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Coronavirus & On Campus Housing: Plans, Precautions, and Management

Read how StarRez helped customers during COVID-19 with plans, precautions, and emergency management.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has raised many questions of risk mitigation, preparation, and response for housing operations across the globe.

Understanding and managing the plans and needs of hundreds or thousands of on campus residents during emergencies is critical and incredibly complex.  Historically, customers have leveraged StarRez to deal with a range of emergencies and natural disasters such as hurricanes.  Coastal Carolina University (CCU) used the StarRez Portal for their hurricane evacuation planning, communication, and management.  This week, the University of Delaware (UD) and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) adapted CCU’s solution for their own Emergency Preparedness tracking process.  RIT created a portal process in less than 1 hour for students remaining on campus to detail their dietary and medical needs allowing staff to accurately prepare and distribute meals and medication.

UD made the tough decision to have all classes online and allow students the option to stay on campus or relocate.  UD created a StarRez Portal process to manage their emergency plan and is ready to go live with it as soon as it is needed.  Residents will be able to use this process to provide their emergency contact and plan, clarify if they are staying on campus or relocating, when they are leaving and if a return date is known, any specific medical needs they have if they are staying on campus, and other critical details to effectively and accurately track all 7,500+ residents.

University of Delaware’s Online Emergency Preparedness Plan:

While the coming weeks and months are full of unknowns, there are some tactical considerations and solutions StarRez can provide to support your campus efforts.

Please contact us for assistance, guidance, resources, or support to help you utilize the StarRez Housing Portal, reporting, dashboards, or other functionality to manage any of your critical processes.  Key areas where StarRez solutions may help include:

Accurately accounting for students’ whereabouts

  • Collect relevant information from residents such as plans for spring break or relocation, current emergency contact information, and any medical needs.
  • Accurately reflect what students are checked in or out of room assignments and/or quarantined rooms.
  • The StarRez Housing Portal allows you to design and edit online forms to your needs when you need them. Students can make changes as their plans change so that you can access the most up to date information.
  • StarRez privacy flags ensure that only appropriate staff view confidential student information.

Managing and allocating spaces for isolation and/or quarantine

  • Share information with campus partners on the number of spaces that are allocated for isolation and/or quarantine, how many rooms are available, and what students are assigned to these spaces.
  • Integrate with campus systems to provide efficiencies for door access, etc.
  • Room structure and room attributes are easily re-configured and flexible enough to accommodate changes in the short-term. Connect a student’s existing room assignment with a temporary one to ensure all systems on campus reflect their current location, while maintaining records for historical and billing purposes.

Effectively keeping students informed

  • Schedule email blasts in advance or on demand, as you keep students informed about the latest decisions from campus leadership.
  • StarRez offers email and SMS text communication tools to make it easy to be proactive or reactive depending on what a situation may require.

Ensure spaces are clean and sanitized

  • Plan and schedule turnover of rooms that need to be cleaned and sanitized.
  • Automatically notify Housekeeping and facilities teams of rooms that need to be serviced.
  • Correctly identify the number of rooms that are available for isolation and/or quarantine and if the room is available for a student.

Accommodating changing landscape and plans

  • As schools cancel international travel and study abroad program, you may need to pull data out of StarRez to identify student information for communication, available rooms, student emergency plans, etc.
  • Reconfigure room structure at any time to accommodate changing needs.
  • Create new forms on the StarRez Student Portal to request updated information from students. For example, the collection of dietary needs and medical needs for those in isolation/quarantine.  Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) created a portal process in less than 1 hour for students to detail their dietary needs.  This will be sent to dining so they can accurately prepare and distribute meals.

Share resident updates across the institution

  • Take the latest information submitted by students and share across the housing staff and other departments using dashboards and emailed reports.
  • Schedule reports to be sent at regular intervals to capture each day’s updates.
  • StarRez native reporting tools are intuitive to use and allow for exporting into various formats and delivery methods.

Other Resources

As this situation evolves, here are some helpful resources in your discussions and planning:

The World Health Organization’s Recommendations for Getting Your Workplace Ready

ACUHO-I Resource Page on COVID-19

The Chronicle’s Best Practices for Quarantine

StarRez Customer Emergency Management Resources & Support (requires Login):

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Joe Lindwall
A member of the StarRez team since 2006, Joe has extensive higher education and software customer relationship and sales experience.

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