The COVID-19 pandemic has produced a wave of uncertainty around the world – further destabilizing global health, ecological sustainability, food security, and economic conditions. To ensure the well-being of our faculty, student body, and staff, EARTH University has implemented a series of rigorous protocols to be followed at all times within our two campuses in Costa Rica.
In both cases, a policy of minimal in-person staffing has been enforced. At the La Flor Campus (Guanacaste), the Center for Precision Agriculture continues operations, even as most of the staff are working remotely. At the Guácimo Campus (Limón), many staff members are working from home. Those who perform essential daily operations and support student health – such as the Cafeteria, Maintenance, and Student Affairs teams – are working specific shifts and following protocols: upon entering and exiting the grounds, they have their temperature taken, and while on campus, they abide by rules for handwashing and use of personal protective equipment (PPE), among others.
The University has also organized on-campus residents into different cohorts to prevent the spread of the virus, in case of a contagion event. Consequently, special hours have been established for visiting certain high-traffic areas of the campus, such as the cafeteria and the bank. Residents are prohibited from entering commercial areas and farms, unless access is required for their job. In all enclosed spaces and whenever there is interpersonal contact, masks must be worn by all. Cleaning and handwashing stations have been set up in each area, and instructional signs have been posted to protect people’s health.
“The leadership and Medical Services teams have been wonderful allies during this time, as have all members of the community,” said Arturo Condo, President of EARTH University. “We are in constant coordination with local and national authorities and with every stakeholder of the University, including graduates and donors. This has helped us analyze all possible scenarios and be measured in our actions. We are grateful for everyone’s contributions, which have made our institution stronger than ever.”
For now, academic coursework is being completed virtually. Professors and students have adopted different platforms and digital tools to continue the learning process. However, the University has already received the Costa Rican Ministry of Health’s endorsement to phase into a controlled, hybrid online/in-person learning modality. To be successful, strict protocols must be followed in every academic space, such as laboratories, farms, and classrooms.
Through these measures, we seek to empathetically safeguard the wellness of the entire EARTH community.