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Penn College’s Strategy to Resume In-person Instruction

Penn College’s hallmark is hands-on learning supported by in-person instruction; this is our enduring educational model, imbuing our graduates with the skills necessary to become leaders and innovators in their fields. Guided by our mission, and following the Commonwealth’s health and safety guidelines, Penn College has committed to in-person instruction in Fall 2020 in the safest and most responsible way possible.

We are excited to welcome our Tomorrow Makers back to campus, but we also recognize our responsibility to do so safely and with a focus on the health and well-being of the entire campus community. This plan serves as a road map for students, employees, parents, and guests, outlining our strategy to resume world-class instruction while adhering to current health-and-safety guidelines.

The Penn College community joins the world in adjusting to a “new normal,” a circumstance that demands a high degree of personal responsibility in support of the collective health of society.

Prevention

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  • The campus community is expected to strictly observe social-distancing requirements.
  • Daily self-screenings are requested of all community members:
    • Do I have a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher?
    • Am I experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19?
    • Have I been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
    • Have I traveled to any areas under restriction in the past 14 days?
  • Wearing face masks at all times is required.
  • Posted guidelines and signage must be followed.
  • Personal and shared spaces are to be cleaned regularly.
  • Visitors to campus will be limited.
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FAQs

Most lab spaces are large, and the average class size at Penn College is only 16. Nevertheless, classroom spaces have been evaluated, with occupancy levels reduced where possible to maximize all opportunities to create social distance. In other cases, instruction has been moved to larger classrooms. Assigned classroom seating will be encouraged; so, too, will assigned lab spaces, so that students are using the same work spaces daily. Administrative and student support services, along with faculty office hours, are commonly employing a hybrid model of operation: using virtual appointments and meetings when feasible and supplementing with face-to-face interactions (while practicing social distancing and/or mask wearing). Appointments will be encouraged in most areas to ensure that waiting rooms do not become crowded, and appointment times within offices will be staggered to further ensure that social distancing can be maintained.

The health of our entire community is our highest priority, and we all have an important role to play in protecting ourselves and one another. The entire campus community is asked to conduct a daily symptom check before starting the day. Students are encouraged to acquire and use their own thermometers to do a daily temperature screening, but there will also be Temp Check Stations throughout campus.

A few things to consider when conducting a temperature screening:

  • Recent eating or drinking very hot or very cold food and beverages can affect temperature measurement when measuring orally.
  • Recent physical activity can alter a person's core body temperature. Take time to recuperate prior to taking a measurement.
  • Wait at least an hour after a hot bath or shower before conducting a temperature reading.

Daily screening questions will be posted throughout campus. You should plan to ask yourself these questions each morning:

  • Do I have a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher?
  • Am I experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19? The most common symptoms are fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, and new loss of taste and/or smell.
  • Have I been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
  • Have I traveled to any areas under restriction in the past 14 days?

Yes. Anyone on campus is expected to have and use their own masks, but supplemental personal protective equipment (PPE) will be available in cases where a mask is lost or damaged. Effective Wednesday, August 19, all Penn College students, employees and visitors must be masked at all times on campus, including outdoors. Students are expected to bring an adequate supply of masks (disposable or reusable) with them. Reusable masks should be laundered regularly.

In the event of a lost or damaged mask, please visit one of the following locations to for a single-use mask: 

Locations with standard business hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.:

  • SASC Front Desk
  • ATHS Mail Services Center (ATHS/E138)
  • School of Engineering Technologies (LEC/B1134)
  • School of Business, Arts & Sciences (ACC/102)
  • School of Nursing & Health Sciences (ATHS/E257)
  • Earth Science Center
  • Aviation Center
  • BWD Front Desk

Locations with extended business hours:

  • Campus Center Information Desk:
    Monday - Thursday: 8 a.m.-11 p.m.
    Friday: 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
    Saturday and Sunday: noon-8 p.m.
     
  • Library Resource Desk:
    Monday – Tuesday: 7:30 a.m.-2 a.m.
    Wednesday – Thursday: 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m.
    Friday: 7:30-9 p.m.
    Saturday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
    Sunday: Noon-2 a.m.

Face shields are not a substitute for face masks, but may be used in limited instances as an acceptable accommodation or when providing instruction (while maintaining a distance of 6 feet or greater from students).

We have a moral and ethical responsibility to protect one another, particularly our higher-risk community members. As a community, the College will strive to gain compliance and support for the adoption of all guidelines including social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand-washing by ensuring everyone understands the importance of these actions. By promoting a culture of respect that includes these behaviors, we anticipate that the vast majority of the community will follow protocols.

To help people remember the best practices and make them part of their daily routines, messaging will appear across a variety of media. This will include indoor and outdoor signage, social media, and official College communications to reinforce expectations related to requirements for masks and social distancing, while also encouraging frequent hand-washing and sanitation. Areas of campus that regularly receive guests will have increased messaging, pairing a welcome to campus with directions on practices related to community health.

All members of the community are encouraged to advocate for themselves and others when they see individuals who are not following the letter and spirit of the guidelines. Faculty and staff are empowered to enforce expectations within their classrooms, labs, and office spaces.

Students and employees who fail to comply with reasonable requests within the guidelines can be denied access to classrooms, labs, or other facilities and/or be denied service in dining units, the Madigan Library, etc. In egregious circumstances, individuals can be subject to charges under the Student Code of Conduct or through personnel policies. Students for whom masking is medically contraindicated will be expected to mitigate risk through some form of PPE and social distancing.

Masks are required. In limited instances, Penn College will work with students or employees in at-risk categories and other unique academic circumstances to develop additional and/or alternate PPE/social distancing to ensure the safety and comfort of others. At-risk students are directed to contact Disability Services, and employees should contact Human Resources.

Yes, even outdoors masks are required to be worn. 

Yes, a little, but it is still the beautiful Penn College campus it’s always been. Campus signage has been created to focus on social-distancing cues on floors where lines form, signs indicate to visitors and guests where to wait when entering offices, and plastic barriers have been installed at counters and public spaces where social distancing is not likely to be maintained. Bathroom and shower facilities are also modified to ensure spacing as necessary.

Tables and chairs have been limited and spread out within common areas to ensure at least 6 feet of space between users. Computer labs and other spaces with redundant equipment will have equipment removed or modified to ensure adequate spacing, and social spaces have had seating reduced to avoid any tendency to congregate.

Employees are expected to maintain the sanitation of their work areas and offices, and students are expected to maintain the sanitation of their living spaces – including their residence hall rooms, apartments, and pods – and any classroom or lab work area that is specifically assigned to them. Students living on campus or in off-campus apartments should plan to bring and regularly use cleaning products that are known to kill the COVID-19 virus. In the interest of ensuring safety, all members of the campus community should assume any space they are entering has not been sanitized, and they are encouraged to wipe down surfaces and equipment prior to use.

The College’s Department of General Services has expanded its cleaning protocols and will be conducting daily deep disinfections of all common spaces including classrooms and labs. Cleaning supplies will be provided by General Services and will be available throughout campus for common areas and offices, including classrooms.

In the event of a positive case on campus, disinfecting protocols will be used following contact to ensure enhanced cleaning of those spaces takes place as appropriate.

The label on the small buckets of wipes throughout campus represent the safety precaution for 1 gallon of the Kleen 64 concentrate, in its original, undiluted state. The solution that is used within the bucket of wipes is diluted at a rate of 2oz of Kleen 64 product to 1 gallon of water. Therefore, the actual concentration within the container of wipes is slightly less than that of a Lysol wipe.

Please note that while the concentration level in our campus wipes is less than that of a Lysol wipe, manufacturer guidelines indicate the concentration level we are using is effective.

Disability Services will be the point of contact for any accommodations requested as a result of COVID-19, and Human Resources will be the point of contact for employee needs. All accommodations will follow Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements and will be responsive to COVID-specific guidance related to accommodating instances of elevated risk.

Our goal with all of these modifications has been to maximize our opportunities to provide the world-class, hands-on experiences that students come here to receive, while simultaneously following all available guidance to ensure the safety of our community.

The wipes placed throughout campus are not intended for use on computer or other "soft" screens. Users are encouraged to avoid touching screens on devices that are not touchscreen enabled. 

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration maintains a list of hand sanitizers that do not meet the necessary standards to kill COVID-19.

There are a number of temperature check kiosks throughout campus. Masks do not need to be removed for temperature screening. Hats and sunglasses may need to be removed to get an accurate reading. Kiosks can be found in the following locations:

  • ACC Lobby
  • ATHS Lobby
  • CC Lobby
  • BTC/LEC Entrance
  • LEC/KDR Entrance
  • Dauphin Hall
  • Library Lobby
  • SASC Lobby
  • Aviation Center
  • Earth Science Center

If the temperature is below 100.4 degrees, you may proceed into the builidng. The screen will display a message in green indicating your body temperature.

If the temperature is at or above 100.4 degrees, you should remain outside the building and contact College Health Services for a phone screening at 570-320-5234.

Testing & Mitigation

  • All students are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to their return to Penn College. Additionally, any further action mandated by state orders should be followed.
  • College Health Services will conduct COVID-19 testing and contact tracing for the College community.
  • Quarantine and isolation procedures are in place for affected students.

FAQs

On Thursday, July 2, the Pennsylvania Department of Health added the following travel-related quarantine guidance for Pennsylvanians returning from specific states and locations where there are currently high levels of COVID-19 cases. The guidance states: “If you have traveled, or plan to travel, to an area where there are high amounts of COVID-19 cases, it is recommended that you stay at home for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania. If you travel to the following states, it is recommended that you quarantine for 14 days upon return.” Therefore, before being permitted to move into campus housing or attend classes, any student who is coming to campus from any state listed under the order should quarantine at home for 14 calendar days before returning to campus. (If you reside in one of the listed states, quarantine may occur at your residence.)

Further, and in the interest of maintaining a healthy and safe environment, all students returning to campus, including those who reside in Pennsylvania, are encouraged to self-quarantine at their homes for 14 calendar days immediately prior to their return to campus.

College employees have been issued similar instructions for quarantine upon return from identified locations out of an abundance of caution for all members of our campus community.

Currently, and as recommended by health care experts, College Health Services is testing only symptomatic individuals and does not plan to broadly screen the campus community.

Students and employees will not be charged for COVID-19 testing. Employees are asked to provide an insurance card at the time of testing. There will no direct billing to the employee, and those without proof of insurance at the time of testing will not incur a charge. 

If students report any symptoms of COVID-19, they will be instructed to notify College Health Services immediately by calling the office at 570.320.5234; employees may notify College Health Services or their preferred provider. College Health Services is seeing those concerned about COVID-19 in the College Health Services Annex in the Bush Campus Center. Staff in College Health Services will provide you with directions when you call. When you are seen in College Health Services, staff will conduct a second-level screening process and, based on that screening, may test for COVID-19. In the event of a medical emergency, students can contact the College’s Quick Response Service (QRS) by dialing 911.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 through a provider other than College Health Services should immediately notify College Health Services of their result.

Students tested for COVID-19 will be presumed to be positive and required to immediately self-isolate pending test results. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to continue isolation and remain isolated until they achieve recovery based on the CDC criteria. Students will have the option to return home to isolate, but the College has isolation space available for those who wish to stay on campus.

College Health Services will conduct contact tracing for anyone who tests positive. Based on information provided by the individual who tests positive, College Health Services will reach out to any individuals who were exposed to COVID-19. This includes anyone who was in close contact with the infected person (defined as those who have been closer than 6 feet from the affected individual without a mask for a period of greater than 15 minutes). Those notified of their exposure through contact tracing are required to quarantine for 14 days. Students will have the option to return home to quarantine or to quarantine in their existing residence. Students who live off campus will also have the option to quarantine on campus if they wish. Contact tracing will also be used to implement cleaning protocols for all areas identified as potentially exposed through the tracing interview.

In cases of isolation or quarantine, students will be supported in efforts to remain current with their coursework through coordination with their faculty. Students in isolation or quarantine will have meals delivered to them in accordance with their existing meal plan, if they have one, or billed as a declining balance expense, and they will have ongoing health support from College Health Services, as well as access to counseling though telehealth.

Employees who are exposed to or test positive for COVID-19 should refer to guidance provided by Human Resources.

In an emergency situation, College Health Services will notify the individual designated as the student’s emergency contact in the SIS.  In non-emergency situations, College Health Services will not be able to discuss student health issues without the permission of the student.  Students can authorize College Health to provide information to designated individuals by signing a Release of Information when they come in for care.  In addition, students can designate individuals they would like to authorize to share information with by logging into the SIS and selecting ‘Full Academic and Staff Contact’ under Parent/Guest Access.   

Academic Instruction

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  • There are no changes to Penn College’s academic calendar for Fall 2020.
  • Where possible, classroom and lab capacities have been reduced to maximize social distancing.
  • Masking is required in classrooms/labs. 
  • Global Experiences are suspended for the 2020-21 Academic Year.
  • Field trips and off-campus academic experiences will be limited.
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FAQs

In limited instances, where faculty can be 6 feet or greater from students, they may wear a face shield in place of a mask while providing instruction.

Global Experiences are suspended for the 2020-21 Academic Year, but we look forward to offering them again in the future.

Travel for employees and students is discouraged and is limited to necessary domestic travel.

Our hallmark continues to be hands-on learning supported by in-person instruction. It’s an enduring educational model, providing our graduates with the bedrock skills needed to confidently perform the work of society’s most essential occupations.

Knowing that our campus community of innovators has answered a rallying call many times before, we are committed to in-person instruction in Fall 2020.

Adaptability remains another Penn College trademark. Beyond conforming with the latest guidance and protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, there are additional institutional characteristics that clearly distinguish Penn College with regard to health and safety.

Penn College is extremely fortunate to have a premier health-system resource like UPMC Susquehanna located virtually in our “backyard” in Williamsport. UPMC offers access to robust COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and pandemic guidance.

Some other factors that enable us to mitigate risk and offer safe interaction on campus:

  • Our rural location affords a higher level of protection than colleges in larger metropolitan settings.
  • The size of our campus/physical plant allows for more optimal spacing of people, offices, classrooms, labs, and facilities.
  • Our industry-standard labs are expansive, offering ample spacing opportunities.
  • Our average class size (16) facilitates social distancing.
  • Blended coursework offers additional classroom-scheduling and spacing flexibility.
  • Our industry partners are able to offer solutions that have worked for them in real-world settings.

Faculty and staff are planning for multiple contingencies for instruction and services if the College should be challenged again. We will put our collective expertise to work and adapt responsibly.

Campus Life

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  • Administrative and student support offices remain available to students.
  • On-campus housing and dining options are available with modified operations to promote social distancing and safety.
  • Providing engaging, fun, and enriching experiences remains a priority.
  • College Health Services continues to offer preventive and urgent care services, in addition to needs related to COVID-19.
  • Counseling Services provides free and confidential counseling via telehealth. Employees have 24/7 access to the College’s Employee Assistance Program at no charge.
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FAQs

Administrative and student support offices, as well as faculty office hours, are commonly employing a hybrid model of operation, using virtual appointments and meetings when feasible and supplementing with face-to-face interactions while practicing social distancing and mask-wearing. Advance appointments will be encouraged in most areas to ensure that waiting rooms do not become crowded, and appointment times within offices will be staggered to further ensure that social distancing can be maintained. The Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 website provides information about how specific offices are operating.

Single person offices or workspaces with doors, or appropriate dividers that allow for necessary distancing, may be considered single occupancy workspaces. When you are alone in your single occupancy workspace, you may remove your mask.

When someone enters your workspace, or when you are providing a service to another individual in your workspace, your mask must be worn. Additionally, when you leave your workspace, a mask is required.

Students returning to campus for lab and clinical completion during the weeks of July 26, August 2, and August 9 will check in on the Sunday afternoon before their labs or clinicals begin. Check-in will take place in the Dauphin Hall lounge between 1 and 4 p.m. Only students will be allowed to enter the check-in area, and they must wear a mask. Prior to check-in, students will be temperature checked and must have a temperature below 100.4 degrees to move in. Any visitors who assist with move-in must also be masked. Limited “blue bins” will be available to assist with move-in.

Anyone unable to return during Sunday check-in can check in Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. by reporting to the Residence Life Office in Dauphin Hall.

Welcome Weekend will take place from Friday, August 14, to Sunday, August 16. We are working hard to give you a great move-in experience and all of the resources you need to hit the ground running on August 17. Incoming, first-year students will receive detailed information via email in mid-July.

At all times, Residence Life strives to ensure that students remain healthy and safe in our residence halls. Governmental and health agency guidelines, procedures, and practices for the COVID-19 pandemic are continually reviewed to provide an optimal living and learning environment for every resident student.

While certain adjustments will be made – an extended move-in process, masking, cleaning protocols, and visitation – the College is not planning to reduce occupancy levels within the residence halls. If students believe their current housing assignment places them at increased risk because of a medical issue, we ask that they contact the Residence Life Office to explore alternative arrangements. In conjunction with Disability Services, all requests will be reviewed, and an appropriate determination and/or accommodation will be made based on documented health needs.

Residence hall programming will be adjusted to ensure appropriate social distancing, and virtual community events will supplement in-person communications as needed. Though we will have to approach life in the halls differently, we are committed to offering great personal, social, and professional-development programming to all of our residents.

To help ensure the safety of our residential community, non-student guests will be prohibited. With the exception of roommates, no other students will be permitted inside individual rooms/apartments. In addition, overnight guests will not be permitted. Additionally, off-campus students are discouraged from having guests in their apartments.

In the event of a positive case within the residence halls, cleaning protocols have been developed, and space has been designated for isolation purposes.

Yes, students may remove masks when in their private residence hall spaces, with doors closed. Social distancing measures should still be practiced. 

Reminder, no visitors are permitted in residence halls. 

All travel outside the immediate area is discouraged. If any travel restrictions are imposed by state orders, you will be required to comply.

Dining Services remains committed to providing the Penn College community with nutritious and affordable food options on campus. To accomplish this, dining units have undergone modifications of physical space and operations.

Contactless point-of-sale readers were installed for all dining units, and plastic barriers were installed to protect service areas and cashier stations. In addition, signage has been applied to all serveries and check-out areas to identify social distance and to provide clear direction on how to move through the areas. Seating capacity has been reduced.

Fresh fruit and/or desserts are pre-wrapped or bagged. Takeout and mobile-ordering options have been expanded, and use of disposable takeout containers, paper products, and plastic (pre-wrapped) silverware has expanded to decrease opportunity for virus spread on high touch areas/surfaces. While self-serve beverage stations are open, self-serve buffets and salad bars are not, and items will be prepared behind barriers and served by employees. Condiments are being served as single-serve packets.

Face masks are required throughout the dining units unless individuals are seated 6 feet apart and eating. It is imperative that appropriate social distancing is observed while seated in dining units. All Dining Services employees wear face masks and follow strict sanitation procedures that include frequent hand-washing and the changing of gloves. Tables and chairs are sanitized after each guest’s use. Learn more about the individual dining units, including their offerings and services, here.

Absolutely! We maintain our commitment to provide engaging, fun, and enriching experiences both in and outside the classrooms. The offices of Student Engagement, Residence Life, and others have a calendar full of opportunities to relax, have fun, and meet your fellow Wildcats. Some of these activities will be in-person experiences, and others will be done virtually, providing a range of options across a broad spectrum of interests. We hope you will join us in person or online for as many activities as your schedule allows. Follow our social media channels or check out the Stall Wall to stay on top of what’s happening.

College Health Services offers a complement of urgent care, preventive, and emergency services in its main office in Room 150 of the Bush Campus Center and is open by appointment. Students seeking preventive or urgent care (other than something potentially COVID-19-related) can visit College Health Services free of charge and may receive lab work and prescription medications at a nominal cost. Any member of the campus community who feels they may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should call College Health Services at 570-320-5234 to arrange a visit in the College Health Services Annex.

College Health Services is open during the College’s regular operating hours, and services are supplemented through a Quick Response Service that is available to respond to needs after hours with 24/7 support in coordination with Lycoming County EMS. Anyone experiencing a medical emergency at any time of day should dial 911.

Absolutely. We know that college is a stressful time under normal circumstances; the uncertainties we are all living with can only add to this. Anxiety, depression, homesickness, and challenges adjusting are very common for college students, and Counseling Services is here to help. Counseling Services provides free and confidential counseling services to all enrolled students. Five full-time, licensed counselors are available during regular operating hours, and services are supplemented by College Police after hours. Anyone experiencing a mental health emergency should dial 911.

Employees have 24/7 access to the College’s Employee Assistance Program.

Consistent Communication

  • The Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 web page will provide ongoing communication and updates.
  • The College will maintain a dashboard documenting cases of COVID-19, testing, and recovery data beginning July 27, 2020.
  • Daily case notification (Monday-Friday) and updates will be provided to students, faculty, and staff via AdminWire, the College’s internal communication system. Any results received over a weekend will be reported in Monday's data.

FAQs

The College will follow the Clery Act requirement of issuing a Timely Warning through student and employee AdminWire at the time of a first case. Following the first positive case, the campus community will be notified of any subsequent cases through a daily notification (Monday-Friday) that will direct users to a dashboard on the College’s public COVID-19 Information web page. Any results received over a weekend will be reported in Monday's data.

A dashboard will be added to the College’s COVID-19 Information page that will contain the number of cases, the number of those tested through College Health Services, and the number recovered.

Commitment

Our commitment to a healthy campus

The COVID-19 pandemic demands that we view our world in a different light. Now, more than ever, we are compelled to honor our institution’s core value of a “Community of Respect.”

As a member of the Penn College Community, I understand my moral and ethical obligation to:

  • Practice good hand-washing behaviors.
  • Regularly clean all personal and shared spaces.
  • Wear a face mask.
  • Regularly wash cloth face masks.
  • Comply with social-distancing guidelines.
  • Immediately seek medical advice/attention if I have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Wear a face mask to protect others.
  • Encourage others to wear a mask and comply with social-distancing guidelines.
  • Avoid interacting with others if I have symptoms, or if I may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Follow all quarantine or isolation directives.
  • I understand that the continuity of our educational environment and mission depends upon every single one of us taking mitigation measures seriously and respecting our fellow campus-community members through necessary actions.
  • Additionally, I acknowledge that Penn College is a part of a greater surrounding community, and that I also have a responsibility to keep our neighbors safe through my actions.
Contact

Student Affairs

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