meeting room attending to remote presenter

co-workers in an open workspace

Implement Hoteling for a Safer, More Efficient Office Strategy

Avoid costly reconfigurations while maximizing the staff that can safely make use of your office spaces and amenities. Create accessibility without sacrificing safety and manage efficient cleaning operations by knowing exactly when spaces are used and by whom.

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Further Explore Predictions for the Return to Campus

Accruent and EMS are in the fortunate position of having higher education clients across the country. This has given our team a unique, informed perspective on how schools small and large are adapting.

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Young men and women with backpacks walking down a hallway chatting

Student learning on university campus during covid-19 lockdown

Efficiently Create Social Distancing with EMS

Take a detailed look at how EMS can be used to encourage social distancing on campus. This includes decreasing student density in classrooms, managing time between classes to reduce foot traffic and navigating space efficiency losses due to new policies. 

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Request a Demo today, and see how Accruent's higher education solutions can help.