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Communications and campus signage as people return to campus this summer and fall

Boise State University plans to welcome its students back to campus this fall to a future-facing blend of in-person, online and hybrid educational experiences designed to keep students safe, on track to reach their academic goals and meaningfully connected to each other and their faculty.

This month’s spike in COVID-19 cases and the temporary facilities closure illustrate just how seriously the entire campus community must take the threat of the virus and embrace the steps needed to slow it down.

Boise State’s full Reintegration Guide has the details of what needs to be done, but at the core are four major steps everyone needs to take:

  • Maintain physical distance of at least six feet whenever possible.
  • Wear facial coverings inside – and outside where continuous physical distancing is not possible.
  • Frequently wash your hands for at least 30 seconds, and disinfect work and common areas.
  • Stay off campus if you experience any symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 — and follow the reintegration guidelines on what to do next.

To achieve this collective goal, faculty, staff and students across campus will have to work together on modeling and messaging these new behaviors.

A coalition of marketing and communications experts from across campus have been working with the Reintegration Committee to provide the backbone of how to best communicate, influence and impact these behaviors. This is a quickly moving target, however, and more information and opportunities will become available before the start of the fall semester.

In essence, there are three prongs of attack – a social marketing effort to build buy-in among all campus communities, a suite of signs and reminders across campus to reinforce the behaviors required, and university-wide language and talking points to help supervisors, campus and student leaders, faculty and others best articulate and support what we have to do as a university.

“We Are Broncos: We’ve Got This Covered”

The President’s Office is leading a social marketing campaign to create campus-wide buy-in, support and engagement with the effort that all faculty, staff, students and visitors will have to take to keep campus safe and open.

This campaign will consist of videos, social media and digital marketing, campus posters and banners and more. Though it involves partners from across campus, the Office of Communications and Marketing is responsible for managing the campaign.

Units who are interested in placing posters, reminders and additional assets from this campaign in their common areas can connect with Melinda Keckler, director of marketing at melindakeckler@boisestate.edu.

Campus COVID-19 Signage

Boise State has created a suite of public health and safety signs designed to encourage and enforce the behaviors needed to keep campus open this fall – required facial coverings, physical distancing, increased personal and public hygiene and daily self-checks for symptoms.

  • Facilities, Operations and Maintenance (FOAM) will install consistent signage where needed across campus — including all floor decals that will be temporarily installed in areas where they will not cause damage and are needed to reinforce physical distancing. No signs have been installed yet, but they will be in place before the bulk of people return to campus.
  • Units that anticipate having the need for physical distancing reminders on their floors, for example around food or service desk queues, should fill out the service request form with FOAM. Please note, FOAM strongly encourages employees to wait until they return to campus and assess the gaps in their signage needs before making a request.
  • Laboratory signage will continue to be coordinated by Environmental Health, Safety and Sustainability.
  • FOAM will prioritize installation of these signs first in facilities occupied this summer, and then in facilities occupied by reintegrating departments. We expect that all signage will be installed by the end of July.
  • Only after these public health and safety signs are all installed, units that want additional signage can download and print pre-designed public health and safety signs or order specialized signs that match the overall suite through Printing and Graphics.

Email, web content and other communications with campus and community audiences

This is a complicated time for Boise State and every other university in the world; all students, faculty and staff are being asked to radically change their behaviors and to consider many previously unanticipated factors in their approach to learning, working and interacting.

University leadership acknowledges that some reintegration-related emails have been sent after or at the end of the business day. We recognize the concern this has caused some employees and departments who are pivoting to support their colleagues, students and vendors. It is never anyone’s aim to send critical information after hours, however, this is a very dynamic and rapidly evolving situation. In order to honor our commitment to campus to provide timely information, we may – at times – have to send after hours communications. Supervisors and divisional leaders are encouraged to discuss utilization of phone trees or other methods of communication to ensure employees can respond appropriately.

All faculty and staff who are in a position to communicate with on- and off-campus audiences should take extra precautions to ensure that we are all sending the same messages and asking the same things of our students, faculty, staff, visitors and supporters.

The guiding document for all aspects of campus reintegration will remain the easily searchable Reintegration Guide, which will be updated online as needed. Whenever possible, refer to the guide directly in communications and websites. Don’t recreate the details of this document in other web pages or print pieces, because if the university has to adapt its approach, the change may not be reflected elsewhere. That could cause confusion and undermine the effectiveness of the plan.

For questions that are not answered in the Reintegration Guide, please email covid@boisestate.edu.