Purdue's response to COVID-19; resources for AAE students, faculty, staff

Purdue University is closely monitoring a pandemic of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The respiratory virus is infecting people around the world, including the United States.

The University is offering daily updates on a website with the latest guidance and information for the campus community. It includes links to key resources, answers to frequently asked questions and contact information for additional information and direction.

“No objective surpasses in priority the health and safety of the campus community,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels wrote in March.


AAE procedures for shared spaces in Armstrong Hall during the Fall 2020 semester

July 13, 2020

The conference rooms, the desks-only graduate student offices and other similar spaces in Armstrong Hall are shared spaces for the School and have, for the most part, not been covered by the research space standard operating procedures (SOPs). 

With the new “summer start” programs starting on campus, a few more students, staff and faculty are back on campus.  This will increase somewhat at the start of the Fall semester.  However, like the current operating conditions, Purdue is encouraging remote research work as much as possible and is encouraging continued remote work from administrative staff so that at least 1/3 are working off campus.

With the above in mind, the AAE Safety Committee discussed the shared spaces in ARMS and has developed the following procedures.

1. Graduate student offices (e.g., “desk-only” spaces)

Summary: Keep majority of these rooms closed in the Fall semester; use the standard research space SOP document in exceptional cases.

  • The School will keep a majority of these graduate student “desk-only” rooms closed in the Fall, because the activities conducted in these rooms can be conducted from home in the vast majority of cases.
  • Possible exceptions are: ITAR regulated spaces (although there have been some recent provisions allowing ITAR-regulated activities to occur from home), computational resources that cannot be accessed remotely.
  • In an exceptional case, the faculty advisor / PI will email Audrey Sherwood to provide a compelling description of the activities to be conducted in the particular office and the reasons for why these activities cannot be accomplished remotely.
  • If the exceptional use of a graduate student office is to be approved, the Safety Committee will generate the SOP for that room (following the standard research space SOP document) and will collect signatures of the approved students.
  • If an SOP for a desk-only office space has been previously submitted via the research process, then that should be re-submitted to Audrey Sherwood.  That SOP must comply with these guidelines and include the compelling description of why activities in the office cannot be accomplished remotely.  If the previously-submitted research SOP is compliant, then that SOP document can be submitted to Audrey with no changes.
  • The School has allowed administrative and academic staff to take equipment from their office to their home office, if that is necessary to continue the work.  The faculty advisor of graduate students who move Purdue computer equipment from campus must track what equipment the students move.  If requested, the staff can help with this tracking.

2. Conference Rooms

Summary: Reopen conference rooms; no SOP document is needed.  Apply same guidelines as in other public areas in ARMS.  Approval for all in-person meetings is required to avoid crowded meetings.

  • The School will reopen conference rooms.
  • Many conference rooms now have a posted maximum capacity to comply with social distancing requirements.  The number of chairs will be reduced, tape or other markings on the floor / tables will indicate seat location, etc.
  • Conference rooms are similar to other public areas in ARMS.  We will not impose any additional requirements for these rooms above other building-wide requirements.
  • Meeting scheduling via the RAT system will continue.  The updated room capacity will be added to the RAT.
  • A simple approval procedure for in-person meetings will be implemented.  Meeting requester will need to specify a compelling reason and number of attendees at the time of scheduling in RAT and approval / refusal of the meeting request will be communicated via email.  All in-person meeting requests with potential for undefined or poorly-controlled attendance will be denied (e.g., no “typical” walk-in TA office hours will be permitted).
  • Disinfecting supplies should be used by meeting participants for the area they will use upon entering the conference room. 
  • NOTE: ARMS 2007 will be converted into a social distance compliant space for scheduled in-person meetings of the academic advising staff with students. 

3. Student learning and collaboration spaces (e.g., converted areas in ARMS 3300 and ARMS 3200 suites)

Summary: These areas will remain closed in the Fall.  Nearly all activities in these spaces can be completed remotely.  Enforcing social distancing and regular disinfecting between users is not practical in these areas.

4. Shared computing lab space (ARMS 2106 / 2106A)

Summary: These rooms will remain closed in the Fall.  All PCs in these rooms continue to be available for remote access.  The Safety Committee will consider ways to operate these rooms safely if reopening becomes absolutely necessary.

  • ECN reports there were very few issues with remote desktop access for these PCs during the Spring 2020 semester.
  • Several ITaP computing labs on campus will remain open as a resource for students who need computers and printers.
  • ECN is working with students who are not able to run remote desktop, including those who do not have working computers, to create an arrangement to allow students access to AAE software without going into a public lab.
  • There will be limited on-campus ECN assistance in the Fall, so a large-scale reorganization of computer labs may not be possible.
  • Enforcing social distancing and regular disinfecting between users is not practical in these rooms.
  • The Safety Committee discussed possible scenarios where a partial reopening might be needed for ARMS 2106 / 2106A.  The Safety Committee will consider possible ways to operate these rooms safety, in case these rooms must be reopened.

Message from AAE's head

William Crossley, J. William Uhrig and Anastasia Vournas Head of Aeronautics and Astronautics, updated the AAE community on April 1 about how the School is operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • All research, academic and administrative buildings will remain locked throughout the day, including ARMS. Buildings and offices will remain locked to restrict walk-ins, protect those who must be on campus to work and concentrate cleaning resources.
  • All instructional laboratories are closed to students, including the Bechtel Innovation Design Center. AAE, specifically, has closed ARMS 2098, ARMS 3098 and ARMS 3106.
  • All ECN computer labs will be closed to students. ARMS 2106 is closed, as are the converted student use areas in the ARMS 3200 and ARMS 3300 "wings" of the building where we have placed a few PCs. We have instructions for Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) for you to access a computer in ARMS 2106 or in one of the ARMS 3200 rooms.
  • There are some software licensing issues that we need to be careful about. Some software packages used for instruction have ITAR restrictions. At least one is licensed, so that it can only be used within a 50-mile radius of West Lafayette. ECN is looking into these issues, but if you know of such software being used in AAE, please contact Teresa Cadwallader (tlc3764@purdue.edu).
  • Undergraduate and graduate students can access Matlab Student Use Licenses for the semester. ITaP's Contracts and Licensing group posted contents of its press release on the ECN KnowledgeBase pages. Once in the KnowledgeBase link, a link to the Mathworks website and instructions are available on how to install. 
  • The undergraduate advising office has suspended in-person meetings, and remaining scheduled meetings will be conducted via email. That includes registration and check-ins, etc.
  • All events on campus are canceled through June 30, the University announced April 15.
  • Information for new AAE international and funded graduate students has been updated.  
  • The University unveiled its "Protect Purdue" plan to promote a safe campus for the fall.


Reading email often is an important step to staying informed.

  • Summer courses will be conducted remotely, the University announced April 6.
  • Admissions has answers to a list of frequently asked questions by undergraduates on a website that will be continually updated.
  • The Purdue COVID-19 Information Center (765-496-4636 or toll free 1-833-571-1043) is staffed by university employees from 8-5 p.m. Monday-Friday to answer student, parent, faculty and staff questions. 

If your Internet access is unreliable, please reach out to
The Office of the Dean of Students
to discuss potential options and alternatives:

Student Checklist/References for Remote Learning
Engineering Computer Network
Support Request/Trouble Report

Alternative Delivery of DRC Services
Disability Resource Center


Immigration Changes
International Students and Scholars


CCO Services in Response to COVID-19
Center for Career Opportunities



  • Mitch Daniels announced March 25 that faculty, staff, graduate and post-doc staff will be paid through June 30, 2020 (or, the end of their contract period, whichever first occurs). The University acknowledged there may be times when work slows in a particular area. During those times, it is the University's expectation and request that people are flexible and willing to lend a helping hand to other units and areas where there is a need. The University provided more information on its Q&A page.

COVID-19: Resources for working and learning remotely

Any University-wide communications will be sent via email or Purdue Alert text messaging system. 

Teaching and telecommuting resources

WebEx/virtual meetings:

These tips will help in setting up a WebEx account and utilizing WebEx for virtual meetings.

  • If you don’t already have a WebEx account visit https://one.purdue.edu/ and search for “WebEx.” The first time you access the system, WebEx will create an account based on your career account information.
  • Participants should login to WebEx 10 minutes early to go through the technical set up prior to meetings. ITaP is offering training every weekday through March 27.
  • WebEx training
  • Virtual meetings may also be held in ARMS 3041 / Dunville Room

Research information

Principal investigators or facility/site directors should complete a brief Critical On-Campus Research Continuity Information Form to continue work that falls into one of more of these categories after March 25.

All personnel should follow previously announced guidance on social distancing/safety hygiene practices, use of proper lab and safety equipment, and use of buddy system in labs with hazardous materials. Additionally, researchers who are sick, have returned from travel outside of the state, or have concerns over their personal health and safety should not come to campus. Other work should be safely ramped down using the Research Laboratory Ramp-Down Checklist as soon as possible, but no later than March 27.