The more an individual interacts with others, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. The risk of COVID-19 spread increases in IHE non-residential and residential (i.e., on-campus housing) settings as follows:
- Lowest Risk: Faculty and students engage in virtual-only learning options, activities, and events.
- More Risk: Small in-person classes, activities, and events. Individuals remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects (e.g., hybrid virtual and in-person class structures or staggered/rotated scheduling to accommodate smaller class sizes).
- Highest Risk: Full-sized in-person classes, activities, and events. Students are not spaced apart, share classroom materials or supplies, and mix between classes and activities.
- Lowest Risk: Residence halls are closed, where feasible.
- More Risk: Residence halls are open at lower capacity and shared spaces are closed (e.g., kitchens, common areas).
- Highest Risk: Residence halls are open at full capacity including shared spaces (e.g., kitchens, common areas).
COVID-19 is mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. It is thought that the virus may spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose or mouth, causing infection. Therefore, personal prevention practices (such as handwashing, staying home when sick) and environmental prevention practices (such as cleaning and disinfection) are important principles that are covered in this document. Fortunately, there are a number of actions IHE administrators can take to help lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread.