Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Alvernia University health and safety officials are closely monitoring the swiftly developing Coronavirus (COVID-19) global outbreak that the World Health Organization Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has defined as a pandemic.

 

In response to the pandemic, all Alvernia University campuses remain closed, while all academic courses and experiences will remain online through the end of the Spring 2020 semester. The Alvernia University Emergency Management Committee will update this page regularly Monday through Fridays and as relevant information becomes available.

 

Alvernia has enacted these measures to protect the health and well-being of the Alvernia community. These measures were made after careful review and consultation with local officials and experts in public health and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

How do I use the tabs below?

Please see the Updates tabs for a running list of announcements. Information in previous updates may be outdated as time passes. Please use the FAQs for the most up-to-date information. 

Have questions?

Don't see the answer to your question in the FAQs below? Please voice additional questions or concerns by emailing Campus.Update@alvernia.edu. The messages will be sent to the Alvernia University Emergency Management Committee and will be answered in groups and added to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) posted on this page. 


Latest Updates

Thursday, May 21, 2020 | Update on Resident Move Out Process and Weekly Updates

Dear Alvernia University Community,

With the conclusion of the Spring 2020 semester, we now look towards the summer and beyond. 

We've heard and understand your desire to know the University's plans for the Fall 2020 semester. We assure you we are working diligently behind the scenes to determine the best course of action for our campus community.

While the situation remains everchanging, we are consulting the proper health agencies, engaging faculty and staff in scenario planning and continually monitoring the local, state and federal guidelines and best practices.

We ask for your continued patience as we work through these steps so we can ensure our number one priority, keeping our students, faculty, staff, Bernardine Sisters and the greater Alvernia community safe.

We've also heard the desire by our resident students to gather their belongings from the residence halls. While we've continued to adhere to Pennsylvania Governor Wolf's "stay at home" order, we've recently received new guidance that has allowed the Office of Residence Life to develop a process for resident students to return to campus to collect their belongings, beginning June 4, 2020.

As directed by the PA Department of Health and PA Department of Education, we must spread this process out over two weeks to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved. It is also important to note that the campus will remain closed during this process.

Residential students should reference the communication delivered to their Alvernia email addresses with specific directions about this process. Action is required by the student to reserve a move out time slot.

We understand that there is no easy way to allow for a normal move-out process, and we ask for your patience and understanding during this time as we work to ensure the safety of the students and families returning to campus and the Alvernia staff designated to assist them.

As always, we ask that you continue to monitor the Alvernia Health Alerts webpage for updates.

Please stay safe, stay healthy, and as always, remember, we are in this together.

Sincerely,
 

Glynis Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Provost 

John McCloskey, D.B.A., Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff  

Academics

Library Books Information: The Franco Library does not require patrons to return Alvernia library books during the campus closure. If your library books have a due date during the COVID-19 closure, they will be due back after the campus and library reopen, and overdue fines will be waived. Patrons do not need to contact the library about books due during the closure unless they are unable to return the books when campus reopens. If you are graduating or otherwise unable to return your books, or you have additional questions about returning materials, please email our Access Services Librarian at kathleen.zamietra@alvernia.edu
 
If you have inter-library loan materials checked out, many libraries are waiving fines and materials due dates. Please contact our ILL staff member at derek.smith@alvernia.edu to verify that you may retain your items until campus reopens or discuss alternative return methods.

Summer Tutoring is Open: Alvernia University’s Academic Success Center offers online academic support to all students enrolled in summer courses. 

1.) Professional writing tutors can help you organize your ideas, express yourself clearly, and improve your use of sources at every stage of the writing process in any course.

2.) Graduate assistants can help you study for your psychology and business courses. 

3.) Academic coaching sessions can help you apply proven study strategies, time management, and test preparation to start your semester off strong.

Make an appointment at any time by logging onto https://alvernia.mywconline.com with your Alvernia network ID and password. See FAQs & Guides here

For all types of writing assignments, take advantage of your WWW.GRAMMARLY.COM/EDU Premium access using your Alvernia email address and login password.

For help in a specific course, please email academic.support@alvernia.edu or call the Tutoring Hotline at 610-568-1494 for immediate assistance.

Wolves Guide Advisor Now Available: Alvernia has launched a new mobile advisor platform, Wolves Guide. This mobile app assists students in navigating all aspects of college life - from financial aid to important dates and deadlines. More information on how to download is available here.

Class of 2020 Caps, Gowns and Cords: The website to order caps, gowns and hoods is available through May 31, 2020.Click here to order your graduation cap & gown (information also available about diploma frames). Academic cords will be distributed at a later date. Don’t want to order now? Caps & gowns will be available at the Grad Finale event before the December 2020 Baccalaureate & Commencement ceremonies.

Reminder on Temporary Grading Policy: As a reminder, Alvernia has adopted temporary grading policies for the Spring and Summer 2020 semesters. While the Pass/Fail is not automatic, students only need to select eligible courses with the Registrars office. All details on this grading policy are available here.

Housing and Campus Life

Bookstore Update: The Alvernia Bookstore has compiled a new list of FAQs for students that includes information on finding the correct textbooks for class, delivery of new books and return instructions. 

New Service Opportunities Available: Looking for ways to collect service hours over the summer? The Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement has produced a new list of social distance friendly service activities. If you have any questions regarding service opportunities, please contact Alyssa Slade at Alyssa.Slade@alvernia.edu.

Mental Health Resources: As the semester ends, the Health & Wellness Center has compiled a list of mental health resources for students, faculty and staff to continue to manage during this stressful time.

University Operations

ZOOM 5.0 Update Now Available: ZOOM has announced the latest release of its videoconferencing software. ZOOM 5.0 includes many security features that help avoid potential “ZOOM-bombing” or other issues that may affect your meetings. Please follow the FAQ here to download and install the software. Please Note: If you do not update the software, you will not be able to create or join meetings until the upgrade takes place.

Friday, May 8 | Weekly Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As we end a week that was filled with virtual events celebrating the Class of 2020, we are reminded of the transformational experiences shared by our campus community and the amazing perseverance shown by our community during these difficult times. 

We have persevered to the final week of the semester. While we all have started the mad-dash to the end of the semester and all of the wonderful, yet sometimes stressful, activities, assignments and tasks, we remind everyone to continue to prioritize self-care as it has never been more important.
1.) Since you may already be heavily focused on end-of-semester items, we wanted to share some things that you may have missed:

2.) Faculty and staff have started sending their congratulatory messages to the Class of 2020. Check out this ever-growing playlist.

3.) Final exam week is upon us and the Office of Mission & Ministry offered special blessings for students as they prepare.

Associate Professor of Nursing and Nursing Department Chairperson Debbie Greenawald shared a letter with nursing students as the nation and the world began a week-long celebration of nurses.

As always, we ask that you continue to monitor the Alvernia Health Alerts webpage for updates.

Best of luck to everyone during final exams week, and please stay safe, stay healthy and as always, remember, we are in this together.

Sincerely,
 

Glynis Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Provost 

John McCloskey, D.B.A., Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff  

Overcoming COVID-19

Joseph Burgess MSOT '22 has risen to the challenges presented by COVID-19 and spent April motivating his peers to advocate for Occupational Therapy. Read the full story here.

Academics

Studying for Finals: Studying Together is Better than Studying Alone: The ASC tutors are available to help students prepare for final exams and polish their papers. They can even meet with small groups over Zoom!

Hours during finals week (May 10-13)

Sun. 4–8 p.m. and Mon-Wed 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Make an appointment today via www.alvernia.mywconline.com or call 610-568-1494 to arrange for a small group session.

Wolves Guide Advisor Now Available: Alvernia has launched a new mobile advisor platform, Wolves Guide. This mobile app assists students navigate all aspects of college life - from financial aid to important dates and deadlines. More information on how to download is available here.

Class of 2020 Caps, Gowns and Cords: The website to order caps, gowns and hoods is now live.Click here to order your graduation cap & gown (information also available about diploma frames). Academic cords will be distributed at a later date. Don’t want to order now? Caps & gowns will be available at the Grad Finale event before the December 2020 Baccalaureate & Commencement ceremonies.

Summer 2020 Shifts to Virtual Learning: Alvernia University will transition all Summer 2020 face-to-face classes to virtual teaching and learning. After quick investments into online learning environments throughout the second half of the Spring 2020 semester, Alvernia is well prepared to offer students a high-quality and meaningful virtual education experience. The vast majority of our Summer courses were already being offered online, so this transition will affect the remaining courses.

Reminder on Temporary Grading Policy: As a reminder, Alvernia has adopted temporary grading policies for the Spring and Summer 2020 semesters. While the Pass/Fail is not automatic, students only need to select eligible courses with the Registrars office. All details on this grading policy are available here.

Housing and Campus Life

Bookstore Update: The campus bookstore is committed to supporting your continuing education and is working with the Alvernia faculty to offer digital options wherever possible. The bookstore will also be shipping out books and other supplies with free shipping for summer courses. The bookstore has recently created an FAQ document for students that includes instructions for finding what materials are needed for classes, how to return rental textbooks and how to sell books back.

University Operations

Faculty/Staff Congratulate the Class of 2020: Looking for a way to congratulate the Class of 2020? We have two great options for you to let the Class of 2020 know you care!

Record a video message: One of these ways is by recording a 15-90 second congratulatory message to our graduating students. These video messages can be recorded on Panopto (if you have access) or any mobile device. Videos will be shared on the Alvernia University social media channels. Also, select videos will be compiled and showcased on an Alvernia Class of 2020 Virtual Celebration website that will be shared with all graduating students. Click here to upload your video.

Post a “Kudos” message: Not interested in creating a video? We have developed a message board for Faculty, Staff, Alumni and Parents to share their messages of congratulations. Click here to contribute.

Zoom Mid-Day Prayer: On Mondays and Wednesdays, the Office of Mission and Ministry will lead a Mid-Day Prayer at 12 p.m. on zoom. This will last about 10 minutes, and anyone can join by contacting tracy.hine@alvernia.edu

Wednesday, May 6 | Summer 2020 Classes Shift to Virtual Learning

Dear Alvernia University Community,

To allow students continued progress toward their degrees during these unprecedented times, Alvernia University will transition all Summer 2020 face-to-face classes to virtual teaching and learning.

After quick investment into online learning environments throughout the second half of the Spring 2020 semester, Alvernia is well prepared to offer students a high-quality and meaningful virtual education experience. The vast majority of our Summer courses were already being offered online, so this transition will affect the remaining courses.

Some class sections will be combined to reflect this transition. Those already registered will be notified of these changes in advance of the start of MOD5.

Please know that our faculty and staff are ready to assist students through this transition and that you may have questions or concerns about these changes. As always, please reference your questions to Campus.Update@alvernia.edu so that we can continue to provide updated information via FAQ format.

Please continue to monitor Alvernia.edu/Health-Alerts for updated information and FAQs.

We know that the COVID-19 threat has offered many challenges for our community, but your continued perseverance lightens the path towards a brighter tomorrow. As always, please remember we are in this together.

Sincerely,

Glynis Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Provost 


FAQs

Can I return to campus to get the rest of my belongings?

We've also heard the desire by our resident students to gather their belongings from the residence halls. While we've continued to adhere to Pennsylvania Governor Wolf's "stay at home" order, we've recently received new guidance that has allowed the Office of Residence Life to develop a process for resident students to return to campus to collect their belongings, beginning June 4, 2020.

As directed by the PA Department of Health and PA Department of Education, we must spread this process out over two weeks to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved. It is also important to note that the campus will remain closed during this process.

Residential students should reference the communication delivered to their Alvernia email addresses with specific directions about this process. Action is required by the student to reserve a move out time slot.

We understand that there is no easy way to allow for a normal move-out process, and we ask for your patience and understanding during this time as we work to ensure the safety of the students and families returning to campus and the Alvernia staff designated to assist them.

My home county/area is under a stay at home order and I can not travel to pick up my stuff, what should I do?

Please contact the Office of Residence Life when your county/area re-opens and the stay at home order is lifted. The Office of Residence Life will work with you individually to schedule a time for you to retrieve your belongings. Please do not come to campus without making the arrangements first. Please contact shannon.merkey@alvernia.edu with any questions.

Can I stay on campus overnight when I come to move out?

No. As per the PA Governor’s Office Pennsylvania colleges and universities must remain closed. You can contact the Office of Residence Life for information about local hotels and/or a packing and shipping or storage option if you are unable to travel to campus. Please contact shannon.merkey@alvernia.edu with any questions.

Will students receive refunds for room and board?

Please visit the Presidential Hope Fund page for more information on the financial support program established for students and families struggling to fund education during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

What is the latest on the university's plans for Fall 2020

We've heard and understand your desire to know the University's plans for the Fall 2020 semester. We assure you we are working diligently behind the scenes to determine the best course of action for our campus community.

While the situation remains everchanging, we are consulting the proper health agencies, engaging faculty and staff in scenario planning and continually monitoring the local, state and federal guidelines and best practices.

We ask for your continued patience as we work through these steps so we can ensure our number one priority, keeping our students, faculty, staff, Bernardine Sisters and the greater Alvernia community safe.

Will Summer 2020 courses be held?

Alvernia University will transition all Summer 2020 face-to-face classes to virtual teaching and learning.

After quick investment into online learning environments throughout the second half of the Spring 2020 semester, Alvernia is well prepared to offer students a high-quality and meaningful virtual education experience. The vast majority of our Summer courses were already being offered online, so this transition will affect the remaining courses.

Some class sections will be combined to reflect this transition. Those already registered will be notified of these changes in advance of the start of MOD5.

I'm in need of academic assistance during the Summer 2020 Semester, who can I contact for help

Alvernia University’s Academic Success Center offers online academic support to all students enrolled in summer courses. 

1.) Professional writing tutors can help you organize your ideas, express yourself clearly, and improve your use of sources at every stage of the writing process in any course.

2.) Graduate assistants can help you study for your psychology and business courses. 

3.) Academic coaching sessions can help you apply proven study strategies, time management, and test preparation to start your semester off strong.

Make an appointment at any time by logging onto https://alvernia.mywconline.com with your Alvernia network ID and password. See FAQs & Guides here

For all types of writing assignments, take advantage of your WWW.GRAMMARLY.COM/EDU Premium access using your Alvernia email address and login password.

For help in a specific course, please email academic.support@alvernia.edu or call the Tutoring Hotline at 610-568-1494 for immediate assistance.

Will there be a temporary grading policy to reflect the challenges presented by COVID-19?

Given the extraordinary challenges confronted by the Alvernia University community during the COVID-19 pandemic, new academic policies have been temporarily instituted for Spring and Summer 2020. The new policies and a list of FAQs are available here.    

How do I return textbooks and rent/buy new textbooks while the campus remains closed?

The Alvernia Bookstore has compiled a new list of FAQs for students that includes information on finding the correct textbooks for class, delivery of new books and return instructions.

What do I do with items checked out from the library?

The Franco Library does not require patrons to return Alvernia library books during the campus closure. If your library books have a due date during the COVID-19 closure, they will be due back after the campus and library reopen, and overdue fines will be waived. Patrons do not need to contact the library about books due during the closure unless they are unable to return the books when campus reopens. If you are graduating or otherwise unable to return your books, or you have additional questions about returning materials, please email our Access Services Librarian at kathleen.zamietra@alvernia.edu
 
If you have inter-library loan materials checked out, many libraries are waiving fines and materials due dates. Please contact our ILL staff member at derek.smith@alvernia.edu to verify that you may retain your items until campus reopens or discuss alternative return methods.

What happens to the regularly scheduled commencement ceremony?

All events scheduled at the University through May are suspended. This includes all Commencement activities. We are currently making arrangements for commencement exercises in December 2020. Postponing commencement will not affect our ability to confer degrees and we will mail graduates their diplomas as soon as they are available.

The website to order caps, gowns and hoods is now live.Click here to order your graduation cap & gown (information also available about diploma frames). Academic cords will be distributed at a later date. Don’t want to order now? Caps & gowns will be available at the Grad Finale event before the December 2020 Baccalaureate & Commencement ceremonies.

What type of community service options are available at this time?

Looking for ways to collect service hours over the summer? The Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement has produced a new list of social distance friendly service activities. If you have any questions regarding service opportunities, please contact Alyssa Slade at Alyssa.Slade@alvernia.edu.

What happens with the scheduled alternative breaks?

Both the West Virginia and Reading Alternative Breaks have been cancelled at this time. The Office of Mission and Ministry recognizes how much time and effort students invested in preparation for these trips and are offering students various options for reconciliation, they will be reaching out to you shortly if you are on one of these trips.

What happens to all the scheduled events on campus?

All events scheduled at the University through June are suspended. This will include some of our most wonderful and cherished celebrations, including Honor’s Convocation, MargaritaVern, Spring Fling, SGA Awards and Inductions and Senior Athlete Banquet. Alvernia faculty and staff are currently exploring opportunities to hold some of these events virtually. As details emerge, we will share them via the Health Alerts webpage. 

Now that Alvernia University has closed its campuses, how will that affect operations and events?

All Alvernia University buildings (except those necessary for a contingent of students remaining on campus) for all staff, faculty, and students effective noon Wednesday, March 18, 2020. While university buildings will be closed, online education and registration for students continue as previously announced. All University employees with capability to work remotely, as business operations continue during this time. For our employees in functions without remote capabilities, work will be excused during the closure. 

All university-sponsored events are canceled or postponed through the end of May. All external events scheduled from through the end of May are to be canceled or rescheduled. To reschedule external events, please contact John.McCloskey@alvernia.edu.

Can students continue participating in fieldwork (clinical experiences, internships, etc.)? 

Alvernia University is committed to supporting internship/clinical/fieldwork experiences. Students can continue their experience as long as the host site remains open and the student’s preceptor/supervisor is available. Above all, please know that Alvernia cares for the safety of its students. Students may choose not to continue field placements. If or when that occurs, students should contact their department chair or fieldwork coordinator by email. As always, Alvernia encourages students to maintain ongoing communication with department fieldwork coordinators. Alvernia faculty are fully supportive of students and appreciative of ​those who are on the front lines of health care, business and criminal justice and helping to keep communities safe by shaping the response to COVID-19.

Are there resources available to help students, faculty, and staff transition to online learning and remote work environments?

The Center for Instructional Design and Learning Technology has developed a list of resources put to help you transition to a fully online environment. This folder will be updated daily and we encourage you to use any of the resources in this folder to assist.

Student Online Learning Environment Resource Folder

Faculty and Staff Online Learning Environment and Remote Work Resource Folder

Any faculty or student having IT related issues (ZOOM connections, webcam problems, remote access to servers and other programs, etc.)  should contact the Service Desk (610-927-2008 or servicedesk@alvernia.edu). The IT Support Services team will be working closely with the Service Desk to prioritize responses. 

How will Alvernia handle students who are employed through work-study and Graduate Assistantships?

Student worker programs remain generally suspended during the closure.With few exceptions, student workers already embedded in the educational structure may work with VP approval. Hours worked should be recorded per regular pay practice. Graduate Assistants may work remotely with Vice President approval. In some cases, graduate assistant work that is non-essential at this time will be suspended. Hours worked should be recorded per regular pay practice.

Who do I alert if I become ill?

In the unfortunate event any student, faculty or staff member becomes ill during this closure, it is important to notify your primary care physician.

Students, faculty and staff should also contact Director of Health Services Dr. Claire Murphy (Claire.Murphy@alvernia.edu).

Employees should also contact their supervisor and Leslie Kane (Leslie.Kane@alvernia.edu).

 


Coronavirus Information

Information below is from the Center for Disease Control COVID-19 FAQs page. For a full list of FAQs please visit the CDC website.

What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

A diagnosis with coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 is not the same as a COVID-19 diagnosis. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.

What is the source of the virus

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people, and others, such as canine and feline coronaviruses, only infect animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses that infect animals have emerged to infect people and can spread between people. This is suspected to have occurred for the virus that causes COVID-19. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are two other examples of coronaviruses that originated from animals and then spread to people. More information about the source and spread of COVID-19 is available on the Situation Summary: Source and Spread of the Virus.

What are the symptoms and complications that COVID-19 can cause?

Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Read about COVID-19 Symptoms.

How can I protect myself?

Visit the COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment page to learn about how to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19.

 


Previous Updates

Friday, May 1, 2020 | Presidential Hope Fund Announcement

Dear Alvernia Students and Parents,

I hope this letter finds you healthy and safe during this challenging time. Please know that you continue to be not only in my thoughts and prayers but in those of our dedicated faculty and staff as well.

Circumstances have required that the University’s physical facilities remain closed to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, the Bernardine Sisters and the communities we serve. We are adhering to federal, state and local guidance – and related closure orders – as we continue to fulfill our academic mission remotely. 

I am grateful for the swift action and adaptability of both our faculty and students, which has allowed learning to continue in a remote environment. Despite this success, we know that the impacts of COVID-19 go well beyond academic programming. This time is difficult for everyone, but many of our Alvernia students and their families are suffering significant and unprecedented financial repercussions. In response, the University has developed a financial support program to assist students struggling to fund their continued education.

In our Bernardine Franciscan tradition of serving those in need, we have created the Presidential Hope Fund. The Fund includes amounts allocated to the University through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act as well as additional university funds which totals over $3 million of resources available to help families in need. All CARES Act funding will go directly to students. Listed below is how the Presidential Hope Fund will be initially utilized.

1.) For residential students who had their spring living experience affected by the repercussions of COVID-19, $1,225 of CARES act funds will be paid in cash directly to you to help with food, housing, course materials, technology or other related expenses. In addition, the University will provide a matching, non-taxable credit of $1,225 to your account (to clear an outstanding balance or to be applied for summer or fall charges) as reimbursement for a portion of the cost of room and board for the spring semester for a total of $2,450 in financial resources.

2.) To accelerate the Class of 2020’s approach to the job market, for any graduating student with an outstanding balance as of May 1, 2020, the university will credit your account up to $2,000 through Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Emergency Awards and university funds. Complete the Graduating Student Application to request this aid.

3.) The Hope Fund is available to all students (undergraduate, graduate and adult) to assist families catch up on their account balances due to the disruption and economic consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic and to ensure continued learning. Funding requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. To maximize the number of students benefiting from Hope Fund emergency matching grant and other aid under the Hope Fund program, grants will be awarded up to a maximum of $5,000. Students can apply for a Hope Fund matching grant to receive a matching grant of up to $2 for every $1 paid on an open account balance as of May 1, 2020. Other need-based grants will also be considered. To qualify, all payments must be applied to your account by May 29, 2020. Complete the Hope Fund Grant Application to request this aid.

The University’s Hope Fund committee will review eligible requests and determine award amounts. If you have any questions regarding the form or the Hope Fund, please contact our Hope Fund team at Presidential.Aid@alvernia.edu. We will also be reaching out to students and families over the coming days to help you make your request for resources.

I wish you all the best during these difficult times. Please take care of yourselves and take pride in your commitment to your future as you persevere through to the end of this semester. We look forward to seeing you on campus soon.

Stay safe,

John R. Loyack

President

Friday, April 24

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As highlighted by the video created by one of our graduating students, Shannon Bell, please know you are missed.

While we can't be on campus to share smiles, stories and events, we can still lift the spirits of those around us with small acts of kindness and innovative thinking. 

For example, this week we witnessed a virtual theatre performance by Alvernia faculty, student and alumni as well as professional artists, students sharing stories about their favorite places around campus and a prayer from the Grotto. 

Although we are apart, there are so many ways to support each other. Please continue to look for these opportunities in your everyday virtual interactions.

As always, we ask that you continue to monitor the Alvernia Health Alerts webpage for updates.

Please stay safe, stay healthy and remember, we are in this together.

Sincerely,
 

Glynis Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Provost 

John McCloskey, D.B.A., Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff 

Overcoming COVID-19

Alvernia University Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Victoria Williams, with help from her daughter Charlotte, reveals her overcoming COVID-19 to continue her class instruction online in this light-hearted movie trailer! Read the full story here.

We want to hear your story. Please share them with us through this newly created form.

Academics

Bookstore Shipping Free: The campus bookstore is committed to supporting your continuing education and is working with the Alvernia faculty to offer digital options wherever possible. The bookstore will also be shipping out books and other supplies with free shipping for summer courses.

Library Update: The Franco Library does not require patrons to return Alvernia library books during the campus closure. If your library books have a due date during the COVID-19 closure, they will be due back after the campus and library reopen and overdue fines will be waived. Patrons do not need to contact the library about books due during the closure unless they are unable to return the books when campus reopens. If you are graduating or otherwise unable to return your books, or you have additional questions about returning materials, please email our Access Services Librarian at kathleen.zamietra@alvernia.edu
 
If you have inter-library loan materials checked out, many libraries are waiving fines and materials due dates. Please contact our ILL staff member at derek.smith@alvernia.edu to verify that you may retain your items until the campus reopens or discuss alternative return methods. 
 
The library has created another library video tutorial, Advanced Library Skills: Subject Searching, Journal Finder, and Citation Tools. This tutorial demonstrates advanced research skills applicable to all disciplines for the fully online environment. Students and faculty can access all library tutorial videos through our Online Library Services research guide. Faculty can contact a librarian for information on embedding this video or other library tutorials in their Blackboard courses. 


University Operations

PPE Statement: Alvernia University will comply with the PA state directive issued April 15, 2020, for ensuring safety when on campus and inside university properties. At this time, campus is closed to the public and employee restrictions remain enforced. Consistent with previous directives, only essential personnel and those select few employees with specific permission granted, are to be present on campus at this time. Anyone on campus must wear a protective mask or face covering. All must respect the social distancing guidelines of 6 feet of separation.

Thursday, April 16

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As our community continues to work through these unprecedented times, the Alvernia University Emergency Management Committee continues to monitor the local, national and global COVID-19 outbreak to keep everyone safe, strong and healthy.

While we face our new reality, trenched in virtual interactions, it is important to know hard work continues behind the scenes to continue to deliver a high-quality educational experience for our students. We are thankful to both faculty and students for their quick transition to the new online learning environment.

We also recognize the extraordinary challenges presented in this new online environment. Thus, a new temporary grading policy has been established for the Spring and Summer 2020 semesters.

While many things have changed over the last month, our community's incredible commitment to service has not. Stories of students, faculty, staff and alumni assisting others through this turbulent period spark lights of hope for better tomorrows. 

We are delighted to continue to share these stories with you, so please make sure to follow along on social media and send your stories to news@alvernia.edu.

We ask that you continue to monitor the Alvernia Health Alerts webpage for updates.

Please stay safe, stay healthy and remember, we are in this together.

Sincerely,
 

Glynis Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Provost 

John McCloskey, D.B.A., Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff  

Academics

Temporary Grading Policy Update: Given the extraordinary challenges confronted by the Alvernia University community during the COVID-19 pandemic, new academic policies have been temporarily instituted for Spring and Summer 2020. The new policies and a list of FAQs are available here.

Bookstore Update: The campus bookstore is committed to supporting your continuing education and is working with the Alvernia faculty to offer digital options wherever possible. The bookstore has recently created an FAQ document for students that includes instructions for finding what materials are needed for classes, how to return rental textbooks and how to sell books back.

All academic support services are available online: View the schedules of all tutors, study groups, and workshops on https://alvernia.mywconline.com/. Students can upload files to their appointment block and discuss by chat, audio, or Zoom while viewing a shared screen. Detailed instructions for each step are found on Alvernia’s FAQs & Guides.
If you need immediate assistance, call 610-568-1494 anytime to speak with a live person or email your requests for help to academic.support@alvernia.edu.


Housing and Campus Life

Virtual Career Week Begins Monday: Even in these uncertain times, employers are still looking to hire new graduates from all fields of study. The Office of Career Development has organized a Virtual Career Week, where students will connect with various employers to learn about their company and available positions. This will take place Monday, April 20 - Thursday, April 24. Students can register on Handshake. Also, don't forget that Career Development is available and willing to visit Zoom classrooms to share information with classes. If interested, please contact Patrice Williams or Megan Adukaitis.

Residential Move Out: We understand the need and desire to obtain personal belongings. Pennsylvania Governor Wolf’s “stay at home” order and closure of non-life-sustaining businesses to avoid unnecessary travel is still in effect. This means that the University, including our residence halls, is closed until further notice to protect our faculty, staff, students and their families.

The Office of Residence Life will contact all residential students with detailed instructions on the move out process once the Governor’s order has been lifted. In the meantime, please know that your belongings are safely locked in rooms and that Public Safety is doing rounds of the residence halls.

University Operations

Zoom Mid-Day Prayer: On Mondays and Wednesdays, the Office of Mission and Ministry will lead a Mid-Day Prayer at 12 p.m. on zoom. This will last about 10 minutes, and anyone can join by contacting tracy.hine@alvernia.edu

Thursday, April 9

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As we enter the Easter Break, we want to share some updates and important notes with our community. 

a.) For the health and safety of the campus community, Alvernia University remains closed through the end of the Spring 2020 semester. We will not be returning April 14, as announced in mid-March. Classes and other activities will remain online. We ask that residential students remain patient while the university investigates methods for item retrieval.

b.) Recognizing that COVID‑19 has upended all our lives, and that some students face challenges that could impact their grades, Alvernia has developed an emergency adjustment to grading deadlines and policies for students in the spring 2020 term. Most students will have the option for pass/fail grades in a wide variety of courses. Students may decide which courses receive a P/F grade, subject to academic department policies. There is no need to submit any requests at this time. The P/F option provides flexibility and support for students during these unprecedented times. The full policy with FAQs will be published Tuesday 4/14/20.

c.) While the May commencement ceremony has been rescheduled to December 13, 2020, we are investigating methods to get caps and gowns to graduating students so social-distancing celebrations can be enjoyed in the coming months. More information will be available in the coming weeks.

d.) Outside of breaking information, COVID-19 Updates will be distributed weekly in this new format. We ask that you continue to view the important updates in the areas of Academics, Housing and Campus Life and University Operations located at the bottom of this email. 

We want to end our communication during this Holy Week by expressing our deepest gratitude for our community’s ongoing understanding and patience. Please continue to offer support and care to one another and have a blessed Holy Week and Happy Easter!

Sincerely,
 

Glynis Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Provost 

John McCloskey, D.B.A., Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff  

Housing and Campus Life

Housing Selection for returning students will take place on Tuesday (4/14), Wednesday (4/15) and Thursday (4/16). Students who registered for 12 or more credits for fall 2020 and completed a housing application have been notified of their selection time via email. Please make sure to log on and select your 2020-2021 housing during your designated time slot.

SGA elections for undergraduate day students: For students interested in becoming an SGA Senator, Intent to Run forms for the senate are due on PAX by April 14th. Click here to access the form or it can be found on the PAX homepage. Elections for senate positions on PAX will run from noon on April 22nd through noon on April 24th

Career Development Updates: Career Development is available and willing to visit Zoom classrooms to share information with your class regarding the enhancement of your students' virtual professional development. If you are interested in having a speaker from Career Development, please contact Patrice Williams or Megan Adukaitis via email at patrice.williams@alvernia.edu and megan.adukaitis@alvernia.edu. You can also participate in several upcoming ZOOM events that feature partnerships with our amazing alumni, community, and employer partners:

a.) Monday, April 20th - Thursday, April 24th: Virtual Hiring Week - Students will have the opportunity to connect with various employers to learn about their company and available positions. 

Click Here for Handshake Link

b.) Tuesday, April 21st at 4 pm via Zoom: Alumni Guest Speaker Annie Ahern: "Grad School Year One" - Annie will be sharing information on the application, acceptance, and first-year experience at Thomas Jefferson University. 

Click Here for Zoom Link

c.) Tuesday, April 28th at 12:30 pm via Zoom: LinkedIn Lunch 'n Learn by Adrean Turner: "Virtual Branding" - Adrean will be providing helpful tips on how to make the most of your LinkedIn profile to enhance your online presence and your virtual brand. 

Click Here for Zoom Link


University Operations

Update Out Of Office Message: All faculty and staff should update their email out of office reply to the following:

Thank you for your email. For the safety of our community, the Alvernia University campus is closed through the end of the Spring 2020 semester. We appreciate your understanding and will respond as soon as possible. Have a great day.

Protect Your Zoom Call: Zoom has suggested the following measures to increase the security of your Zoom sessions and reduce the chance of unwanted attendees ("zoombombing"). We recommend using as many of these options as you reasonably can without impacting your meeting operations. If you are discussing any sensitive or confidential information in your meetings, these measures become that much more important.

a.) Meeting Passwords: It's highly recommended that you set a strong password for all meetings and webinars. When scheduling a meeting, under Meeting Options, select Require meeting password, then specify a strong password (make your password at least eight characters long and use at least three of the following types of characters: lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, symbols). Participants will be asked for this password to join your meeting.

b.) Enable the Waiting Room Feature: The Waiting Room feature allows the host to control when each participant joins the meeting. As the meeting host, you can admit attendees one by one, or hold all attendees in the virtual waiting room and admit them en masse. This requires more work by the host, but only allows participants to join if you specifically admit them.

c.) Disable Join Before Host: If you are scheduling a meeting where sensitive information will be discussed, it's best to leave Enable join before host (found under Meeting Options when scheduling a meeting) turned off. Visit Zoom's Join Before Host help page for more information. The Join Before Host option can be convenient for allowing others to continue with a meeting if you are not available to start it, but with this option enabled, the first person who joins the meeting will automatically be made the host and will have full control over the meeting.

d.) Limit Screen Sharing to the Host: By default, screen sharing in Zoom meetings is limited to the host. You can change this if you need to allow other attendees to share their screens. If you make this change and decide to return to having screen sharing be limited to the host, while in your meeting,

Click the up-arrow next to Share Screen.

Select Advanced Sharing Options.

Under Who can share, click Only Host.

This won't be appropriate when multiple participants will need to share and collaborate, but this restriction prevents unwanted attendees from interrupting the meeting with intrusive sharing.

Wednesday, April 1

Dear Alvernia University Community,

We recently learned that an Alvernia student tested positive for Alvernia community’s first known case of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The student received the proper medical care and support and remains in self-isolation per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Our student is recovering comfortably at home and in good spirits.

The student was last in classes on March 13, 2020. The student is not a residential student and we are advised by the Department of Health that the students poses no risk to the community. Please be assured we have responded to this case by taking all appropriate steps and guidance from various government health authorities, and it's important that our community remains calm. Rest assured, we will maintain the privacy of the student’s identity and will continue to follow the guidance of the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

At Alvernia, we had already taken proactive steps such as moving to classes online, closing campus buildings and transitioned staff to remote working environments to enhance social distancing. By limiting the number of people on campus, we reduced the potential for spread of COVID-19 within in our community. The university is continuing to conduct extensive cleaning of facilities across campus during the closure.

We are continuing to monitor the situation and will provide additional updates to the community via the Alvernia Health Alerts webpage.

With increased testing in the southeastern Pennsylvania area and around the country, there will be more confirmed cases as community spread of COVID-19 continues. We can all help limit the spread of illness by practicing good health hygiene and social distancing.

We want to end by expressing our sincere gratitude for our community’s ongoing understanding and patience. We are deeply committed to keeping you informed and involved during this time of great uncertainty. Please continue to offer support and care to one another. We will get through this together.

Sincerely,

Glynis Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Provost  

John McCloskey, D.B.A., Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff 

Academics

Commencement Ceremony Rescheduled: Due to the uncertain duration of the ongoing threat of COVID-19, the regularly scheduled May 2020 commencement ceremony has been rescheduled to Sunday, December 13, 2020 at Santander Arena. Times for Baccalaureate and the Commencement are to be determined. Further communication with additional details will be provided in the coming months.

Franco Library Updates: The library is offering a fully-online library research and citation tutorial: Library Research Skills Foundations. This tutorial covers library literacy skills, adapted for online learning. Students and faculty can access this 30 minute video tutorial online. Faculty can contact a librarian for information on embedding this video in their Blackboard courses.

Check out the library's revised Online Library Services research guide. In addition to useful links and instructions for finding and citing sources, this research guide includes a page on COVID-19, with a compilation of credible, authoritative resources on the virus.

Need research assistance from a librarian? Students can schedule a one-on-one Zoom session with a librarian. To schedule a Zoom session, please email us at library.calendar@alvernia.eduat at least one day before your requested Zoom meeting date. Librarians are also available by email, chat, and phone.

Academic Workshops Available: Wednesday night workshops offer a relaxed forum for practical, proven ways to deal with the stress of this new college life. Join the camaraderie in our Zoom room ID# 433-486-192 at 7:00PM

April 1: Understanding Balance: Social/Emotional Skill Development

April 15: Stress Management

Monday, March 30

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As we begin this week, we fully enter a new reality of online learning, remote work and virtual relationships. 

While many hard decisions were made last week, we've seen some of the best our community has to offer. 

Our DPT program is overcoming isolation with friendly games of Pictionary via ZOOM. Our Sports Medicine Team is providing newsletters to help our student-athletes cope and adjust to the challenges of COVID-19. Our psychology faculty members and students are working on virtual projects for the students at Millmont and Tyson-Schoener Elementary Schools, who are also adapting to this new way of online learning. 

But the best update is centric to our mission at Alvernia. The Holleran Center has developed ways (listed below) our community can continue service remotely, safely and in our own communities and families. 

We understand more challenges are ahead, but we can be inspired by those who are conquering this new reality, so please continue to share your stories with us. If you have a story about overcoming these challenges, please email us at News@Alvernia.edu

We will continue to answer questions through FAQ updates, so please send your feedback to Campus.Update@alvernia.edu. And as always, please visit Alvernia.edu/Health-Alerts for the latest information.

"Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world."

- Desmond Tutu

Sincerely,

Glynis Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Provost  

John McCloskey, D.B.A., Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff 

Academics

Community service graduation requirement waived: Alvernia University's service requirement involves completing at least 40 hours of community service before graduation. We recognize and greatly appreciate the many hours that our students contribute to others. Due to our current cultural climate, we believe that our students, in one way or another, are providing service daily to their family, friends or nearby community. We also understand that our students are working through situations that prompt additional levels of stress and anxiety. In acknowledgment of the current unique circumstance, all of our graduates, up through our August graduates, will be recognized as fulfilling their Alvernia University service requirement. We will still permit students to send in their service hours if they choose to do so as a way of recognizing their efforts, but this would not be required.

Withdrawal date moved to April 17: The withdrawal date for semester-long classes and Mod 4 has been extended to April 17 to allow students more time to adjust to the remote courses. If you plan to withdraw from a class, please email one of the Registrar's Office staff members, Paula GlasmyreAllison Novak or Beki Stein for the procedure.

All academic support services are available online: View the schedules of all our tutors, study groups, and workshops on https://alvernia.mywconline.com/. Students can upload files to their appointment block and discuss by chat, audio, or Zoom while viewing a shared screen. Detailed instructions for each step are found on Alvernia's FAQs & Guides.

If you need immediate assistance, call 610-568-1494 anytime to speak with a live person or email your requests for help to academic.support@alvernia.edu.

Housing and Campus Life

Service opportunities from home: As the Holleran Center has a direct nexus and mission-centered on community service, we will continue to post potential community service activities with the caveat that all staff and students should follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and participate only if they are comfortable doing so. A full list of these opportunities can be found here.

Write a Bernardine Sister: Looking for something to occupy your time while you are social distancing? Write a Bernardine Sister! Email Julianne Wallace, who will supply you with an email address for one of our sisters and you can start an email-pen-pal relationship!

Friday, March 27

Dear Alvernia University Community,

With the State of Pennsylvania’s order for Berks County residents to stay-at-home beginning at 8 p.m. Friday, March 27, and lasting through April 6, we know you may have many questions about how Alvernia is proceeding.

We understand that this is a stressful time for all members of our community. We are committed to continuing in accordance with our Franciscan values and principles in providing the best educational experience for our students. The safety and well-being of our community is our highest priority at this time.

A few important points:

1.) Alvernia University has already closed most university buildings at each of its three campuses, and classes will remain online through the remainder of the semester.

2.) Alvernia Senior Leadership has defined a small group of essential personnel that will need access to university buildings to continue to serve our remote students, faculty and staff as well as the small contingent of students who remain on campus. This includes Food Services, Housekeeping, Information Technology and Public Safety only.

3.) The campus is operating in accordance with the stay-at-home order: Alvernia is housing students, offering services and providing meals. Most university services have already moved online, including classes last week.

We will continue to update members of the community with information during this unprecedented and rapidly evolving situation. Please keep safe and follow recommendations from the CDC regarding social distancing and precautions. Our Health Alerts page is regularly updated, and we encourage you to check back frequently.

Finally, we leave you with a mission moment for solitude:

As we enter into this new phase of sheltering in place, let us remember that St. Francis was no stranger to solitude. He often found places, such as the mountain retreat known as the Carceri, to practice contemplation. This solitude is the foundation of our Franciscan life. In our modern day, solitude is more difficult to achieve and certainly very few of us can escape to a mountain retreat! But, as we begin a time of isolation, we encourage you to develop a regular rhythm of solitude and prayer that will help you discern God’s presence in this current time of uncertainty and anxiety. 

Sincerely,

Glynis Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Provost 

John McCloskey, D.B.A., Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff  

Academics 

Community service graduation requirement waived: Alvernia University’s service requirement involves completing at least 40 hours of community service before graduation. We recognize and greatly appreciate the many hours that our students contribute to others. Due to our current cultural climate, we believe that our students, in one way or another, are providing service daily to their family, friends or nearby community. We also understand that our students are working through situations that prompt additional levels of stress and anxiety. In acknowledgment of the current unique circumstance, all of our graduates, up through our August graduates, will be recognized as fulfilling their Alvernia University service requirement. We will still permit students to send in their service hours if they choose to do so as a way of recognizing their efforts, but this would not be required. 

Service opportunities from home: As the Holleran Center has a direct nexus and mission-centered on community service, we will continue to post potential community service activities with the caveat that all staff and students should follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and participate only if they are comfortable doing so. A full list of these opportunities can be found here

Blackboard shell for faculty: The Center for Instructional Design and Learning Technologies has developed a Blackboard Organization as a space for faculty conversation and sharing resources during this time of online learning. To access this Blackboard Organization,login to Blackboard and find Organizations where you are: Participant. Bookmark this organization and peruse the resources that are available to you, including all of the shared resources, access to technologies to use in the online environment, a discussion board to share ideas and a sample shell that can be used as you are transitioning your Blackboard courses to an online format. New resources will be added every day. 

Media Suite offers webinars for faculty: Please check the new Blackboard shell for a full list of live webinars being offered to Alvernia faculty on topics that include Teaching Online, Teaching Online with Blackboard, Teaching Live with ZOOM, Creating Online Tests with Respondus and Recording Lectures with Panopto. Webinars registration is required in advance and webinars will be made available on-demand when completed. 

Housing and Campus Life

SGA elections for undergraduate day students: For students interested in running for the student government association executive board, intent to run forms for the executive board are due this Friday, March 27th. Click hereto access the form or it can be found on the PAX homepage. Elections will be on PAX from April 1st at noon through April 3rd at noon. Intent to Run forms for the senate are due on PAX by April 14th. Click here to access the form or it can be found on the PAX homepage. Elections for senate positions on PAX will run from noon on April 22nd through noon on April 24th

Mental health resource from Active Minds: Active Minds, the nation's premier nonprofit organization supporting mental health awareness and education for students, has developed alist of mental health resources for students during the COVID-19 situation. In addition, Active Minds is holding regular webinars and other online events that offer resources to students. 

Student activities from home: Student activities is hosting something new every day at 2 p.m. ET. The internet has a lot to offer and Googling will only get you so far. Let Student Activities share with you some awesome things to do online! Students can follow the student activities Instagram @AlverniaSA

University Operations 

Having computer issues?: Many of the most common problems with computers can be resolved by restarting. These include failing to connect to the VPN, computer running slowly, software is not responsive, and many others. By taking this simple step, many calls to the service desk can be avoided and you will maintain your productivity! 

Wednesday, March 25

Dear Alvernia University Community, 

Like all of you, we have been closely monitoring the public health crisis created by COVID-19. We have continuously reviewed guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania State Health Officials and the White House on tactics to implement to protect our community. 

We write you today with decisions that are disappointing, weigh heavy on our hearts and have been very difficult for us to reach. First, Alvernia University suspends all in-person instruction, except for certain, limited clinical instruction, for the remainder of the semester. All classes will continue online. The faculty and administration has extended the deadline to withdraw from a course to April 17th. This deadline applies to semester-long and Mod 4 classes, undergraduate and graduate.

In addition, all events scheduled at the University through May are suspended. This will include some of our most wonderful and cherished celebrations, including Honors Convocation, MargaritaVern and most disappointing, all Commencement activities. Alvernia faculty and staff are currently exploring opportunities to hold some of these events virtually. As details emerge, we will share them via the Health Alerts webpage. 

We are currently making arrangements for commencement exercises in December 2020. Postponing commencement will not affect our ability to confer degrees and we will mail graduates their diplomas as soon as they are available.

We will deeply miss the vibrancy that students bring to our campuses each spring, and how incomplete this year will feel without our commencement ceremonies. We share in your current pain but look forward to celebrating in your collective joy after our community does its part to mitigate all the risks that COVID-19 poses to our students, faculty, staff and our foundresses, the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters. 

To our faculty and staff, we are working aggressively to support academic continuity, telecommuting, and leave flexibility for issues related to COVID-19. The university will continue its operations as previously announced. 

We know this news brings about many questions and concerns. We encourage you to continue to share those by emailing Campus.Update@Alvernia.eduwhile continuing to monitor Health Alerts and your campus email account for the latest updates. 

We would like to thank our campus community for demonstrating our Franciscan values of service, humility, peacemaking, contemplation and collegiality during this time. You have continued to rise to meet each new challenge posed and you have our sincerest gratitude for your hard work throughout. We hope this mission moment inspires hope: “I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world." ( John 16:33) Together, we know our community will overcome every obstacle ahead. 

Sincerely,

Glynis Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Provost  

John McCloskey, D.B.A., Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff 

Friday, March 20

Dear Alvernia University Community, 

What a week it has been for our university, our state and our world.

With all the challenges COVID-19 currently presents to our way of life, it is more important than ever to reflect on our university’s Franciscan roots. We hope you will find comfort in knowing that the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters are cheerful and doing well at this time. 

With this, in all future updates, we will offer a mission moment for our community. We hope these phrases provide comfort, peace and a unique way to center yourself during these turbulent times. 

So as you head into the weekend, please be healthy, safe and take care of yourself and your loved ones.

“God's love calls us to move beyond fear. We ask God for the courage to put on faith, hope and love as we go out into the world and become the word in body as well as spirit.”  - Pope Francis 

Sincerely, 

Glynis Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Provost 

John McCloskey, D.B.A., Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff  

Academics 

Adobe Creative Cloud Free: Adobe announced free access to its Cloud Service for all Alvernia students through the end of May. Installation instructions are available in the Student Resources Folder here

New Student Resources: New student resources are available in this folder. New resources will be added regularly, so we encourage students to bookmark the folder.

Blackboard Shell for Faculty: The Center for Instructional Design and Learning Activities is developing a faculty shell as a space for faculty conversation and sharing resources during this time of online learning. We will alert you when this feature becomes available on Blackboard.

Housing and Campus Life 

Meal and Mailroom Update: For the students remaining on campus, grab and go meals will be available once a day, 12-1 p.m. Students can pick up their mail in the Public Safety office at that time as well.

Thursday, March 19

March 19, 2020 - Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,

We are writing to update the campus community on our continued monitoring of the ever-evolving situation coronavirus poses.

We remain committed to ensuring the safety and health of our students, faculty, staff and the Sisters while providing high-quality education.

To do this, we will continue to share updates and relevant resources to guide you through these times of considerable uncertainty. Please see the pertinent updates and resources below.

Sincerely,

Glynis Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Provost

John McCloskey, D.B.A., Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff

 

Academics

Synchronous Classes: Any faculty holding synchronous classes must do so during their regularly scheduled class time.

Connection Problems: Any faculty or student having connection issues should contact the Service Desk (610-927-2008 or servicedesk@alvernia.edu), who will then escalate to Support Services if needed.

New Student Resources Available: New resources to help students transition to online learning and self-quarantining are available in the Student Resources Folder.

 

University Operations

Academic Alerts, Progress Reports and ReportIt: During this time of transition to the online environment, we want to continue to use these platforms so that appropriate staff can provide outreach to our students. Please remember that reports related to academic concerns should be submitted through AUAdvise. All other concerns should be submitted through ReportIt.

Faculty Resource to Quickly Transition to Online Learning: Cengage developed a webinar “Stop-Gap Strategies to Quickly Transition Online” that is now available in the Faculty Resources Folder.

Managing Your Newly Remote Workers: The Harvard Business Review has compiled a guide for supervisors who find themselves managing their newly remote teams.

Wednesday, March 18

March 18, 2020 - Update

Dear Alvernia University Community, 

Today marks the official closure of all university buildings as students and faculty transition to online education and employees begin remote business operations. This decision came after careful consideration for the safety and well-being of our campus community and the greater Berks, Montgomery and Schuylkill county communities that we serve daily. 

There is a small contingent of students who remain on campus at this time and the university is providing them the necessary resources during the closure. 

We can all help limit the spread of illness by practicing good health hygiene and social distancing. The university is continuing its heightened cleaning processes, and with the closure of our buildings, deep cleaning by our housekeeping staff will begin.

In the unfortunate event any student, faculty or staff member becomes ill during this closure, it is important to notify Dr. Claire Murphy (Claire.Murphy@alvernia.edu). Employees should also contact their supervisor and Leslie Kane (Leslie.Kane@alvernia.edu).

We ask that everyone continue to monitor their university emails and visit Alvernia.edu/Health-Alerts for continued updates pertinent to academics, housing, campus life and university operations. Most importantly, stay safe, stay healthy and take time for self-care and care of your loved ones. And please remember, we are in this together. 

Sincerely, 

Glynis Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Provost 

John McCloskey, D.B.A., Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff 

 

Academics 

Academic Success Center and Library Services: The Academic Success Center and Library staff are available to assist students as they transition to this new online learning environment. Please click here to view the remote services available. All students can access this and other resources by clicking here.

Comcast Offers Free Internet Access: Comcast is offering free internet packages to those in participating locations. More information is available here. 

 

Housing and Campus Life 

Health and Wellness: Alvernia continues to offer health and counseling services for the campus community during the closure. For an updated list of resources, please click here

Dining Services: Students who remain on campus will be able to pick up cooked and cooled to-go meal service out of the student center salad bar. Pick up will be available seven days a week, twice a day: 7-8 a.m. and 12–1 p.m. Prepared foods will be dated and labeled for students to reheat in their residence halls. 

Mailroom: Students who remain on campus will be able to pick up their mail at Public Safety in the student center, twice a day, 7-8 a.m. and 12-1 p.m. 

Zoom Mid-Day Prayer: On Mondays and Wednesdays, the Office of Mission and Ministry will lead a Mid-Day Prayer at 12 p.m. on zoom. This will last about 10 minutes, and anyone can join using this zoom link: https://alvernia.zoom.us/j/195504048 (If you would like a calendar invite, contact tracy.hine@alvernia.edu). 

Clare’s Cupboard: Our on-campus food pantry, Clare’s Cupboard, is now in Veronica Hall Chapel and will remain open during the campus closure. Any students who remain on campus are welcome to take what they need. At this time, the cupboard is fully stocked, but the university will ask faculty and staff if or when more donations are needed. If anyone in our community needs extra food, please reach out to reid.hoff@alvernia.edu. 

Hammock Ministry: For students remaining on campus, Stephanie Gonzalez will hold Hammock Ministry, a social distancing-friendly activity approved by Dr. Murphy. Students on campus are invited to meet with Stephanie in groups of two, around the hammocks, all while maintaining social distancing rules! Reach out to stephanie.gonzalez@alvernia.edu for more information. 

Interfaith Coffee Hour: Interfaith Coffee Hours will now be zoom meetings. Please reach out to Rubina.tareen@alvernia.edu for more information. 

 

University Operations 

Service Desk: In our remote work environment, it is imperative to contact the Service Desk at 610-927-2008 or servicedesk@alvernia.edu for any IT issues. The IT Support Services team will be working closely with the Service Desk to prioritize responses. 

Citrix Web Access: IT has developed a walkthrough for remote access to Citrix, which powers many campus applications such as PowerCampus, PowerFAIDSand SQL reports. The walkthrough is available in the Faculty and Staff OneDrive Resources folder 

Work-Study and Graduate Assistants: Student worker programs remain generally suspended during the closure. With few exceptions, student workers already embedded in the educational structure may work with VP approval. Hours worked should be recorded per regular pay practice. Graduate Assistants may work remotely with Vice President approval. In some cases, graduate assistant work that is non-essential at this time will be suspended. Hours worked should be recorded per regular pay practice. 

Employee Assistance Program: Alvernia employees can utilize EAP telephonic and telehealth services instead of meeting face to face. Clients having questions or concerns may call the main number, 610-374-4963 option 7 or 800-255-5998 option 7 for Inroads EAP. To utilize the staff directory, press the # key. Inroads and Family Guidance Center Staff are monitoring. 

Human Resources and Payroll: Human Resources and payroll remain open and available to support/assist with any employee issue/question that may arise. For pay questions, please email Raelynn Papoutsis, Raelynn.papoutsis@alvernia.edu, or Allyson Mullin, Allyson.mullin@alvernia.edu

Tuesday, March 17

Dear Alvernia Faculty and Staff,

As you transition away from campus, here are a few additional notes and reminders:

Email
  • While email should be handled as normal, we are encouraging employees to use the following Out Of Office reply:
    • Thank you for your email. For the safety of our community, the Alvernia University campus is closed until Tuesday, April 14. We appreciate your understanding and will respond as soon as possible. Have a great day.
  •  To reduce the number of emails campus-wide, please send all announcements to Campus.Update@alvernia.edu for distribution. Updates will be posted to our external website and sent through email from Campus Update. Please check this important communication daily.
ZOOM
  • ZOOM is the software that allows faculty to conduct live classes and hold virtual office hours for your students and for all staff to continue to communicate virtually. All faculty have been granted basic accounts, which allows an unlimited number of 40-minute meetings with up to 100 students and access to every feature in ZOOM except for recording in the cloud and breakout rooms. All staff who had the upgraded pro license have been replaced with a basic license until we resume normal academic operations. If you need an upgraded license to ZOOM to conduct class sessions for more than 40 minutes or plan to use the breakout rooms feature, please email Brian Gall (brian.gall@alvernia.edu) for access to the pro account. If you do not know how to use ZOOM, please make an appointment with the Media Suite. We will utilize Zoom for training.
Office Phone Call Forwarding and Voicemails
  • Please use the following steps below to forward your office phone to your cellphone or home phone:
    • Using the white arrow keys, arrow over and/or down until you see the “call forward” menu item.
    • Press the button next to “call forward.” The button will light up green, and you will get a dial tone.
    • Enter the number that you want to forward calls to (you will need to enter a 6 and the 10 digit number, or, if it is a long-distance number, enter 6,1, and the 10 digit number.
    • Once you have entered the number, you will hear 3 beeps confirming your call forward, and at the top of your phone display, you will see the message “call forward xxxxxxxx” where xxxxxxx is the phone number you are forwarding your calls to.
    • Call Forwarding will remain active until you press the “call forward” button again. Once the green light goes out, call forwarding is disabled.
  • Please change your office voicemail to say the following:
    • Thank you for your call. For the safety of our community, the Alvernia University campus is closed until Tuesday, April 14. Employees are working remotely, so please be sure to follow your call with an email to {insert your email address}. Thank you and have a great day.
  • If you don’t set up call forwarding, please review your voicemail daily by:
    • Dialing 610-796-8297
    • When prompted, enter your 4 digit extension and voicemail password.
    • From this point, the voicemail works the same as if you are on campus, allowing you to listen to messages, delete them, record greetings, etc.
OneDrive
  • Before leaving, please continue to transfer pertinent files from any university-based network drive (S Drive, C Drive, etc.). If you are having issues moving files, please review this FAQ.

 

Please contact Carl Marks at carl.marks@alvernia.edu for assistance with the following: connectivity from a remote location, such as VPN or GoToMyPC, or use of a loaner device. We have made laptops available to those (students, faculty and staff) that need them as well as provided awareness of cost free WIFI connections on both our faculty and student resource OneDrive folders.

Sincerely,

Alvernia University Emergency Management Committee

  • Conference Calls
    • As the university transitions to conference calls, here are a few tips for proper etiquette:
      • Ensure you have a reliable phone connection
      • Identify yourself whenever you speak
      • Use the mute button when not speaking
      • If you’re late, don’t announce yourself.
      • Notify the group of potential call disruptions
      • Speak loudly and clearly
Monday, March 16

 

Dear Alvernia University Community,

 

After continued monitoring of the COVID19 situation and careful consideration for the safety and well-being of our community, Alvernia University is preparing today to physically close access to all university buildings (except those necessary for a contingent of students remaining on campus) for all staff, faculty, and students effective noon Wednesday, March 18, 2020. 

While our university buildings will be closed, online education and registration for students continue as previously announced. We expect all University employees with capability to work remotely, as business operations continue during this time. For our employees in functions without remote capabilities, work will be excused during the closure. 

At this time, Alvernia plans to reopen campus and resume face-to-face instruction on Tuesday, April 14, 2020.

Additional information and details regarding this closure process will be distributed via additional university emails later this afternoon.

Sincerely,

Glynis Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Provost

John McCloskey, D.B.A., Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff

 

Wednesday, March 4

Elior promotes a healthy work environment with safe food by requiring good hygiene and prompt reporting of illness.

What is the Elior team doing?

Response Team: Elior’s Response Team continues to monitor the situation to ensure we are properly prepared to respond to a Coronavirus outbreak. We are working with key suppliers to ensure an adequate food supply and are working to have a labor contingency plan in case of a Coronavirus outbreak. 

Communication: We have advised our team members of the signs and symptoms of the Coronavirus to ensure they are aware of it and safeguarding against it. We have developed an internal site where we can continuously provide updates, processes and tools to our team members as the situation continuous to develop.

Reporting Illness and Staying Home: As advised by the CDC and required by Elior’s policies: Elior team members are required to stay home when they are sick to prevent respiratory illness from spreading. We also require any sites that have team members or guests, who have been diagnosed with Coronavirus, to report it to the Elior Response Team.

Hand Washing: Elior team members have been reminded and advised to wash their hands carefully and often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song through twice).

Cleaning: Elior team members have been reminded and advised of the (continuing) importance of regularly cleaning and sanitizing communal surfaces (doorknobs, levers, etc.) and frequently touched objects (condiments, utensils, etc.).

Understanding Client Needs and Expectations. Elior team members will be partnering with you and your teams to ensure that we understand your protocol and needs. If you need us to keep extra inventory on site, please let us know as soon as possible.

Developing Contingency Plans. We have asked our teams to start to contemplate potential needs at their site and within their communities.

Meal Options. We encourage our teams to ensure that our clients and communities are aware of Elior’s shelf stable and frozen meal options, which may be of critical significance in any impacted site or community.

We care about the health and safety of our team members and clients and are committed to ensuring a safe work environment for our team members, clients and the people we serve.

Thank you,

Elior NA Risk Management Team

Matt Lykens

Food Service Director

Alvernia University

 

Health & Wellness Center