With several changes made during this fall semester, eating and working at Ball State University has also adapted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dining Services will align itself with guidance from the National Association of College & University Food Services Organization, government agencies, state and local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the Ball State website.
In-person dining areas will be spaced appropriately to allow people to maintain physical distancing, the website states. Indoor diners will be limited in accordance with state and local capacity guidelines, and outdoor dining areas will be prioritized where feasible.
All meals will be available as to-go options in take-out containers with individually-wrapped utensils.
Beverages and self-service of food for things like salad bars, buffets and condiments stations will be restricted, and the use of reusable mugs and tumblers for beverages will be temporarily suspended. Reusable kitchen items like china plates, flatware and cups will be replaced with a single-use option.
Additionally, food service hours will be extended throughout the day to reduce crowding as much as possible.
Apart from regularly cleaning and disinfecting places, hand sanitizers will be made available at all units, the website states.
Floor decals will be installed at various locations to designate where to order, wait and pick up food and beverages in order to accommodate physical distancing. Entrances and exits will also be marked to accommodate physical distancing. Signage will be placed on how to stop the spread of COVID-19 and promote everyday protection measures.
Dining Services will ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible, the plan states.
Touchless payment options will be used as much as possible. Physical barriers like sneeze guards and partitions will be placed at cash registers or other food pickup areas where maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet is difficult.
Working on campus
Beginning July 1, most campus buildings opened, and the university resumed more of its regular on-site campus activities and operations. However, Ball State’s employees have to continue abiding by some COVID-19 safety protocols for the fall 2020 semester.
Alternative work options:
Due to the pandemic, the university established a target of reducing the number of employees on campus at any given time by at least one-third, according to the reopening plan approved by the Ball State Board of Trustees. Supervisors of different departments, with approval from their respective vice presidents, helped coordinate this reduction through safety measures including utilizing remote work for certain employees when appropriate.
Additionally, employees have been asked to utilize virtual services like WebEx, Microsoft Teams and Zoom when feasible for conducting things like meetings. Departments also considered alternating days or weeks and staggered scheduling during the workday for their on-site staffing patterns in an effort to minimize face-to-face interaction.
Ball State employees are required to complete a self-certification form, which includes questions about the employee’s health, prior to returning to campus, according to the plan. They should also monitor their health for any symptoms of COVID-19, not come to campus if they have any symptoms and inform their supervisor accordingly.
Those employees that belong to a higher-risk group, are pregnant or wish to seek disability accommodations related to returning to work need to contact the university’s human resource services.
While the university will coordinate COVID-19 testing and contact tracing for its students and employees, it also encourages them to get their flu vaccinations this fall due to the possibility of increased COVID-19 cases later in 2020. Ball State will expand access to and availability of annual flu vaccinations for all students and employees to help accommodate this need and encourage people to get vaccinated.
Face masks and other preventative steps:
According to the plan, all people on campus, including students and employees, are required to wear face masks or shields when inside a campus building or campus transportation and when physical distancing is not feasible. Those who have a health condition preventing them from wearing a mask should contact the university’s human resource services.
For students, their supervisors should remind them of the requirement and allow them an opportunity to comply before referring them to the Office of the Dean of students. Members of the public who don’t comply with the rule will first be offered a disposable face mask, if possible, and will be asked to leave the campus and given options to be served remotely if they continue to refuse wearing a mask.
The University Police Department is not responsible for enforcing this face mask/shield rule and should not be contacted regarding such issues.
While people can supply their own face masks or shields, Ball State will be providing up to two washable and reusable face masks to every faculty, staff and on-campus student who requests them. Apart from face masks, university employees, like everyone else, are required to follow physical distancing guidelines and personal sanitization measures whenever possible. In addition, the university will be implementing heightened cleaning and disinfecting measures throughout campus.