Belmont University to partner with HCA to implement health and safety protocols for debate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Belmont University announced Friday plans to work with HCA Healthcare to implement health and safety protocols for the October 22 Presidential Debate at the University’s Curb Event Center.

HCA is supporting protocols developed by the Cleveland Clinic, who is serving as the global health advisor for all four debates, and agreed to by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

“We are confident that HCA Healthcare’s knowledge as a leading healthcare provider with extensive infectious disease expertise will provide superior clinical guidance and safety support for this important event. HCA Healthcare has long been a valued partner for Belmont, supporting our students through scholarships, leading important community conversations on our campus and working with our faculty to ensure the next generation of health care leaders is well-positioned to tackle current and future issues,” said Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher.

In addition to leading local site planning in consultation with Cleveland Clinic and the Metro Public Health Department, HCA Healthcare is providing support and expertise surrounding health protocols, promoting universal masking, and facilitating testing at the final debate in Nashville.

“We are pleased to provide clinical resources and expertise honed through experience refining safety protocols and protection measures since the onset of COVID-19,” said Dr. Jonathan Perlin, chief medical officer and president, clinical operations group of HCA Healthcare,” said Dr. Jonathan Perlin, chief medical officer and president, clinical operations group of HCA Healthcare. “We are honored to collaborate with Belmont University to help ensure a safe event for the Nashville community and visitors from around the country.”

Members from the HCA Healthcare team recently traveled to Cleveland to observe practices and protocols for the Sept. 29 presidential debate. In addition to providing guidance on safety measures for the Oct. 22 debate and the days leading up to it, HCA Healthcare will be assisting with advance communications to event participants, including health and safety information, and will be providing the University with informational signage and health education printed materials to share with guests.

Belmont is committed to the health and safety of its campus community as well as the debate candidates, campaign teams and media guests. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has already established a number of practices in line with protocols developed by the Cleveland Clinic and in consultation with HCA Healthcare to mitigate impact on the campus, including:

  • Debate guests will be required to adhere to the same safety standards being required of Belmont students, faculty, staff, vendors, and visitors, including wearing masks indoors and out, social distancing, and frequent hand washing/sanitizing. 
  • Debate operations will be separated from standard campus operations via credentialing and security measures to avoid close contacts between the two populations. 
  • HCA Healthcare will provide testing/screening protocols as needed for debate operations in coordination with CPD and Cleveland Clinic. 
  • Debate operations are being designed to maximize social distancing. This includes a significant reduction in media attendance, the absence of a Spin Alley and associate delegates, and extremely limited ticket availability for attending the event.
  • Classes and other campus academic/student life operations will be conducted virtually during Oct. 21-22, the two days with the anticipated heaviest debate-related activity on campus.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


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