Members of the WPI community line up for COVID-19 testing in Harrington Auditorium.

2020: The Year with a Sharp Focus on Health

With the pandemic bearing down on the state, the health and safety of the entire campus community became a critical priority.
December 15, 2020

Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of a five-part series about how the WPI community remained strong, stayed the course, and innovated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Part 2: The Health and Safety of the WPI Community: In 2020, WPI focused like never before on efforts to keep students, faculty and staff healthy during a global pandemic.

To protect the campus community and to stay in alignment with state and public health guidelines, WPI called upon its entire health team—and the whole campus—to work cooperatively in these unprecedented times. WPI’s Health Team developed and put in place a comprehensive COVID-19 testing program, quarantine and isolation protocols, and general safety rules, such as social distancing, wearing face coverings, and cleaning spaces. The university also expanded its health team staff, created a new respiratory clinic and testing trailer, and transformed Harrington Auditorium into a high-throughput testing operation. And to keep the community updated and connected, WPI also helped create a symptom tracker, and testing dashboard that is updated every weekday afternoon. It was a Herculean effort that combined promoting health-conscious behaviors, testing, and both physical and emotional care for our students, faculty, and staff.

Local and national media captured snapshots of how the WPI community worked to prioritize health during a pandemic. – March 23: Coronavirus response: WPI collects thousands of gloves and masks

-Boston 25 News – May 5: Some tips for making your homemade face covering more effective - May 27: Mass. colleges release plan to reopen amid coronavirus in four-phased plan


Coming tomorrow: How students adapted to a global pandemic while re-engineering everything.

-Sharon Gaudin