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COVID-19 FAQs

Camper health and safety is paramount. Penn College adheres to governmental and health agency guidelines, procedures, and practices for the COVID-19 pandemic to provide an optimal living and learning camp environment. Safety protocols are in place and all Pre-College Programs attendees who are not fully vaccinated will be asked to submit a negative test result no more than 72 hours prior to arriving on campus.

Below are some of the most frequently asked COVID-19-related questions. You can also visit the Parent & Student page for general FAQs.

No, vaccination is not required to attend Pre-College Programs. 

  • We strongly encourage staff, campers, and families to get fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to camp arrival.
  • Fully vaccinated campers are not required to submit a pre-arrival test. A link to an online form regarding proof of vaccination will be sent to all registered campers prior to their program.
  • For campers and staff who are not vaccinated, a rapid self-test (available at the pharmacy and big-box locations) is acceptable provided it is taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival at camp. A link to an online form regarding testing results will also be sent to all registered campers prior to their program.
  • We request that unvaccinated campers, families, and staff engage in a two-week pre-arrival quarantine that includes physical distancing, mask-wearing when not at home, avoiding unnecessary travel, and refraining from indoor social gatherings with people outside of their households.
  • Those who have had a positive viral test within three months prior to camp and have met the criteria to end isolation should submit a letter from their healthcare provider documenting the positive test date and stating that the individual is cleared to end isolation. No test needed due to antibodies.

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? 

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. 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.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a report with updated recommendations for masking strategies – including double masking, which helps ensure a tight fit to the face – providing yet another tool to help halt the spread of COVID-19. CDC also offers a site that serves as a comprehensive guide to mask wearing and another addressing how to improve mask fit and filtration.

Those who opt to wear neck gaiters should choose ones that feature two layers or that can be easily folded to form two layers. Single-layer cloth masks and masks made from fabric that is loosely woven or knitted, allowing light to pass through and not providing a tight fit to the face (like bandannas and homemade masks from T-shirts), are not permitted. Scarves, ski masks and balaclavas are also not substitutes for masks.

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.

Report Non-Compliance

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 wipes currently in use throughout campus do not require use of gloves. 

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.

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.

Under the guidance of our Health Services staff, the individual will be isolated and sent home to recover and/or seek appropriate medical attention. Camp staff will be in touch via phone with the parents & guardians of a camper who becomes symptomatic. Contract tracing will be initiated, and those individuals will be notified, isolated, and monitored for symptoms. This includes anyone who was in close contact with the infected person (defined as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person, without a mask, for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset). Parents & guardians of those who have been in contact with a symptomatic individual will be notified via email. Targeted cleaning will be performed, and the social distancing, masking, and general precautions already in place will remain and be strictly enforced for our campers’ and staff’s protection.

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