Due to COVID-19, Albion College Campus Safety implemented new changes and protocols this year. Not only does Campus Safety have to follow and enforce the Together Safely protocols, but it has enacted some of its own policies as well.
In order to stop lines from forming outside of Campus Safety during move-in, which was a usual occurrence when students arrived on campus and had to update old IDs, one of the first new policies that Albion saw enacted was issuing new IDs to students rather than having them update old cards. Parking permits were sent to students’ KC boxes this year for the same reason of avoiding lines of students coming into the Campus Safety office to pick them up.
In addition to policies being implemented outside of Campus Safety offices, new installations have been made within the offices in order to comply with Michigan’s COVID-19 guidelines. Students who need to go into the offices are met with a glass barrier between the lobby and where the dispatchers sit. Even with these glass barriers individuals must wear masks inside the office. Because Campus Safety is open 24 hours a day, they are constantly sanitizing office areas, vehicles and entrances as well.
Despite increased sanitation and social distancing regulations, Campus Safety is not immediately inviting students or others to meet in the offices. They are offering a virtual interaction with students to take reports and get statements.
“We are trying to be sensitive to this issue, as a student or someone who needs to report a crime or other incident often wants to talk to someone in person,” said Kenneth Snyder, the director of Campus Safety, via email. “Talking on the phone or through glass is very impersonal.”
The biggest impact of COVID-19 for Campus Safety has been on transportation. Campus Safety is still providing safety escorts for students after dark, but those escorts are limited to driving students to their individual residence halls or other open campus buildings. Dispatchers are also using golf carts to get around campus and to help assist those who can’t walk due to injury or disability.
“With no BritBus running and students not permitted to visit students in other residence halls, we are doing significantly less transportation than we have in any of the past 18 years,” said Snyder.
In addition to helping students get around campus, Campus Safety also now has the responsibility of helping students get into campus buildings if they don’t have their keycards on hand. All campus buildings are locked without keycard access. This has increased the number of building admittances Campus Safety and has changed their building opening and closing routines.
Campus Safety also has more staff working because of the increase in workload and to make sure they are in compliance with health and safety policies. While they haven’t hired more officers, they moved staff dedicated to transportation to other Campus Safety work.
“We are also adding student safety and resource officers to assist with some of the responsibilities of Campus Safety,” said Snyder. “That will be helpful because these first two weeks have been very busy for us.”
The new policies Campus Safety enacted include providing services to students who test positive for COVID-19. They have obtained PPE suits, masks, and gloves that officers can use if a positive test occurs. They have also worked with Albion police and ambulance service about how to respond to students who may have COVID-19.
In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, Campus Safety has developed procedures to have their dispatch operate remotely.
“This enables us to be able to provide essential services even if we have a situation where few officers or dispatchers could physically report to work,” said Snyder.
While following through with their own policies, Campus Safety has to regulate and enforce the Together Safely protocols. They are taking an educational approach, reminding students of the health protocols.
“We have generally found students to be agreeable when we remind them of the protocols.I think it’s hard for students to remember or understand that mask wearing is required outside as well, said Snyder. “Most importantly, it is up to each student, faculty, and staff member to abide by those regulations if we want to have and complete a successful fall semester in person.”
When called, Campus Safety will respond and evaluate situations to determine what needs to be done. Campus Safety will document and refer students who are violating the protocols to the student conduct process.
“It would really be great if students felt comfortable enough to talk with their peers about these issues first without involving Campus Safety. I recognize that this is not always practical though,” said Snyder. “As the semester goes on and everyone becomes more familiar with the protocols, there may very well be less warning and more documentation.”
Campus Safety does not make or determine any rules in effect on Albion’s campus, regardless of whether this is relative to COVID-19 guidelines or any other policies and expectations.
“We want students to have the best experience possible within the limitations and protocols that have been established by the College. However, it is our role to try to enforce those rules and expectations as well,” said Snyder.