COVID on Campus: Ensuring Safety for Students and Staff

Young people with face masks back on campus amid coronavirus pandemic

Nearly 1,000 colleges or universities across the US have welcomed students back to campus for the fall and now face the unfamiliar task of keeping case counts low amid a global pandemic. A recent Office Pulse study helps to outline some of the best ways to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty and staff. 

While much emphasis has been placed on the virus’ effect on people over 60, young people are not immune to the coronavirus. A recent Harvard study of hospitalized COVID-19 patients aged 18-34 found a staggering one in five required intensive care. Keeping students safe is paramount and should not be taken lightly. 

The Office Pulse survey found a majority (54%) were uncomfortable with sending their immediate family members to college campuses this fall. However, on-campus mask mandates, temperature scans and limited capacity requirements all promise to bring more comfort to families. Over two-thirds (68%) said frequent cleanings would make them more comfortable. 

What features would make you feel more comfortable with your immediate family member returning to their college or university?

Frequent cleanings 68%
Limited capacity requirements 67%
Mask mandates 64%
Temperature scans 59%
Messaging from the school 39%
Pandemic news/updates 38%

Arguably one of the most important aspects of responding effectively to the coronavirus is education. SafeColleges offers training courses, daily health check-ins and tips for staying healthy – directed specifically toward college students and staff.

Mitigating the risk of COVID-19 on college campuses will require not only care but constant attention. A recent study by researchers at Harvard and Yale suggests using rapid, inexpensive tests to screen everyone on campus every two days. That, coupled with ‘strict behavioral interventions,’ such as mask requirements and symptom monitoring, would ‘permit the safe return of students to campus,’ according to the study. Captivate | Scan can give colleges the hands-off help they need with face mask detection, a body temperature scanner, a hand sanitizer dispenser and a custom communication portal.

Take a data-driven approach to keeping outbreaks to a minimum. Few places have handled the pandemic as effectively as New Zealand, and now the country’s government has made its contact tracing app, SaferMe, available for use – for free – by businesses and organizations around the globe. Tech company Avaya also released a contact tracing technology that employs AI virtual agents for an advanced approach to reducing coronavirus risk.

As much as college administrators love to plan, the best coronavirus response is often a truly flexible one. Dartmouth College’s famous D-Plan offers students the opportunity to customize their own term plans to suit their preferences, a policy that has come in handy throughout the pandemic. When one-size-fits-all is truly out of the question, let students communicate their own needs – and design their own plans to accommodate them.

A safe return to campus isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple plan, carried out thoroughly and effectively, can make all the difference.

About Office Pulse

Office Pulse by Captivate offers marketers timely analysis and insights from a proprietary panel of upscale professionals in the top markets. The Office Pulse panel of more than 8,000 influential consumers and business decision makers includes C-level executives, Millennials, middle management, small business owners, working women and working moms.

About Captivate

Known for its vast network of nearly 12,000 elevator displays located in 1,600 premier office buildings across North America, Captivate connects advertisers with 13 million unique monthly viewers through creative, research-driven and Nielsen-measured advertising and marketing programs. By engaging its viewers with timely news and actionable information that helps balance the personal and professional demands of the workday, Captivate provides advertisers with a highly desirable and difficult-to-reach audience of affluent and influential business professionals. Founded in 1997, Captivate is owned by Generation Partners. For more information, please visit