The following plan outlines the actions to be taken by the chapter to prepare and handle reopening in Fall 2020.
The five residents of the chapter house will be considered a pod, meaning that masks will not be required in common spaces of the house, aside from specific circumstances, outlined below. While social distancing will be strongly encouraged and applied, when possible, it will not be mandatory, given the reduced space in the kitchen and living areas. Because of the limited size of the house, we are unable to change the flow of the house, and there is no need to change the occupancy.
There are two bathrooms in the house, both with one toilet and shower. The third floor bathroom is accessed through a resident's room and will therefore encounter some usability issues. However, in general the 3rd floor single and 2nd floor single will use the 3rd floor bathroom, and the 2nd floor double and 1st floor single will use the 2nd floor bathroom. Residents will be asked to keep all toiletries and bathroom supplies in their rooms, to prevent potential contamination. Furthermore, residents will come to an informal agreement and plan for shower times (day/night) to allow time between uses for cleaning and airing out. Furthermore, residents will be reminded with signage to wipe down surfaces and touch points that they’ve used, once they are done using the bathroom.
To organise laundry times, there will be a sign up sheet with morning and night shifts to coordinate the small laundry space and allow for cleaning after use. We will also ask that residents to refrain from shaking out their clothing in an effort to prevent the spread of germs. There will be signs posted in the laundry room reminding residents of these expectations.
While the inside of the house will be for residents only, the enclosed porch will be open to brothers of the chapter. Based upon the sq footage of the porch (13.5 ft * 16 ft), we will limit the number of people on the porch to 9 people at a time, to ensure they can properly social distance. This porch has its own entrance that will be used by non-residents to enter the area, so they do not need to go through the house. Inside the porch, masks will be required and social distancing will be enforced. Since we are just moving into the house, there is not much furniture on the porch, so we will not need to remove any furniture, just rearrange it to ensure people are 6 feet apart. Chapter members will be informed that they are not allowed to move furniture at any time or lose access to the porch area for the remainder of the semester. In cases where furniture can fit more than 1 person, signs will be put on the other seats to ensure only one person is using it at a time.
Our daily cleaning plan will involve a mixture of members cleaning up after themselves, as well as daily cleanings, to ensure the health and safety of the residents.
To aid in cleaning, there will be supplies of clorox wipes located in the living room, kitchen, and bathrooms. The residents will be asked to use these wipes to clean surfaces that they’ve touched, such as controllers, tabletops, handles, etc. Signs will be posted in these spaces to remind residents to participate in such cleaning. Signs in the kitchen will also enforce the need for members to clean appliances and dirty dishes immediately after use. The porch will also have clorox wipes for brothers to wipe down a surface once they are done using it, to ensure it is safe for the next brother.
Nightly cleanings will involve a rotation of residents wiping down all surfaces and high touch points in common areas of the house and the porch. These include keypads, handles, knobs, sinks, tables, countertops, etc.
The chapter has not used a cleaning service before and is beginning working with Fuzzy Fibres to determine costs of cleaning. To ensure the house is cleaned thoroughly, we will work with Fuzzy Fibres to do an enhanced cleaning of the house once every other week. We feel that this is appropriate as there are not many residents in the house. In the case that a resident of the house needs to quarantine, Fuzzy Fibres will be contacted to do an enhanced clean of the house. In the case that someone tests positive for COVID, we will work with Fuzzy Fibres to do a thorough Hazmat level cleaning of the house.
There will be several ways that we communicate the restrictions and regulations to the chapter and residents of the house. First, there will be a virtual chapter meeting held before the start of the academic term to inform the entire chapter of the new rules that will be in place to keep everyone safe. There will also be a meeting for the residents of the house to review the policies that specifically impact the house and the residents of the house. While many residents were involved in the creation of these policies, some were not so it is important to inform them of what’s been decided.
In these meetings we will inform the chapter when and where masks are required to be worn. This includes in the porch area, in a common space when a registered guest is in the common space, and when that person is quarantining and needs to leave their room. We will also discuss that if you’re not feeling well that you should follow quarantine procedure until test results are received, to ensure that the other residents remain healthy.
We will also remind members that it is everyone’s responsibility to limit the spread of COVID-19 at all times. To that end it will be everyone’s job to wipe down surfaces and items after they are done using them, to do their dishes immediately after use, and to even hold others accountable for following the rules. To that end we will require the residents of the house to wash their hands immediately upon entering the property.
There will be many signs posted in the house to remind members of their duties and responsibilities, in regards to keeping the house clean. There will be signs posted in the kitchen, living room, bathrooms, and porch reminding people to wipe down surfaces and items after using them. The porch, in particular, will have a lot of signage reminding brothers to social distance and wear masks. There will also be a sign posted in the laundry area to ensure that the residents don’t shake out dirty or wet clothes.
We will keep all members of the chapter consistently informed about the ever changing situation in regards to member health and safety. They will also be informed of any changes to rules and regulations, that might be adjusted after implementation. Alumni will receive a message prior to the beginning of the year updating them about our chapter’s response to the pandemic and ways that they’ll be allowed to participate with the chapter. They will also receive an update is there is a major change in policy, just to keep them aware. Our alumni advisors will receive at least weekly updates, so that they can be informed and provide the most useful and relevant advice. Families will also be kept aware of policies and rules that may have an impact on residents' living situation.
Our house already has people living on property who will be residents in the fall (the only people living on the property are next year's residents). However, our official move in start date will be August 17th. Prior to this date the chapter will work with Fuzzy Fibres to do a deep clean of the house, before the move-in period starts. Furthermore, before scheduled move in, the residents of the house will clean surfaces and high-touch point areas, to ensure the space is safe for the person to move in.
Move in times will be organized by a sign up sheet, where people can indicate the day that they are moving in. Only one person will be allowed to move in a day, as the move in period will be from 9-5 on the designated day. This is because most of the rooms are unfurnished and members may need to go buy and construct the furniture for their room, which may take some time. Furthermore, since we only have a handful of members moving in, we can afford to have full days for one person to move in.
Residents moving in will be allowed one helper who can be inside the house during the allotted move in time. Residents who are moving and their helpers must wear a mask and gloves while during the move in period. Residents of the house who have already moved in will be asked to either remain in their room or not be in the common areas of the house during another person’s move in time, to minimize possible exposure.
Residents moving in should bring with them:
Minimum 10 cloth masks
In the case that select rooms are ordered to quarantine by WPI, or because they are not feeling well but have not been tested yet:
Members will be encouraged to return to their permanent homes, when they can. If a resident chooses not to return home then they will be required to remain in their rooms at all times, except in the instance where they must leave (testing, bathroom, etc.). When they do need to leave their rooms, they will need to wear a mask and gloves, and will be reminded to wipe down what they touch, to ensure everyone else’s safety.
In order to provide the quarantining rooms with meals, the chapter will establish a room pairing system. The room who is paired with the quarantining room will be expected to provide the room with meals, when they are eating. These meals will be delivered to outside the quarantining rooms, with disposable dishes and silverware so that they do not need to be cleaned and can just be thrown away. The quarantining room will be provided a trash bag, so that they don’t need to leave their room to throw away their trash. This bag can be placed outside the door if it becomes full and another resident can throw it away.
We will try to rearrange the bathroom situation to ensure that the quarantining rooms have an isolated bathroom. If a room other than the 3rd floor single is quarantining, then the other residents will use the third floor singles bathroom as their primary restroom. However, since this bathroom is through someone's room, this may not always be an option, therefore it remains important to keep the 2nd floor bathroom clean. If the third floor single is quarantining then the other rooms will use the 2nd floor bathroom as their primary restroom.
Once a room has gone into quarantine, we will reach out to Fuzzy Fibres and request an enhanced cleaning of the spaces that the quarantining resident was in. This will include, at minimum, all common spaces and the porch.
The other residents will be notified that a room is in quarantine by a message in the house text chat and slack channel. This message will also have a reminder of the measures that will be enforced while someone is in quarantine.
The President will also inform Christine Kobza that a room in the house is quarantining but will not state who, unless they are given express permission by the quarantining resident. And all visitor and vendor logs will be organized to provide to the WPI contact tracing team.
However, since the entire house is a pod, it is likely that the entire house will need to quarantine at one time. If this is the case, then we will encourage all residents to return home, if they are able to. If they are unable to return home, all residents should stay in their rooms unless they need to leave. If a resident does need to leave their room then gloves and masks will be required in all areas of the house. Furthermore, residents will be reminded to wipe down surfaces that they touch and interact with.
In this case the bathroom and meal setups will remain unchanged, as the entire house is in quarantining. Furthermore, the entire house will be subject to an enhanced cleaning with Fuzzy Fibres.
A message will be sent out to the chapter informing them that the house is in quarantine and that the porch will be closed until the quarantine period has passed.
The president will send a message to Christine Kobza, informing her that the whole house has entered a quarantine. And all visitor and vendor logs will be organized to provide to the WPI contact tracing team.
In the event a chapter resident needs to isolate, we will encourage them to return to their permanent residence where possible. If that is not possible, the resident will be moved to a WPI isolation space.
We will contact Fuzzy Fibres to provide a hazmat level cleaning of the chapter property as soon as we become aware of an isolation situation.
We will alert the residents someone is isolating but will not share the name of the individuals unless they (the isolating resident) permit or ask us to do so.
We will alert Christine Kobza, Associate Director of Student Activities that someone requires isolation but will not share the name of the individuals unless they (the isolating resident) permit or ask us to do so.
We will assemble all visitor and vendor logs to provide to WPI contact tracing team members.
We do not have a meal plan; each resident will create their own plans for getting food.
Residents will have the ability to register 1 guest at the beginning of the semester that will be allowed in the house, as a guest during the fall semester. This registration process will include a sign up sheet, with basic information provided (name, address, contact info, etc.) and ensures that the resident agrees to only have that one person over. When a guest is in a common area, social distancing and masks will be required of all people present. Residents will be asked to inform the other residents when their guest is coming over and to ensure that there are no more than 2 guests at a time . There will be a log keeping track of when these guests arrive and leave, which will be available to the WPI Contact Tracing team, if necessary. Brothers will be required to clean all surfaces and items that their guests touch and will be expected to do a thorough cleaning of the area when they leave. Aside from these registered guests, no other guests will be allowed inside the house.
Non-resident brothers may use the porch to socialize, as described before. There will also be a sign in/out sheet for this space in order to aid in contact tracing. Non-brothers guests will not be allowed on the porch area.
We will maintain a list of all visitors to the house and property, to aid in WPI Contact Tracing.
We have decided to have hybrid style chapter meetings. There will be an in person chapter meeting yet brothers may choose to attend virtually, in case they are uncomfortable coming to campus for any reason. Chapter meetings will be held in a space on campus that can accommodate our size. Meetings will require masks and social distancing for all who choose to attend in person. We will also not sing during meetings, as singing is riskier than speaking.
Executive board meetings will be held solely virtually, to limit the amount of times that we are meeting in person.
We are currently waiting on guidance from the General Fraternity on their recommendations on modifying rituals to make them compliant with social distancing. However, we will ensure that our rituals follow all social distancing and safety guidelines.
All other events are being reevaluated to determine how to best approach the event (or the desired outcome) in a safe setting. We are considering wholly virtual options for many of our events, to ensure that our members are safe. We are specifically evaluating how to do community service solely virtually in order to keep our members safe. However, for other events we are hoping to have an in-person aspect to the event, to ensure that the beta experience is preserved. These events include brotherhood hangouts and events, which may take place outside or in other spaces on campus. We are also exploring virtual options for brotherhood events, to allow those who are away or uncomfortable attending in-person events a way to participate. We will also no longer be holding our fall retreat off campus, and are working on evaluating ways that we can make this event as impactful as possible, while ensuring member safety.
First we will explain the reasoning for all of the decisions that we have made, so that the rules and restrictions make sense and people aren’t wondering why we’re doing certain things. These explanations will appeal to the logic behind implementing these safety standards and we will be sure to point out the alternative. This will also involve answering questions about what we’re doing certain practices, so that all brothers understand why we’re doing what we’re doing.
Another way that we will create buy-in is by highlighting all of the good things that we are able to do. For one, we are lucky to have the ability to come back to campus and hang out as brothers. So the restrictions, while they may be upsetting and annoying are better than an alternative without the restrictions. Furthermore, we can highlight the excellent opportunity this is for us to try new things, that may be useful even after the pandemic. For instance some of the rush event ideas that we’ve had have been really cool and interesting, and they may be useful after the pandemic.
Lastly, we will approach the subject as brothers, rather than as exec to members. Which means that the subject will be approached from a personal standpoint, as in “I don’t want guests because it makes me feel unsafe in my own house”. By doing this, we are asking for personal respect, rather than mandating something without good reason. Explaining the reasoning from a personal standpoint will allow all brothers to further understand that these restrictions exist for a reason, and in this instance that reason is the safety and comfort of another brother.
Non-resident brothers who do not adhere to our policies will lose access to the porch area for a period of time. Furthermore, if the member is violating rules at meetings then they will not be allowed to attend certain events, for a set period of time. If the member continues to purposely defy the rules then they will be sent to our judiciary board and face a trial from them.
Resident brothers who do not adhere to the rules will also have to go to trial with the advisory board.
A member who consistently disregards the rules will face increasingly stern punishment from the judiciary board, eventually leading to a trial by chapter.
In order to aid us in the accountability conversations we can utilize our advisor board to give our decisions weight and merit. They may also be able to get the violator to understand why they should follow the rules, having a different perspective than the undergrads. Furthermore, it may be helpful to have someone from SAO/ the campus explain the reasoning behind some of the guidelines and restrictions.