Updated Feb. 8, 2020

The operation of the campus requires balancing risk with effective mitigation strategies. Our experience last fall showed that strategies aligned with those offered by the CDC, ACHA, and PA DOE can be deployed effectively on a college campus. The following components will underpin our operations:

  • Phased-in return to campus for faculty, staff, and students
  • Pre-arrival and ongoing population-level monitoring and testing
  • Community adherence to safety measures including universal masking, physical distancing, frequent hand washing, self-monitoring symptoms, and isolating from others when sick

Additionally, we know the College does not exist in a vacuum. Monitoring of public health conditions in surrounding communities will be part of our baseline operations.

Even with strict adherence to the measures above, our campus will see cases of COVID-19. Even the most robust procedures serve to reduce, not eliminate, our risk. By reducing risk and with the willingness of our entire community to hold one other accountable, we can resume operations for the majority of campus with a reasonable degree of safety. Through our collective commitment, we can keep transmission rates low and maintain the resources to isolate and quarantine members of the community. This requires a comprehensive and responsive testing strategy, mechanisms for symptom checking and contact tracing, and clear policies that support students, faculty, and staff remaining home without penalty if ill. Core to the success of this plan is the willingness of all faculty, staff, and students to take every personal measure possible to limit the potential spread of the disease and to consider your own willingness and ability to make that commitment before returning to campus.

Operational levels
To provide guidance to both our internal and external community, we have identified four operational levels for the College. Levels will be somewhat fluid based on disease rates and other factors on campus and within the surrounding community. Routine assessment of operational level will occur weekly with adjustments made at any point if conditions warrant. The operational level will be posted on the COVID-19 dashboard.

Assessment of community risk
No single metric can adequately capture the relative risk of continuing operations. Through our experience last fall and that of other institutions we believe the following factors should feed into initial and ongoing assessment:  

  • COVID-19 rates and trends on campus 
  • Testing availability and turnaround times
  • Community adherence to physical distancing strategies
  • Availability of campus resources to isolate, quarantine, and care for students with COVID-19
  • Community resource levels including hospital network capacity and availability of PPE 
  • Faculty and staff illness rates 

Total number of isolation spaces: 146
Spaces available for quarantine: 100 spaces on and off campus and 778 spaces where students would be expected to quarantine in place