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Georgetown College science faculty tests classroom ventilation in preparation for upcoming fall semester

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the campus community at Georgetown College has pulled together in extraordinary ways, with faculty, staff, coaches and students all using their unique talents to improve the college and finish the semester strong.

Now, as the college prepares for the fall, the work continues to ensure a great fall semester on campus. Professor of Biology Dr. Tracy Livingston, Professor of Chemistry Dr. Todd Hamilton, Vice President of Enrollment Management Dr. Jonathan Sands Wise, and Keith Burke are using their unique skillsets and working together to test classroom ventilation on campus and help with plans to keep students healthy.

They are currently running a series of experiments in classrooms across campus using carbon dioxide as a tracer gas to see how fast each room can clear the carbon dioxide. The experiments simulate sitting in a classroom and exhaling carbon dioxide.

Georgetown College’s science faculty is testing classroom ventilation in preparation for the fall semester.

“We then can use an equation that can help determine disease transmission risk,” said Livingston. “Once we know how well ventilated a room is, we will decide how many students can be in the room and for how long while keeping the transmission risk low. This will help keep students and faculty healthy.”

Along with proper social distancing, wearing protective face gear, and other safety protocols, proper room ventilation is crucial to keeping students, faculty, and staff healthy. These experiments will allow the college to accurately measure the best way to keep members of our campus community as safe and healthy as possible this fall.

“Good room ventilation is critical, along with proper social distancing,” said Hamilton. “We want to make sure that the air in the room is constantly flowing and vented out of the classrooms and laboratories. This will result in the lowest risk possible as we are able to hold in-person classes this fall.”

Students at Georgetown receive a personal and transformational education, in large part thanks to a caring faculty. The personal nature of the education at Georgetown College means faculty are always there to lend a helping hand to students, always trying to help them succeed.

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Now, professors on campus feel an even greater responsibility to ensure their students receive a premier education while remaining healthy.

“As a chemistry professor, I have always felt a responsibility to create safe classroom and laboratory settings,” said Hamilton. “But I feel that now even more so, we must do everything we can to ensure an optimum and safe learning environment throughout the campus.

“As the father of two children currently in college, this is something very much on my mind, and I will work hard to make Georgetown College a place I would feel confident sending my own kids. Many faculty and staff across campus are working hard to achieve this; we don’t want to leave any stone unturned.”

The end of the spring semester at the college proved beyond a doubt how hardworking, resourceful, and willing to help faculty, staff, and coaches at the college are. Now, as we prepare for an exciting fall semester, Dr. Livingston has no doubt this will continue. “I have no doubt that our GC community will respond in positive, impactful ways that further differentiate us from others.”

From Georgetown College

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