Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

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

 

At this time, Alvernia University campuses are open and plans for reopening for the spring 2021 are available here. The Alvernia University Pandemic Response Team 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 Information in previous updates may be outdated as time passes.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. 

Also please reference the newly updated Return to the Vern 2021 page for planning regarding the reopening of campus for the spring 2021 semester.

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 and on the Return to the Vern 2021 page.

Important Links


Latest Updates

Monday, May 24, 2021 | Updated Masking Policy and Vaccination Requirement for Fall 2021

Dear Alvernia University Community,

First, we’d like to thank you all for your continued diligence in following the university’s COVID-19 guidelines. Your efforts ensured the safety of our campus and the local community and made celebrating the numerous accomplishments of our 2020 and 2021 graduating students possible. As a campus community, we continue to follow CDC guidelines for the safety of our students faculty and staff. We also write to update you regarding the masking requirements on our campuses and also the addition of a COVID-19 vaccine to the required vaccinations for our students. 

Updated Masking Guidelines

The Alvernia University mask guidance has been updated effective today, May 24, 2021, following the announcements by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and CDC guidance for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The new guidelines are as follows:

  • Fully Vaccinated Individuals: Face masks and physical distancing will not be required indoors or outdoors for fully vaccinated individuals (An individual is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and 14 days after the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine). There will be exceptions when/where face masks must be worn, including when entering the Health and Wellness Center, other healthcare settings and university shuttles. Those who are fully vaccinated but have symptoms of COVID-19 should wear a mask and consult their primary care provider. The locations/situations where a mask will be required to enter/attend will be clearly marked and communicated with the community. Everyone is expected to continue to carry masks in case they are needed.
  • NOT Fully Vaccinated Individuals: Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear a face mask both indoors and outdoors. Consistent with state guidance, enforcement of vaccine compliance is a personal responsibility. The university is not requiring proof of vaccination status for mask compliance. Supervisors and employees should not ask their employees and coworkers whether they have been vaccinated. As students will be required to be vaccinated for the Fall 2021 semester, Alvernia recommends students upload their COVID-19 vaccination record to Student Health Portal.

Vaccine Requirement 

Recent reports of the effectiveness of vaccines, along with the increased availability, promise a brightening forecast in the upcoming weeks. With that being said, we expect Alvernia to be a vaccinated campus by the start of the Fall 2021 semester.

Students enrolled at all campuses for the Fall 2021 Semester should provide documentation of an FDA-authorized (Emergency Use or fully licensed) vaccination by August 1, 2021.

 
This requirement will strengthen the University’s ability to protect the health and safety of our campus and neighboring communities. Universal COVID-19 vaccination for all our students will contribute to greater immunity, reduce the risk of clusters of COVID-19 on campus, and help protect members of our community who are at the highest risk of developing serious disease from the virus.

All vaccines approved by the FDA or WHO will be considered suitable to fulfill the University’s requirement. Proof of vaccination through medical records (or vaccine certification card) will be required.

Students, faculty and staff who haven’t received their vaccines are encouraged to do so via their local providers which can be found here. As with all required vaccinations, Alvernia will allow requests for medical and religious exemptions. 

We encourage students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Students are required to upload the proper verification documentation to the Student Health Portal

As we’ve done since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we will answer questions about the fall semester and COVID-19 vaccine requirement by posting FAQs to our Health Alerts page. If you have any questions, be sure to send them to Campus.Update@alvernia.edu.

Thank you for continuing to do your part and help us all #StayWithThePack.

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

UPDATED FAQs

Will there be an option to be fully remote for the fall for students who aren’t vaccinated? 

Alvernia students will have the ability to work with their advisors to coordinate a virtual schedule based on the Fall 2021 existing online offerings.

Please note that most classes will not be available in an online format.

In-person classes will resume, for all students, in classrooms that follow CDC and the PA Department of Health guidelines for higher education settings.

Zoom options will only be available to students who placed in quarantine or isolation by the Health and Wellness Center for a COVID-19 related reason. Students who are fully vaccinated are not required to quarantine after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID, unless they develop symptoms, in which case they must be tested for COVID by our Health and Wellness Center or other healthcare provider and upload their results to the Student Health Portal.

Friday, May 14, 2021 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia Community,

Our message today is simple... Thank you! Thank you all for helping us end our on-campus academic year by following the campus guidelines that helped our campus stay safe and healthy during this challenging year. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the best in Alvernia. We would like to thank each of you who have shown compassion and empathy and offered a helping hand to others during this extraordinary time. 

As we wrap up finals, assignments and presentations, and prepare for our in-person commencement ceremonies tomorrow, here are a final few important notes as we head into the summer: 

  • #CampusClear, Daily Dashboard and Weekly Updates suspended during summer: Effective Monday, May 17, we will suspend using the campus clear daily reporting app for the summer for all students, faculty and staff members, daily updates of the COVID-19 dashboard and weekly COVID-19 update emails. Whether at home or continuing to come to campus, everyone should continue to monitor their symptoms daily throughout the summer. Students remaining on campus will have access to the Health and Wellness Center for necessary testing and counsel for any COVID-19 related illness. Employees should report any positive COVID-19 test to Human Resources or confirmed close contact exposure and consult their physician for medical guidance. The Pandemic Response Team will continue to work diligently over the summer months to prepare for returning to campus in the fall. Important updates, including campus guidelines, will continue to be sent periodically, so please monitor your university email accounts throughout the summer. 
  • Masks required for commencement ceremonies: For tomorrow’s commencement ceremonies, all participants and guests must wear face masks at all times, including in parking lots, while moving towards the ballpark, and inside the ballpark other than while actively eating or drinking. Face masks must cover the nose and mouth.
  • Vaccines are readily available. Sign up today: As a reminder, COVID-19 vaccines in Pennsylvania are now available to anyone over 12. Alvernia is strongly encouraging all students, faculty and staff to make plans to receive the vaccination as soon as possible. Have questions about the Vaccine? Check out the latest FAQs from the CDC. We will continue to update you on clinics available on campus, but you are also encouraged to view the Vaccine Finder to find a local provider. 

If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 guidelines, please contact the Pandemic Response Team via email at Campus.Update@alvernia.edu.

Congratulations to all our graduating students, we can’t wait to celebrate commencement with you tomorrow! If you have any final questions about commencement, please visit the website at Alvernia.edu/Commencement-2021 for more FAQs and important links. 

Have a wonderful summer! 

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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


FAQs

What is the latest on the university's plans for Fall 2021?

After a successful 2020-2021 academic year, Alvernia University is actively preparing for an in-person fall 2021 semester, consistent with guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control, Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. See below for the most recent FAQs for this summer and fall 2021. The Pandemic Response Team will publish new guidelines for the Fall 2021 semester later in the summer.

Are masks required on campus? (UPDATED 5.24.21)

The Alvernia University mask guidance has been updated effective today, May 24, 2021, following the announcements by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and CDC guidance for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The new guidelines are as follows:

Fully Vaccinated Individuals: Face masks and physical distancing will not be required indoors or outdoors for fully vaccinated individuals (An individual is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and 14 days after the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine). There will be exceptions when/where face masks must be worn, including when entering the Health and Wellness Center, other healthcare settings and university shuttles. Those who are fully vaccinated but have symptoms of COVID-19 should wear a mask and consult their primary care provider. The locations/situations where a mask will be required to enter/attend will be clearly marked and communicated with the community. Everyone is expected to continue to carry masks in case they are needed.

NOT Fully Vaccinated Individuals: Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear a face mask both indoors and outdoors. Consistent with state guidance, enforcement of vaccine compliance is a personal responsibility. The university is not requiring proof of vaccination status for mask compliance. Supervisors and employees should not ask their employees and coworkers whether they have been vaccinated. As students will be required to be vaccinated for the Fall 2021 semester, Alvernia recommends students upload their COVID-19 vaccination record to Student Health Portal.

Will students be required to be vaccinated for the Fall 2021 semester? (UPDATED 5.24.21)

Recent reports of the effectiveness of vaccines, along with the increased availability, promise a brightening forecast in the upcoming weeks. With that being said, we expect Alvernia to be a vaccinated campus by the start of the Fall 2021 semester.

Students enrolled at all campuses for the Fall 2021 Semester should provide documentation of an FDA-authorized (Emergency Use or fully licensed) vaccination by August 1, 2021.

 
This requirement will strengthen the University’s ability to protect the health and safety of our campus and neighboring communities. Universal COVID-19 vaccination for all our students will contribute to greater immunity, reduce the risk of clusters of COVID-19 on campus, and help protect members of our community who are at the highest risk of developing serious disease from the virus.

All vaccines approved by the FDA or WHO will be considered suitable to fulfill the University’s requirement. Proof of vaccination through medical records (or vaccine certification card) will be required.

Students, faculty and staff who haven’t received their vaccines are encouraged to do so via their local providers which can be found here. As with all required vaccinations, Alvernia will allow requests for medical and religious exemptions. 

We encourage students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Students are required to upload the proper verification documentation to the Student Health Portal

How do I sign up for a vaccine? (UPDATED 5.24.21)

As a reminder, COVID-19 vaccines in Pennsylvania are now available to anyone over 12. Alvernia is strongly encouraging all students, faculty and staff to make plans to receive the vaccination as soon as possible. Have questions about the Vaccine? Check out the latest FAQs from the CDC. We will continue to update you on clinics available on campus, but you are also encouraged to view the Vaccine Finder to find a local provider. 

How do I request a COVID vaccine exemption and what proof do I need? (UPDATED 5.26.21)

Alvernia allows students to request exemption from the vaccine requirement due to medical, religious, or philosophical objection, in keeping with Pennsylvania law. Students requesting an exemption should send a secure message (“health requirement question”) through the Student Health Portal to request the exemption form. This form must be completed in the Student Health Portal and if the reason is a medical one, must be accompanied by a completed medical exemption form that is uploaded to the Student Health Portal.

Will there be an option to be fully remote for the fall for students who aren’t vaccinated?  (UPDATED 5.24.21)

Alvernia students will have the ability to work with their advisors to coordinate a virtual schedule based on the Fall 2021 existing online offerings.

Please note that most classes will not be available in an online format.

In-person classes will resume, for all students, in classrooms that follow CDC and the PA Department of Health guidelines for higher education settings.

Zoom options will only be available to students who placed in quarantine or isolation by the Health and Wellness Center for a COVID-19 related reason. Students who are fully vaccinated are not required to quarantine after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID, unless they develop symptoms, in which case they must be tested for COVID by our Health and Wellness Center or other healthcare provider and upload their results to the Student Health Portal.

Are those coming to Alvernia’s campuses required to complete #CampusClear during Summer 2021? (UPDATED 5.17.2021)

Effective Monday, May 17, we will suspend using the campus clear daily reporting app for the summer for all students, faculty and staff members, daily updates of the COVID-19 dashboard and weekly COVID-19 update emails. Whether at home or continuing to come to campus, everyone should continue to monitor their symptoms daily throughout the summer. Students remaining on campus will have access to the Health and Wellness Center for necessary testing and counsel for any COVID-19 related illness. Employees should report any positive COVID-19 test to Human Resources or confirmed close contact exposure and consult their physician for medical guidance. The Pandemic Response Team will continue to work diligently over the summer months to prepare for returning to campus in the fall. Important updates, including campus guidelines, will continue to be sent periodically, so please monitor your university email accounts throughout the summer. 

Are those coming to Alvernia’s campuses required to complete #CampusClear during Summer 2021? (UPDATED 5.17.2021)

Effective Monday, May 17, we will suspend using the campus clear daily reporting app for the summer for all students, faculty and staff members, daily updates of the COVID-19 dashboard and weekly COVID-19 update emails. Whether at home or continuing to come to campus, everyone should continue to monitor their symptoms daily throughout the summer. Students remaining on campus will have access to the Health and Wellness Center for necessary testing and counsel for any COVID-19 related illness. Employees should report any positive COVID-19 test to Human Resources or confirmed close contact exposure and consult their physician for medical guidance. The Pandemic Response Team will continue to work diligently over the summer months to prepare for returning to campus in the fall. Important updates, including campus guidelines, will continue to be sent periodically, so please monitor your university email accounts throughout the summer. 

Visitor Expectations 

All visitors (including guest speakers) should complete self-monitoring of symptoms, which includes taking their temperature with a thermometerand screening other symptoms through the Alvernia Visitor COVID-19 Daily Self Checklist on a computer or mobile device by visiting or by filling out this paper formwith a campus contact before entering any campus facility. This is expected of visitors each time they come to campus. 

All visitors should follow the latest university guidelines on mask usage.

Visitors should maintain high sanitation levels, including frequently washing hands (for at least 20 seconds), utilizing new and existing hand sanitation stations, avoiding close contact with those who are sick and covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue as directed by the CDC. 

Visitors should remain home if feeling ill or after having been exposed to someone who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19 and reschedule their visit for a later time.    

Has Alvernia established a COVID-19 Dashboard for tracking COVID-19 cases in the campus community? (UPDATED 5.24.21)

The university has established a COVID-19 Dashboard, which outlines testing and isolation of all students, faculty and staff studying or working at any of Alvernia's campuses (Reading, Philadelphia, or Schuylkill). The dashboard will not be updated during the summer months.

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

Alvernia has developed a folder of resources to assist students, faculty and staff transition to new learning and work environments. These folders will be updated often.

Student Resource Folder

Faculty and Staff Resource Folder

 


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 7, 2021 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia Community, 

Thank you all for your continued efforts to follow the COVID-19 guidelines on our campuses. With only one week left in our in-person semester, we applaud all your efforts and sacrifices to remain on campus for the  2020-2021 academic year. 

Special thanks to those who have continued to use #CampusClear to monitor their symptoms, including our two April winners, DPT student Brandon Chorzelewski and faculty member Joseph Birli. 

As a reminder, COVID-19 vaccines are now available to anyone over 16. Alvernia is strongly encouraging all students, faculty and staff to make plans to receive the vaccination as soon as possible. Have questions about the Vaccine? Check out the latest FAQs from the CDC. We will continue to update you on clinics available on campus, but you are also encouraged to view the DOH Vaccine Map to find a local provider.

We can’t wait to celebrate commencement with you in person next weekend. Please continue to make smart decisions for your health and safety to get us all safely through exams and the commencement ceremony. If you have any questions related to commencement please visit the website at Alvernia.edu/Commencement-2021.

Best of luck with your finals! 

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

Friday, April 30, 2021 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia Community,  

Today marks two weeks until the end of our on-campus semester together. Our divisional meetings brought to mind how exceptional it is that we have been able to achieve this milestone.  And we absolutely couldn’t have been able to get here without the hard work of our faculty and staff across the university. As we head into the final weeks of the semester, here are some important reminders: 

THE UNIVERSITY MASK POLICY HAS NOT CHANGED: The Pandemic Response Team has recommended that the university’s current mask policy remain in effect through the end of the semester. While the CDC has provided new guidance on the use of masks, there is still a large portion of our population that has yet to be vaccinated, and many students who have been vaccinated have not uploaded their vaccine record cards to the student health portal (you can do so by clicking here).  To keep the community healthy and safe in the final weeks of the semester, students, employees and any approved visitors are required to practice physical distancing and continue wearing face masks in classrooms, labs, offices, dining and retail facilities, public spaces, and while walking and traveling by car with others on Alvernia campuses. Masks should be work from when you leave your car or dorm room until you return to your car or room.  

SECURE YOUR VACCINATION TODAY: In Pennsylvania, COVID-19 vaccines are now available to anyone over 16. Alvernia is strongly encouraging all students, faculty and staff to make plans to receive the vaccination as soon as possible. Have questions about the Vaccine? Check out the latest FAQs from the CDC. We will continue to update you on clinics available on campus, but you are also encouraged to view the DOH Vaccine Map to find a local provider. 

GRADUATING STUDENTS MAKE PLANS FOR COMMENCEMENT: With graduation only two weeks away, be sure to make smart decisions for your health and safety to ensure you will be able to participate in the commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 15. Students in isolation or quarantine will not be able to participate in commencement. In addition, today is the final day to RSVP for your commencement ceremony. All the information you need is available at Alvernia.edu/Commencement2021

But above all, be sure to get outside, unwind and enjoy the wonderful weather forecasted for this weekend!  

Please continue to read the Return to the Vern 2021 page and the updated FAQs. We’ll continue to add and edit FAQs throughout the semester, so please visit this page regularly.         

As always, questions not answered by these FAQs should be directed via email to the Pandemic Response Team at Campus.Update@alvernia.edu for inclusion in future updates.           

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,           

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

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

Friday, April 23, 2021 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia Community, 

As we close another week of the spring semester, we hope you enjoy the outdoor activities being held across campus. Make sure to set aside some time to relax and unwind during this hectic time of year!

This week, we wanted to give Academic Operations Manager Sharon Blair a special shoutout for organizing and executing the 21st Annual HECBC Undergraduate Research & Creativity Conference last Saturday. This event is an opportunity for undergraduate students from Albright College, Alvernia University, Kutztown University, Pennsylvania State University (Berks) and Reading Area Community College to share their research and creativity with each other and the community. With COVID-19 forcing the event into a virtual format, Sharon organized breakout rooms and virtual meeting spaces utilizing both Zoom and Microsoft Teams for over 120 student publications/presentations! Thank you for your extraordinary effort in organizing this conference to showcase the academic research of our local college student community. 

Please continue to read the Return to the Vern 2021 page and the updated FAQs. We’ll continue to add and edit FAQs throughout the semester, so please visit this page regularly.

As always, questions not answered by these FAQs should be directed via email to the Pandemic Response Team at Campus.Update@alvernia.edu for inclusion in future updates.

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

Friday, April 16, 2021 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As we appreciate the warming Spring weather and with it the beauty of our campus coming to life with flowers and fresh-cut grass, we wanted to remind everyone of a few important items:

We are encouraged that so many in our community took part in the vaccine clinics on our campus. This week, nearly 500 students, faculty and staff received their first dose (this even made the news), and 100 received their second dose today. As a reminder, all students who have received the COVID-19 vaccine should upload their vaccine record cards to the student health portal. Our sincere appreciation goes to the Health and Wellness Center, led by Dr. Claire Murphy, for organizing these clinics for our community while continuing all the other daily tasks to keep the community safe.

This week, Pennsylvania announced that COVID-19 vaccines are now available to anyone over the age of 16. The Departments of Health (DOH) and Education (PDE) are encouraging all students at Pennsylvania colleges and universities to receive their COVID-19 vaccination before the semester ends. We will continue to update you on clinics available on campus, but you are also encouraged to view the DOH Vaccine Map to find a local provider.

While the vaccines are a step closer to returning to normal, everyone needs to continue to follow the health and safety guidelines for the remainder of the semester. This includes proper mask usage, avoiding gathering in large groups where physical distancing can’t be maintained and increases in personal hygiene.

Those planning events should understand the university is continuing to limit the number of visitors to campus. When planning the events, consider outdoor event spaces whenever possible, notify participants that events can be canceled at any time, depending on how the pandemic evolves, design events to ensure proper physical distancing and hand hygiene, keep a log of all attendees (student organizations can use PAX for registration) and adhere to our face mask requirement. If you have any questions or concerns about your event, please email Campus.Update@alvernia.edu so the Pandemic Response Team can provide guidance.

We want to congratulate Occupational Therapy major Ayanna Walker and Associate Professor of Education Elena Lawrick for being our #CampusClear winners for March. Both will receive gift cards for their continued use of the app and dedication to the health and safety of their friends and colleagues. Be like Ayanna and Dr. Lawrick by using the app daily. There’s no good excuse not to use the app, and there can be significant rewards for doing so! If you are unsure of where to start, click here for download instructions and helpful tips and tricks.

If you haven’t seen it yet, please watch this video from President Loyack thanking our Resident Assistants for keeping our resident students healthy and safe this year as part of today’s ongoing RA Appreciation Day festivities! If you see an RA today make sure you say thanks!

Please continue to read the Return to the Vern 2021 page and the updated FAQs. We’ll continue to add and edit FAQs throughout the semester, so please visit this page regularly.

As always, questions not answered by these FAQs should be directed via email to the Pandemic Response Team at Campus.Update@alvernia.edu for inclusion in future updates.

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

Friday, April 9, 2021 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,

We hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable Easter Break and returned this week recharged for the rest of the semester.

As we enter the weekend, here are a few good news items we are excited to share with you: 

We are happy to report that our expanded return to campus surveillance testing, including a total of over 400 tests, resulted in zero positive cases! 

We are also happy to report that we will be holding our second vaccination clinic on Monday. Nearly 500 students, faculty and staff will receive their first vaccination through this partnership with RiteAid. This is in addition to the 100 faculty, staff, and students receiving their second vaccination dose next Friday, April 16. 

Thank you to all of you for doing your part and following the guidelines during the break, and for taking the step to keep yourself and our community safe by receiving the vaccine! 

As a reminder, all students who have received the COVID-19 vaccine should upload their vaccine record cards to the student health portal

We’d also like to give some kudos to a few special folks who have continued to go above and beyond to keep our community safe during this year:

Thank you to our sports medicine staff, who have worked tirelessly this semester in administering COVID-19 tests to student-athletes, coaches, administration and referees. Their efforts have allowed athletic competition to resume on our campus.

We’d also like to thank Coordinator for Human Resources and Adjunct Services Jessica Skelly for her work behind the scenes during this academic year. She has provided data analysis for the COVID-19 dashboard and #CampusClear app, coordinated communication between faculty, staff and students regarding COVID-19 protocols at all our campuses and has provided solutions to countless other COVID-19 related challenges. 

Please continue to read the Return to the Vern 2021 page and the updated FAQs. We’ll continue to add and edit FAQs throughout the semester, so please visit this page regularly.

As always, questions not answered by these FAQs should be directed via email to the Pandemic Response Team at Campus.Update@alvernia.edu for inclusion in future updates.

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

Thursday, March 25, 2021 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As we enter our final week before the Easter break, we have good news to share with everyone.

The reduction in campus operations over the last three weeks has allowed us to decrease the number of positive Covid-19 cases on our campuses. In response to this positive trend, the following campus operations changes will take place Friday, March 26 at 8 am:

On-Campus Dining: The university is reopening indoor seating at the Student Center dining hall, starting with breakfast at 8 am on Friday. Seating capacity is still restricted and is identified with signage. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to enjoy take-out meals at the various outdoor locations across campus, including the Holleran Patio, the heated outdoor tents, the various picnic tables and natural outdoor seating spaces throughout campus and in the beautiful Angelica Park. Everyone must adhere to social distancing guidelines and directional signage at all dining locations.

On-Campus Recreation Facilities: The indoor recreation spaces (Campus Commons Fitness Center, PEC Gym, PLEX Track/Courts, etc.) will be reopening to start of the semester operating hours and guidelines. As the weather continues to warm, we strongly encourage you to consider the many outdoor spaces for activities, recreation and free play. All guidelines (masking, physical distancing, capacity limits, etc.) must be followed. For more information on indoor recreation space guidelines, please visit the Return to the Vern 2021 page.

Campus Events and Activities: All organized in-person events or activities may also resume. Students, faculty and staff should continue to consider outdoor or virtual event spaces whenever possible. 

Your approach to the next week is crucial so that you can keep yourself, your Alvernia friends and colleagues and your family members healthy and safe during the Easter break. A healthy break starts with making good choices this weekend. The very best way to protect yourself and your family is by following all social distancing and masking guidelines and increased personal hygiene measures (frequent hand washing and sanitizer use, disinfecting surfaces, etc.). 

The university has also prepared a COVID-19 testing protocol for the return following Easter break: 

All fall and spring student-athletes and a randomized sampling of 25% of the residential student population will be tested through our partnership with Genetworx. Resident students will be contacted by the Health and Wellness Center with more information on this testing. 

Any other student can request a rapid test by contacting the Health and Wellness Center upon return from Easter break. 

Residential students should take advantage of some of the great things happening on campus this weekend. Friday evening, there is a free trip: Off to the Movies to see Raya and the Last Dragon. On Saturday, enjoy a BBQ Food Truck in the quad from 11:30-1:30, along with backyard games including Spike Ball, Cornhole, Giant Jenga and more. Check out PAX for a link to watch a live stream of Alvernia’s Got Talent on Saturday night at 7 pm. Limited in-person seating at the Francis Hall Theater will be available (RSVP on PAX to attend in person).

Please continue to read the Return to the Vern 2021 page and the updated FAQs. We’ll continue to add and edit FAQs throughout the semester, so please visit this page regularly.

As always, questions not answered by these FAQs should be directed via email to the Pandemic Response Team at Campus.Update@alvernia.edu for inclusion in future updates.

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

Friday, March 19, 2021 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia University Community, 

We write you today with both encouraging and discouraging news. 

Yesterday was the two-week mark of our reduced campus operations resulting from increased COVID-19 cases on campus stemming from off-campus gatherings. This reduction in operations has allowed us to greatly reduce the spread of COVID-19 on campus as our active cases and those in quarantine and isolation have steadily decreased during that time.

While we are happy with this progress and grateful for all of those who have been adhering to our guidelines, this week we received reports of two on-campus gatherings where physical distancing and masking guidelines were not followed. These types of incidents are in direct violation of the Alvernia Wellness Compact and our Community Standards, put our entire community at risk, and will not be tolerated. After careful consideration by the Pandemic Response Team, the reduced campus operations will be extended for a minimum of seven days to reduce the potential increase in cases resulting from these gatherings.

We understand that this news is discouraging and is not what we had planned to announce today. However, this decision is to protect the health and safety of our entire community. It is our responsibility to follow the guidelines and encourage our friends, classmates, teammates and colleagues to do the same.

So please make smart decisions this weekend and as you plan for your Easter Break. Make no mistake, we will return to our campuses following the break and hope to do so with normal COVID-19 campus operations, including opening the dining hall seating, opening of recreation facilities and resuming in-person events and activities.

Now for some exciting news…

This morning, thanks to Dr. Eric Esterbrook, West Reading Drug Store, Esterbrook Pharmacy and Outlook Pharmacy Services, 100 Alvernia faculty, staff and student workers were administered COVID-19 vaccines during a clinic in the PEC. We applaud those in our community who take a step back towards normalcy by getting the COVID-19 vaccine and are greatly appreciative to Dr. Esterbrook and his staff for affording our community this opportunity. The university continues to explore options for future vaccination clinics to be held on campus. Information on these efforts will continue to be shared with the community as they are arranged.

Alvernia University COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic | March 2021

With rising temperatures and clear skies forecasted this weekend, we encourage everyone to spend some more time outdoors and across our campus.

Please continue to read the Return to the Vern 2021page and the updated FAQs. We’ll continue to add and edit FAQs throughout the semester, so please visit this page regularly.

As always, questions not answered by these FAQs should be directed via email to the Pandemic Response Team at Campus.Update@alvernia.edufor inclusion in future updates.

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

Friday, March 12, 2021 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,

Thank you for your cooperation in adhering to our guidelines as we continue our mitigation efforts on campus. As the weather warms, we hope you start spending more time outdoors, including across our beautiful campus. 

The warming weather has us all thinking about Spring and plans for the Easter holiday and break. We wanted to share some information with you as you consider plans:

Alvernia will continue to honor the Easter Break in its typical fashion, with no classes being held between Thursday, Apr. 1 and Monday, Apr. 5 for undergraduate courses. Grad and Adult Ed will not have classes Thursday or Friday but will have classes on Monday, Apr. 5. All students are expected to attend all classes in the normal mode of instruction on dates surrounding the Easter holiday.

Residential students who would like to remain on campus during the break may do so. More information on this will be shared by the Residence Life staff directly with residential students.

Alvernia is planning a return to campus testing protocol for students' return to campus after the Easter Break. More information on that will be shared in the coming weeks. 

Also, as the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be distributed across the nation, we wanted to remind you of some ways you can stay up to date regarding vaccine availability and eligibility:

The university continues to explore opportunities to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine at the Reading campus and will update the campus community if this option becomes available. However, it is important to note that Alvernia is subject to current availability and prioritization standards. Those interested in receiving the vaccine should continue to explore other options of registration. Here are two excellent references for this information:

Please reference the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccination website. This site includes a map of vaccination sites across the state, details the phased rollout of the vaccination, provides FAQs on the vaccination and other critical information.

Vaccine Finder is another great resource of information on vaccine availability. This includes the top pharmacy chains in the country (RiteAid, CVS, Wallgreens, etc.). Vaccine Finder also has a Map search tool that can find vaccine availability based on your Zip Code.

If you have already received your COVID-19 vaccine it is still important to continue use of #CampusClear because symptoms may continue to develop. #CampusClear takes less than a minute to complete and can be done right on your mobile device or computer. Please make it part of your daily routine. Click here for download instructions and helpful tips and tricks.

Please continue to read the Return to the Vern 2021 page and the updated FAQs. We’ll continue to add and edit FAQs throughout the semester, so please visit this page regularly.

As always, questions not answered by these FAQs should be directed via email to the Pandemic Response Team at Campus.Update@alvernia.edufor inclusion in future updates.

Please continue to make smart decisions with your free time this weekend and make sure you are doing your part to protect one another's health and safety.

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

Friday, March 5, 2021 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As we close another week on campus together, we wanted to take some time this afternoon to reiterate President Loyack’s message to campus yesterday.

We are at a critical juncture in our on-campus semester experience together. While the number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are decreasing in our local communities and throughout Pennsylvania, the Alvernia community is experiencing an increase in positive cases that have been traced back to off-campus gatherings. As a community, we need to reverse this trend immediately and recommit following the COVID-19 guidelines outlined in the Return to the Vern 2021 and Alvernia Wellness Compact. This means wearing masks at all appropriate times, increasing personal sanitation measures, avoid gathering in groups where physical distancing can’t be maintained (including off-campus gatherings) and implementing regular use of the #CampusClear app.

For all the benefits that #CampusClear provides our university during this challenging time, we are disappointed in the students and faculty/staff usage rate to begin this semester. #CampusClear takes two minutes to download and install and only 60 seconds every morning to complete. As we’ve stated in previous communications, the use of #CampusClear is mandatory for everyone. The university is escalating methods of ensuring compliance. Please be like Men’s Soccer Coach Casey Moore and senior social work major Danielle Reed ‘21, who each won $250 gift cards for their use of #CampusClear in February. There’s no good excuse not to use the app, and there can be significant rewards for doing so! If you are unsure of where to start, click here for download instructions and helpful tips and tricks.

Please continue to read the Return to the Vern 2021 page and the updated FAQs. We’ll continue to add and edit FAQs throughout the semester, so please visit this page regularly.

As always, questions not answered by these FAQs should be directed via email to the Pandemic Response Team at Campus.Update@alvernia.edu for inclusion in future updates.

So please make smart decisions this weekend and look out for the health and well-being of your classmates and colleagues. Remember, we are in this together!

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

Thursday, March 4, 2021 | Campus Operations Update from President Loyack

Dear Alvernia University Community, 

I write to you with important yet disappointing updates. Please take a few minutes to read this message in its entirety. 

First, I want to sincerely thank our staff and faculty who have worked tirelessly over the past few months to make our campuses an effective and safe learning and living environment during this extraordinary time. As a result, we are continuing to provide students an excellent education, providing much-needed service to Reading and our Philadelphia and Schuylkill communities. 

I also want to sincerely offer my thanks to the great majority of our students who have taken personal responsibility for helping to #StayWithThePack and prevent the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to the Alvernia Wellness Compact. Thank you for doing your part and making our community standards the norm on campus. 

Unfortunately though, we have also recently witnessed the negative impacts caused by those few who did not take personal responsibility. We’ve had reports of parties in off-campus houses. In the last week, we’ve identified two COVID-19 clusters in off-campus houses that can be traced to parties and behavior outside of our community standards and the governor’s mandates. Battling the spread of COVID-19 is a challenging endeavor, even when everyone is practicing safety measures. Unfortunately, the actions of a few are jeopardizing the health and safety of the larger community. 

This irresponsible behavior has led to the interruption of in-person classroom instruction for quarantined students. A suspension of some student activities, in addition to the suspension or delayed start for some of our athletics programs are now required. 

 Given our current upward trajectory in isolation and quarantine numbers a campus-wide disruption to our in-person semester experience may be required if changes do not occur immediately.  As a first step, the following campus operations changes will go into effect today, Thursday, March 4, at 12:30pm and will carry forward for a minimum of two weeks.  

On-Campus Dining: All university dining locations have been moved to take-out only. Students, faculty and staff who patron the dining locations are encouraged to enjoy their take-out meals at the various outdoor locations across campus, including the Holleran Patio, the heated outdoor tents, the various picnic tables and natural outdoor seating spaces throughout campus and in the beautiful Angelica Park. Everyone should adhere to social distancing guidelines and directional signage at all dining locations. 

On-Campus Recreation Facilities: All indoor recreation spaces (i.e. Campus Commons Fitness Center, Weight Rooms, PEC Gym, etc.) are closed to unsupervised activity. As the weather begins to warm, we strongly encourage you to consider the many outdoor spaces for activities, recreation and free play. All guidelines (masking, physical distancing, capacity limits, etc.) must be followed. 

Campus Events and Activities: All organized in-person events or activities (except for classroom instruction) should be transitioned to a virtual format unless a faculty or staff member is present for the duration of the activity or event. All off-campus events and student activities are currently being reviewed by the Pandemic Team and may be postponed, canceled or modified to a virtual experience in the coming days. 

In The Community: Residential students are encouraged to remain on campus as much as possible. If traveling into the community, please practice all safety measures and take advantage of touchless services such as curbside pickup, etc.  The university is canceling all unnecessary outside visitors to our campuses (guest lecturers/speakers, meetings, outside groups, etc.) until further notice. 

Athletics, In-Person Classroom Instruction and University Offices: The Pandemic Response Team and Health and Wellness Center have determined that all organized athletic activities, in-person classroom instruction and on-campus business operations can continue as planned. There has been no evidence of virus transmission from these activities as a result of our extensive contact tracing process.  

We understand that these changes may be frustrating for some and a relief for others. Know that the top priority in every decision that we’ve made – and the ones we’ll make in the future – is to keep our community safe and well. 

I encourage you to stay informed, and to continue checking the Health Alerts page for the most up-to-date campus information. 

We are not where we hoped to be today, but we’ll learn from this too, with the goal of returning fully and proudly to campus, as one Alvernia, within the next few weeks. In the meantime, keep learning, keep working, and together we’ll keep moving forward. 

Stay safe, 

John R. Loyack 

President 

Friday, February 26, 2021 | COVID-19 Updates and Reminders

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As we close the chapter on our first month of the spring 2021 semester, we thank you all for your continued efforts to keep yourself and your classmates and colleagues safe. 

This week we wanted to give special Kudos to Residence Life work-study student Dianna Morganti (junior, AT major) and the Resident Assistants who help keep our residence halls safe for all our residential students. You have gone above and beyond last semester and this semester, and we couldn’t be more grateful for your efforts!

As you head into the weekend, here are a few important notes: 

Have you been receiving the weather alert texts?: If not, please sign up for Omnilert today. Omnilert is Alvernia’s emergency notification system. Students, faculty and staff at all Alvernia locations can sign up to receive email or text notifications in the event of an emergency on campus or weather-related school closing. To register, just follow this link, create an account with a user name and password and select how you want to be notified.

Have you received the COVID-19 vaccine? Let us know: In our continued efforts to keep the campus safe and healthy, we are gathering data on those in our community who have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Students can upload proof of completion of the COVID vaccine series to the Student Health Portal. Faculty and Staff members will receive an anonymous survey via email next week that will allow you to submit your answer.

COVID-19 Vaccine Myths: When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, it is important to separate fact from fiction. The American Association of Family Physicians has generated a wonderful COVID-19 Vaccine Myths FAQs sheet. You can review it here

Virtual Learning... Where students can gather: We understand students may have classes back-to-back, one in-person and one in a virtual format. This makes planning essential for class participation. Alvernia has set aside rooms for students to participate in their virtual class instead of trying to rush home or back to a residence hall.

On the Reading campus the following rooms are available:

BH001, All week, open to first come.

Library Bonaventure, All week, open to first come.

FH 101, Mon 8:00 - 3:15, Wed & Fri All Day 

FH 408, Tue & Thur, 8:00 - 5:15

FH 409, Mon, Wed, & Fri after 10:00 am 

PLEX Court #4, Mon, Wed, & Fri after 11:00 am, Tue & Thur 8-3:30 pm

PLEX 211, Mon, Wed, & Fri All Day 

For students taking classes at the Philadelphia or Schuylkill Centers, designated rooms are available for students to participate in virtual courses onsite and are designated on your schedules.

#CampusClear Isn’t An Option; It’s Mandatory: It takes less than a minute to complete and can be done right on your mobile device or computer. Please make it part of your daily routine. Click here for download instructions and helpful tips and tricks. 

Please continue to read the Return to the Vern 2021page and the updated FAQs. We’ll continue to add and edit FAQs throughout the semester, so please visit this page regularly.

As always, questions not answered by these FAQs should be directed via email to the Pandemic Response Team at Campus.Update@alvernia.edufor inclusion in future updates.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend, and please follow the guidelines, so you stay safe and #StayWithThePack!

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

Friday, February 19, 2021 | COVID-19 Updates and Reminders

Dear Alvernia University Community,

Despite the challenges this winter has brought, our community continues to come together! As you head into the weekend, here are a few important reminders: 

Thinking of traveling outside of PA? Alvernia University remains committed to following the guidelines set forth by our local, state and national health authorities. This includes limiting nonessential domestic and international travel. Travel guidelines change frequently, and the university will follow guidelines in place at the time. The university expects students, faculty and staff to adhere to the following current guidelines:

Those considering personal international travel should review the CDC's updated travel health notices and research the restrictions imposed by the countries they plan on visiting. With ongoing, widespread transmission, any student, faculty or staff members who travel internationally must acquire a negative test before a flight back and quarantine for at least seven days regardless of the test result before returning to campus.  

Those considering domestic travel need to review the Pennsylvania Department of Health's COVID-19 Information for Travelers. If students, faculty, or staff travel out of the state of Pennsylvania, they must comply with state requirements to provide a negative test within 72 hours of arrival into Pennsylvania or quarantine for 10 days.  

A quarantine after personal travel is not considered an excused absence for students. Employees should be prepared to use vacation time to fulfill the mandatory quarantine period before returning to work on campus. 

#CampusClear Helps Keep Alvernians Safe: We share information about #CampusClear in every update because it is our top way to offer guidance and medical support to our community during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It takes you just 60 seconds a day to complete and can be done right from your mobile device (or if you don’t have a smartphone, it can be completed via a desktop/laptop here).

And as a Thank you... Since the start of the semester, we’ve had 58 faculty and staff members complete #CampusClear every day. For their continued efforts, the Pandemic Response Team and Human Resources have selected 10 winners from this list to receive a Go Taste Berks Passport. Those lucky winners are Soo Sun, Nick Yando, Sam Bradley, Gary Robinson, Sterling Lutz, David Jones, Kathy McCord, Jasmine Smith, Mary Wade and Robin Hayes. While we still have work to do as a campus to reach our 80% goal, we look forward to sharing our first monthly prize winners in next Friday’s communication.

So please do your part by taking your temperature and logging your symptoms EVERY DAY! 

COVID-19 Vaccination... Know the Facts: It is important to know the facts about the COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more about the vaccine, how to prepare yourself to be vaccinated and other important information via this educational flyer

Please continue to read the Return to the Vern 2021 page and the updated FAQs (see below for an updated FAQ on quarantine). We’ll continue to add and edit FAQs throughout the semester, so please visit this page regularly.

As always, questions not answered by these FAQs should be directed via email to the Pandemic Response Team at Campus.Update@alvernia.edu for inclusion in future updates.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend, and please follow the guidelines so you stay safe and #StayWithThePack!

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

UDPATED FAQs

Can I leave quarantine early if I receive a negative test result? (UPDATED 2.19.21)

Based on the latest guidance and to allow for continued in-person academic instruction, Alvernia has added a new layer to its student quarantine policy. 

A 14-day quarantine period is mandatory for all students unless ALL the following criteria can be met:

The student completes the Daily Screening Form AND

passes an evaluation by Health and Wellness Center AND

tests negative from a Health and Wellness Center ordered COVID-19 test on Day 10, 11 or 12 of the quarantine. 

If students can meet all the above criteria they may leave quarantine and return to academic and other student activities on the 11th day. Students will be given further instructions on this quarantine policy from the Health and Wellness Center if they are identified through contact tracing efforts. 

It is important to note that due to the volume of testing, a testing timeslot is not guaranteed on the 10th day.

Faculty and Staff are expected to continue a 14-day quarantine period at this time.

The university will continue to monitor the latest guidance on this matter and will communicate updates as necessary.

Friday, February 12, 2021 | COVID-19 Updates and Reminders

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As we wrap up our second week on-campus together, we want to thank you for adapting to the new COVID-19 protocols and being flexible given the winter weather we have faced.

Working, living and learning together, we are succeeding through the Pandemic. Everyone contributes to our success. Still, many individuals have gone above and beyond expectations to help our community adapt and overcome the obstacles we face from COVID-19 that we’d like to acknowledge publicly. The first is on behalf of our faculty, who would like to thank Instructional Technology Faculty Support Manager Jon King for his outstanding work providing technical support to enhance our students' classroom experience.

We’d also like to thank those responsible for our successful move in over the past two weeks. Special kudos to Dean of Students Karolina Dreher, Director of Residence Life Shannon Merkey and the rest of the residence life staff, especially our talented and caring RAs. In addition, the smooth move-in process wouldn’t have been possible without the continued support of Director of Health Services Dr. Claire Murphy, Assistant Director of Health Services Kiara Gregoris and our entire Health and Wellness Center staff.

We will continue to thank those going above and beyond to keep our campus community safe throughout the semester. If you have someone you think should be acknowledged, please send us a note at Campus.Update@alvernia.edu.

As you head into the weekend, here are a few important reminders: 

Yes, #CampusClear is MANDATORY for EVERYONE, EVERY DAY: The university needs your compliance with our COVID-19 screening app #CampusClear. Use of the app is our No. 1 method to offer guidance and medical support to our community. Completing a daily screening takes just 60 seconds. Make it part of your routine EVERY day and keep yourself and your friends and colleagues safe. And don’t forget, while we have amazing prizes lined up, this is MANDATORY for every member of our campus community. Failure to use #CampusClear is a violation of the student conduct policy and employee guidelines and will be subject to progressive disciplinary processes as necessary. Please take the time to complete the daily screening (even on weekends and days off) and help keep everyone safe! Here is how to download: 

Search "Campus Clear" within the Apple App Store or Google Play store.  

Select #CampusClear app, indicated by the green hashtag logo, and click install app.  

Read through the agreements and user consents and click "I understand/consent."  

Choose "student" or "employee" based on the appropriate role and enter the @alvernia.edu email address  

Check for confirmation email to complete account setup. Email will come from "Ivy Team" at the email address team@ivy.ai.  

Click "confirm email" to begin using the app.  

Spread Out: Physical distancing is still a vital component of our mitigation plan. There are plenty of spaces on our campuses where you can gather and remain socially distanced. This includes our various outdoor heated tents (near the Student Center/Bernardine Hall, the PLEX and Francis Hall) and the student center dining hall during off-hours. Please note that gathering on the PLEX fieldhouse floor is not allowed as classes are being held throughout the day. Our PHL and SCH center lobbies and computer labs are set up to allow for individual and small group learning and socializing settings while maintaining social distance.

Virtual Learning... Who’s approved and where students can gather: Faculty should be checking Blackboard as needed to see who is approved for virtual learning. The only students who are approved for virtual learning are those required by Health and Wellness to isolate or quarantine, have accommodations through the Disability Services office or are in a lab and have been granted special permission by the instructor. We understand students may have classes back-to-back, one in-person and one in a virtual format. This makes planning essential for class participation. Alvernia has set aside Francis 142, Bernadine Hall 001 and the Bonaventure room in the Library for students to participate in their virtual class instead of trying to rush home or back to a residence hall. For students taking classes in Philadelphia and Schuylkill, designated rooms are available for students to participate in virtual classes onsite and are designated on your schedules. More spaces are being added, and a new list of virtual classroom space will be shared via the update next week.

Please continue to read the Return to the Vern 2021 page and the updated FAQs. We’ll continue to add and edit FAQs throughout the semester, so please visit this page regularly.

As always, questions not answered by these FAQs should be directed via email to the Pandemic Response Team at Campus.Update@alvernia.edu for inclusion in future updates.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend, and please follow the guidelines, so you stay safe and #StayWithThePack!

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

Friday, February 5, 2021 | COVID-19 Updates and Reminders

Dear Alvernia University Community, 

Despite the winter storm interrupting the start of classes this week, the campus is officially back to life!

In perfect Alvernia tradition, students helped shovel out cars for the Bernardine Sisters. They also enjoyed an ice carving demonstration and smores in the quad. 

Thank you for your swift switch to remote work and learning. Please review these important announcements to keep yourself and your classmates and colleagues healthy and keep us on campus all semester:

Introducing #CampusClear Rewards: In addition to proper mask usage and physical distancing, monitoring and logging your symptoms are also effective ways to keep yourself and the Alvernia community safe. To encourage daily symptom monitoring and logging, Alvernia has introduced a rewards program for students, faculty and staff. Entering is simple, download the Campus Clear app (instructions on the Return to the Vern 2021 page), take your temperature, and log your symptoms every morning! It takes only one minute and makes a significant impact!

Students

Monthly Prizes: If you log your symptoms through the #CampusClear app at least 80% of the days during the month, you will be entered into a drawing for a $250 gift card of your choice (including the Bookstore, Wawa, Starbucks, Sheetz, etc.)! Think of all the coffee and gas you can buy with that!

Faculty/Staff

Monthly Prizes: If you log your symptoms through the #CampusClear app 80% of the days during the month, you will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card of your choice (including Wawa, Dunkin Donuts Starbucks, Sheetz, etc.)!

Grand Prizes: If 80% of the entire campus community consistently logs their symptoms, two wonderful grand prizes will be unlocked. We will award one lucky student a one-time $1,000 scholarship towards next year's tuition and one employee will receive free lunch for a year at the dining hall for the 2021-2022 academic year (or equivalent for a Philadelphia or Schuylkill Center faculty or staff member).

Super Bowl Gatherings: The CDC has warned against small gatherings for the Super Bowl this Sunday. Instead, here are some great tips for hosting a virtual Super Bowl Bash.

Visitor Policy:

As in the Fall, no visitors (other students or outside guests) are allowed in resident student rooms at any time this semester. 

Employees should limit the number of visitors invited to campus during the spring 2021 semester. Instead, they should explore options to meet virtually via ZOOM or Microsoft Teams to reduce potential virus exposure to the campus community.

New Athletic Facilities HoursBelow are new hours for Alvernia athletic facilities

Campus Commons Fitness Center

Sunday – Thursday: 7am – 9pm

Friday & Saturday: 7am – 7pm

PEC Gym/Basketball Courts

Daily: 8am – 9pm

PLEX Track/Courts (no use when classes are in session)

Monday-Friday 5pm – 9pm

Saturday & Sunday: 10am – 6pm

Please continue to read the Return to the Vern 2021 page and the updated FAQs. We’ll continue to add and edit FAQs throughout the semester, so please visit this page regularly. 


As always, questions not answered by these FAQs should be directed via email to the Pandemic Response Team at Campus.Update@alvernia.edu for inclusion in future updates. 


Have a wonderful weekend, and please follow the guidelines, so you stay safe and #StayWithThePack! 


On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team, 
Glynis Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Provost 
John McCloskey, D.B.A., Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff

Friday,  January 29, 2021 | COVID-19 Updates

Dear Alvernia University Community,

With classes just three days away, we couldn’t be more excited to see our campuses springing back to life!

Our residential students started arriving yesterday and will continue to arrive through the weekend. We’d like to thank all the staff who safely helped to welcome our students back to campus in the cold! And a big thank you to our students who followed all the procedures and made the process go smoothly for all. 

Here are some important things to remember as we start our first week together on campus: 

Any students who have not completed their return to campus form should do so immediately via the Student Health Portal

Take this weekend to get yourself back in the habit of the top COVID-19 mitigation techniques and requirements for campus.

Ensure you have the #CampusClear app installed on your phone and are ready to begin using it upon returning to campus. We will be revealing some fantastic #CampusClear rewards in a future update. Completing the symptom checker daily is the only way to be entered into the drawings. 

Remember face masks are required whenever you are outside your room or car on campus. This is one step we all took in the fall that made the biggest difference! 

Continue to use the hand sanitizers and cleaning stations in all buildings and wash your hands frequently.

If you haven’t already, please read the Return to the Vern 2021 page and the updated FAQs. Below you’ll find a few FAQs (including updates on rules for fitness centers and gyms) we updated since our update last week. We’ll continue to add and edit FAQs throughout the semester, so please visit this page regularly.

As always, questions not answered by these FAQs should be directed via email to the Pandemic Response Team at Campus.Update@alvernia.edu for inclusion in future updates.

Have a wonderful weekend, and please follow the guidelines so you stay safe and #StayWithThePack!

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

FAQ UPDATES

Academic Considerations 

Are there spaces on campus where I can participate in a ZOOM lecture? (ADDED 1.29.21)

Yes. Bernardine Hall 001 has specifically been reserved as a space for students to participate in a zoom lecture. Students will need to bring their own set of headphones to plug into the computer. The Student Center second floor hallway is also available.

Student Life Considerations 

Will the fitness centers be open during the spring 2021 semester? (UPDATED 1.29.21) 

The Campus Commons Fitness Center will open for the first time on Saturday, Jan. 30, from 12 – 6 p.m. Limited hours will allow for additional training for Fitness Center student workers and staff on Sunday evening.

Regular hours, which begin on Monday, Feb. 1, are below:  

Monday – Thursday: 6:00am – 10:00pm  

Friday: 6:00am – 7:00pm  

Saturday: 7:00am – 7:00pm  

Sunday: 7:00am – 10:00pm  

Please see below for new/additional COVID-related guidelines and protocols for use:  

Use of facilities is restricted to current students only. Faculty, staff, guests and alumni use has been suspended temporarily.  

Plex Strength Room has been closed temporarily.  

All Fitness Center/Strength Room locations have been reviewed by Advantage Fitness, Alvernia’s Fitness Center consultant, and floor plans have been updated to meet or exceed all appropriate CDC and/or industry guidelines, including removing pieces of equipment, spreading others out, restricting use, and placing some equipment out of order to ensure appropriate physical distancing, etc.   

Protective Shields have been added to all student check-in desks/areas.  

Check-In/Check-Out procedures have been modified to include proof of #CampusClear status (smiley face).  

In accordance with Pennsylvania Department of Health guidance and Alvernia policy, masks covering the mouth and nose are required to be worn at all times, including when exercising.  

Physical Distancing of at least six feet must be maintained at all times.  

Increased signage has been added to direct traffic flow, limit capacity, and to detail enhanced cleaning procedures.  

Capacities have been decreased in each area and are indicated on signage throughout the facility.  

Locker rooms, changing areas, and restrooms are open, but students may not leave anything in them.  

Water fountains have been turned off, so please bring a bottle (filling stations are on).  

Additional staff has been added for cleaning and sanitization of equipment hourly  

Please report any violations of these rules and protocols or any questions to the Front Desk Staff or email Coach Rayne Reber at rayne.reber@alvernia.edu.  


PLEX and PEC Gym protocols:

Masks, covering nose and mouth, must be worn at all times

Physical Distancing of at least 6 feet is required at all times

No more than 2 students per basket at any time

No 1v1 or pickup games are permitted at any time

Plex opens for recreational and general use at 4:00pm daily. Areas setup as classrooms are off-limits at all times. Occupancy limitations will be strictly enforced by Front Desk Attendant.


Additional rules and regulations are posted in the facility and available at AUWolves.com.  

What type of meetings and events will be allowed on campus? (UPDATED 1.29.21) 

Current guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health restricts all indoor activities (that are not related to educational instruction) to no more than 10% of the maximum capacity of the room (includes all people present). This includes meetings, assemblies, etc.  

Activities and gatherings held outdoors are limited to no more than 15% of the maximum capacity of the outdoor venue. If the capacity of an outdoor space is unknown, the calculation per the PA Department of Health is 67 people per 1000 square feet and then apply the maximum occupancy calculator of 15%.

The university encourages all event organizers to consider holding meetings and events virtually if possible. When that is not feasible, organizers should do the following:   

Consider outdoor event spaces whenever possible   

Notify participants that events can be canceled at any time, depending on how the pandemic evolves.   

Design events to ensure proper physical distancing and hand hygiene.   

Keep a log of all attendees.   

Adhere to recommended protective face masks guidance. The event organizer has to ensure everyone is compliant.   

Clean event spaces regularly — at least daily.   

Ensure that non-local attendees review and adhere to Alvernia travel restrictions  

Faculty Considerations 

What are the expectations for faculty who have students who are not able to attend class due to a #CampusClear stop sign or other COVID-19 symptoms? (UPDATED 1.26.21) 

The faculty have determined the modality of their classes for the spring semester. Those choices will be adhered to as long as campus operations levels allow for in-person instruction throughout the spring semester to allow faculty to focus on one modality in the classroom.

Faculty shall continue to determine how to best facilitate student makeup work in the event that student(s) miss class for non-COVID-19 illness or other reasons, including while waiting to discuss a CampusClear stop sign with Health and Wellness Center staff.

Faculty must provide Zoom access to their classrooms, if available, for any student required by Health and Wellness to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19. Faculty should clearly communicate a process for course participation during this time. 

No students in a face-to-face class may participate in class solely through Zoom, other than (i) those required by Health and Wellness to isolate or quarantine, (ii) those with accommodations through the Disability Services office, and (iii) student in labs determined by the instructor in regards to issues not covered by (i) and (ii). 

For classes other than labs, faculty should treat one-day absences due to a student receiving a Stop Sign on the Campus Clear app in accordance with the absence policy in their class syllabus. Health and Wellness will provide no communication unless a Health and Wellness staff member evaluates the student. Students who contact Health and Wellness for COVID-like symptoms will receive a secure message, through their Student Health Portal, regarding class and campus participation, which can be shared with the faculty. For absences requiring quarantine/isolation, the student will receive a secure message from Health and Wellness, which can be printed/saved as a photo and submitted to faculty. Students in labs receiving a stop sign on Campus Clear and students in isolation/quarantine will attend class via a virtual modality. 

Friday, January 22, 2021 | Return to the Vern 2021 Updates and New FAQs

Dear Alvernia University Community, 

Since our last letter to you in November, we have been hard at work preparing for another healthy, safe and successful in-person semester. 

As President Loyack shared in his letter earlier this week, we have new information and procedures to share with our students, faculty and staff. It is essential that you take the time to read through these updated FAQs to ensure you are prepared to do your part in making the spring semester an even bigger success than the Fall. 

With classes just 10 days away, some pertinent items need your immediate attention: 

All students should complete the return to campus form that can be found via the Student Health Portal here. Any questions regarding pre-arrival testing, vaccination requirements, etc. should be directed to the Health and Wellness Center at HealthWellness@alvernia.edu

Residential students and student-athletes should be checking their Alvernia emails for updates from the Office of Residence Life regarding pre-arrival testing, move-in signups, downloading the Navica App and other pertinent information. Any questions regarding the move-in process should be directed to the Director of Residence Life, Shannon Merkey (Shannon.Merkey@alvernia.edu). 

Anyone (students, faculty or staff) returning from outside the state of Pennsylvania should be following the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Order to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of entering PA or have a plan for a 10-day quarantine period. As we’ve shared in previous communications, we encourage a 14-day quarantine period for students returning to campus for the first time since the end of the in-person semester in November. 

Ensure you have the #CampusClear app installed on your phone and are ready to begin using it upon returning to campus. 

The full new FAQS can be found on the Return to the Vern 2021 page here

As always, questions not answered by these FAQs, should be directed via email to the Pandemic Response Team at Campus.Update@alvernia.edu for inclusion in future updates. 

We look forward to a successful semester for you all and can’t wait to see our campuses return to life.

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team, 

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

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

Tuesday, January 19, 2021 | Welcome Back to Campus from President Loyack

Dear Alvernia University Community,

With my sincere good wishes to each of you for the new year, the campus community is ready for the start of our in-person spring semester, which commences Monday, February 1. We are all very excited to have all of you back at the Vern. We have worked diligently during the break to develop a safe and robust experience for each of you, including the return of in-person instruction, athletics, and many activities.

Our Pandemic Response Team and our Faculty have been working diligently to refine and update our campus practices to ensure a safe and vibrant Spring, including implementing dozens of new safety protocols.

The use of face masks, the Campus Clear app, physical distancing and frequent hand washing will seem all too familiar and are critical in maintaining our in-person experience throughout the entire semester. In addition, we have added new and expanded practices for this semester including:

Expanded COVID-19 testing plans include pre-arrival testing for residential students and winter sport athletes who reside or have recently traveled outside Pennsylvania, rapid antigen testing of all residential students as part of the move-in process and new weekly ongoing PCR testing and a new screening protocol for students through a partnership with GENETWORx. This is in addition to the rapid testing of students experiencing symptoms and contact tracing testing on site. Testing will also be available for our Philadelphia and Schuylkill Campuses. Alvernia has been approved as a COVID-19 vaccination site and is in the pipeline to receive the vaccine for distribution. In the meantime, we are working with several local partners to vaccinate our employees and students who qualify under phase 1a criteria (healthcare and those who directly support healthcare). We are implementing more shuttles to reduce capacity and increase social distancing. The need for students to travel to the Upland Center has been greatly reduced. Upgrades to the BusWhere Shuttle mobile app will enable students to plan their shuttle use. Alvernia Dining services will continue grab and go options for dining, and the university has purchased outdoor heated tents and has decreased the capacity of indoor dining. Other facilities, including the fitness centers, library and recreational areas in the PLEX and PEC, will be open as the semester begins.

 

Stay safe,

John R. Loyack

President

These are just a few highlights, and these plans will be outlined with further details in an update on Friday from the Pandemic Response Team. For the latest updates regarding COVID-19 and our return to campus, please bookmark and frequently visit Alvernia.edu/Health-Alerts. Questions should be directed via email to the Pandemic Response Team at Campus.Update@alvernia.edu for inclusion in future updates.

We’ve done this together before, and we know we will do so again. Please stay safe, stay healthy, watch out for each other and we look forward to seeing you on campus for classes on February 1.

Friday, November 20, 2020 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As we enter the final few days of our on-campus portion of the fall 2020 semester, we wanted to thank you all for your hard work to bring us to this mark. Here are some important notes for our community. Please keep yourself and your family members safe during this holiday season. Each of these notes is vital so please read carefully: 

The very best way to protect yourself and your family during this holiday season is by following all social distancing and masking guidelines and increased personal hygiene measures (frequent hand washing and sanitizer use, disinfecting surfaces, etc.).  In the coming days, the Alvernia Health and Wellness Center will continue to prioritize COVID-19 testing for symptomatic students and those who are close contacts of positive cases. Students not meeting these criteria are encouraged to utilize the following local testing options if they would like to test before traveling home for Thanksgiving:
  • Rite Aid, located at 6th Street in Reading, provides a drive-through testing option and delivers results typically in 24-48 hours. Click here for site location information. 
  • PennState Health St. Joseph’s drive through testing site delivers results in 4-5 days. Testing here requires a doctor's order. Students can contact the Health and Wellness Center to request a doctor's order to be faxed to the drive-through testing site. Students can utilize drive through testing at the Bern campus Mon-Fri between 8 am-3 pm.
  • Tower Health Urgent Care on Liggett Ave delivers results in 4-7 days. This will require an urgent care visit. Click here for site location information.
Students that become ill over the Thanksgiving holiday (please continue to complete your #CampusClear app as a reminder of the symptoms) should send a secure message through the Student Health Portal to alert the Alvernia Health and Wellness Center or leave a message by calling 610-568-1467 so the staff can determine the risk of exposure to others. All Alvernia students, faculty and staff should continue the use of #CampusClear through Dec. 1. Any students, faculty and staff members that will continue to remain on campus in any capacity should continue the use of #CampusClear daily. Those students and faculty members who will not be on campus should begin using #CampusClear two weeks prior to your return to campus for the spring semester. For students who are traveling home, here are some helpful travel tips to keep yourself and your family safe over the next week:
  • While traveling
    • Use antibacterial wipes on your seat, tray table, armrest, and other areas around you during your travel. 
    • Wear a mask at all times while traveling via public Transporation 
  • Upon arriving home
    • Avoid activities in which social distancing cannot be maintained or where taking protective measures may be challenging. 
    • If you or your family are hosting a holiday gathering, try to schedule outdoor activities rather than indoor activities as much as possible. 
    • Follow CDC guidelines by asking all guests at holiday gatherings to strictly avoid contact with people outside of their households for the prior 14 days. 
    • Avoid any self-serve food options, such as buffets, salad bars, and condiments stations. Use single-use options or identify one person to serve shareable items, such as salad dressings, food containers, plates, utensils, and condiments. 
    • Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after preparing, serving, and eating food. 
    • Isolate from family and friends and get tested if you develop any symptoms (including but not limited to fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, headache, loss of taste or smell) or are notified that you were a close contact with someone who tested positive. 
    • Find creative substitutes for the hugs and kisses that we all crave when reuniting with loved ones. Remember this is one year in a lifetime of holidays, and with luck, persistence, and science, we will be back to gathering closely again next year. 
    • Follow your home state requirements regarding any restrictions.
The Alvernia University COVID-19 Dashboard will continue to be updated daily until Nov. 25. Between Nov. 25 and the start of the spring semester, the dashboard will be updated weekly on Tuesdays, beginning Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. 

 

Please continue to exercise good judgment this weekend and from all of us on the Pandemic Response Team, thank you for all your efforts this semester to #StayWithThePack!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

  • The university’s vending machines will be emptied following Thanksgiving and will remain empty until the start of the spring 2021 semester.
  • The Media Suite and Library will remain open during the remote portion of the semester and during the extended break to assist students and faculty. 
Friday, November 13, 2020 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia University Community, 

As we close another week, we are happy to report that shifting campus operations on Tuesday has significantly slowed the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses over the past three days. We thank everyone for pivoting quickly to protect the health and safety of our community. 

With 13 days left in the on-campus portion of the semester before the Thanksgiving holiday, we know you are preparing for your travel home. It is important for our New York and New Jersey students to remember that Pennsylvania is a contiguous state for New York and is therefore exempt from New York's newly updated travel restrictions. Pennsylvania remains off of the New Jersey restricted list.

Your approach to the next 10 days is crucial so that you can keep yourself, your Alvernia friends and colleagues and your family members healthy and safe during the holiday season. Healthy holidays starts with making good choices this weekend. Here are some tips for our residentials student for the next two weeks to prepare for safe travel and the holiday season: 

Avoid going to restaurants, bars, parties, or any place where people gather in numbers. Wear a mask at all times when outside of your room. Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet between yourself and others. Practice frequent hand washing. Regularly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, or soap and water. Get your flu shot as early as possible

 

So please exercise good judgment this weekend and take the necessary steps so you can #StayWithThePack and enjoy a healthy and safe holiday season.

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team, 

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

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

As COVID-19 cases rise around the nation, it is important to use all the mitigation tools at our disposal. On top of continuing to use #CampusClear while on Alvernia campuses, please check out the latest app from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, COVID Alert PA. This free and voluntary mobile app includes an interactive COVID-19 symptom check-in, alerts for potential exposures to the virus, updates on the latest public health data about COVID-19 in PA and public health guidance for what to do if you have a potential exposure to COVID-19. The app is designed to ensure the privacy of the user. COVID Alert PA works in Pennsylvania, and when you travel to other locations in the United States, including Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Washington D.C., Wyoming, and some parts of California. You can download COVID Alert PA here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 | Campus Operations Update

Dear Alvernia University Community, 
 

The Alvernia Health and Wellness Center has reported an increase in positive COVID-19 cases among our campus community.
 

When faced with these challenges earlier this semester, we successfully made a two-week operations adjustment to help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 at all Alvernia University locations. The quick adaptation and adherence to the new operations by everyone in our community resulted in a noted decrease in on-campus cases that have brought us successfully to this point in the semester, allowing us to continue the on-campus semester together at all our campuses.
 

Today, as we are faced with similar challenges with the uptick in positive cases in our community and also increased cases in our surrounding communities Alvernia University is making the following campus operations changes effective today, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m. through Wednesday, Nov. 25:  
 

All indoor recreation spaces (i.e. Campus Commons Fitness Center, Weight Rooms, PEC Gym, etc.) are now closed.  All athletics and organized indoor in-person activities (except for classes) are temporarily suspended. We strongly encourage you to consider the many outdoor spaces for activities, recreation and free play. All guidelines (masking, physical distancing, capacity limits, etc.) must be followed. All off-campus events and student activities are currently being reviewed by the Pandemic Team and may be postponed, canceled or modified to a virtual experience in the coming days.  All university dining locations have been moved to take-out only. Students, faculty and staff who patron the dining locations are encouraged to enjoy their take-out meals at the various outdoor locations across campus, including the Holleran Patio, the different outdoor heated tents (outside of the Student Center, in front of Bernardine Hall, in front of the PEC, in front of the PLEX and the small tent located outside of Francis Hall), the various picnic tables and natural outdoor seating spaces throughout campus and in the beautiful Angelica Park. Everyone should adhere to social distancing guidelines and directional signage at all dining locations. Residential students are encouraged to remain on campus as much as possible. If traveling into the community, please practice all safety measures and take advantage of touchless services such as curbside pickup, etc.  The university is canceling all unnecessary outside visitors to our campuses (guest lecturers/speakers, meetings, outside groups, etc.) until further notice. All in-person classes remain as scheduled and all university offices remain open during this interim operational period.

 


As always, members of the Pandemic Team meet twice daily and will continue to monitor the situation making any additional changes as necessary based on our established benchmarks.

Remember, we are all in this together, so please take all the necessary steps so you and the rest of the community can #StayWithThePack.
 

Stay Safe, 
 

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

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

So, in the days ahead, please make protecting your friends, classmates, and fellow faculty and staff members your number one priority by:
 

Being open and honest with university personnel during contact tracing efforts; Closely monitoring your personal health and logging symptoms via the #CampusClear app; Knowing and understanding COVID-19 symptoms and stay at home or in your residence hall if any new symptom appears; and by approaching each new day with an abundance of caution.


We are in the home stretch of time together on campus for this term. We need everyone to remain committed to the health and safety guidelines outlined in the Back to the Vern 2020 plan to successfully reach a safe end to the semester and begin the holiday season. 
 

It is important to understand that waiting to report symptoms or withholding important contact tracing information from university health officials is dangerous, increases the risk of spreading the virus and is in direct violation of your compact with the university. Another important reminder is that Alvernia employs a medical amnesty policy for all students. This protects students from routine disciplinary action if seeking assistance or providing information to university personnel that protects the well-being of others in the campus community. 
 

Friday, November 6, 2020 | COVID-19 Update & Updated Travel Guidance FAQ

Dear Alvernia University Community, 

As we conclude another in-person week of the fall 2020 semester, we’d like to remind you how important each member of our campus community is to ensuring we all have a safe on campus experience. With a slight uptick in positive COVID-19 cases in our campus community and with cases rising locally, regionally and nationally, we must remain diligent in our mitigation efforts. 

Nearly all the positive cases we’ve experienced in our community start with infected individuals confusing COVID-19 symptoms with the common cold or seasonal allergies. Completing the #CampusClear app every day ensures that you consider all symptoms every morning. While many of the symptoms overlap, it is crucial to know the COVID-19 symptoms and respond accordingly. Everyone in our community must continue to monitor their symptoms closely and approach each new day with caution

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, please stay at home or in your residence hall. This remains the best way to protect yourself and others.

Students should use the Health and Wellness Center as a resource. Continue to report your symptoms via the #CampusClear app, call our Health and Wellness Center staff at 610.568.1467 or send a message via the Student Health Portal. With so many ways to connect with the Health and Wellness Center and with rapid testing (results in 30 minutes or less) available on site, there is no excuse not to protect yourself and others.

Faculty and staff should also report their symptoms to the #CampusClear app and reach out to their primary care provider to discuss symptoms, as well as alert their immediate supervisor and Leslie Kane.

The Pandemic Response Team will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the communities surrounding our campuses and are prepared to make adjustments to campus operations if the tipping points are met. These adjustments could include modifying internship and clinical experiences, postponing off-campus events, and increased communication regarding safe practices in the outside community (curbside pickup options, safe outdoor recreation areas, etc.). 

Our fight against COVID-19 remains an individual and community effort, and we need everyone’s dedication to the health and well being of our Alvernia.

Finally, as you prepare for potential holiday travel, make sure to review Alvernia’s updated FAQ regarding domestic and international travel (full FAQ listed below).

Please exercise good judgment this weekend and take the necessary steps so you can #StayWithThePack and enjoy a healthy and safe holiday season.

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team, 

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

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

Has Alvernia placed any restrictions on travel? (UPDATED 11.6.20)

Alvernia has canceled all university-sponsored travel for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters.

The university is also following the U.S. Department of State Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory and is advising all domestic students, faculty and staff to avoid personal international travel. The CDC also recommends avoiding all nonessential international travel.

Those considering personal international travel should review the CDC’s updated travel health notices and research the restrictions imposed by the countries they plan on visiting. With ongoing, widespread transmission, any student, faculty or staff members with plans for travels internationally must quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to campus. 

It is important for those considering domestic travel to review the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s COVID-19 Information for Travelers. This list is updated regularly with states that are seeing high COVID-19 cases. If students, faculty and staff travel to a state listed on this page, Alvernia strongly encourages a 14-day self-quarantine period before returning to in-person classes or returning to work on campus. 

Alvernia is preparing for an on-ground semester for the spring 2021 semester. With classes set to start on Feb. 1, 2021, all those considering travel must plan accordingly so that their quarantine period ends no later than January 31, 2021, and they are able to return to classes or work on Feb. 1.

Friday, October 30, 2020 | COVID-19 Update & Nov. 3 Information

Dear Alvernia University Community, 

As we officially head into the final month of our time together on campus this semester and as thoughts move towards the holidays, there are a few important updates and reminders for our community: 

To protect the Alvernia community's health and safety, the PLEX and Upland Center will be closed on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, as both locations will serve as General Election polling locations for the Reading community. Students who regularly have Tuesday classes in the PLEX or Upland Center should follow their faculty member's instructions for remote learning on Tuesday. Employees who work in these locations will be asked to work remotely on Tuesday. Both areas will undergo a deep cleaning on Tuesday evening to resume normal use on Wednesday, Nov. 4. As COVID-19 testing capabilities continue to expand, it is important to follow the proper procedures for alerting Alvernia officials of any COVID-19 related activity, including being tested, being instructed to quarantine/isolate, or being notified through contact tracing that you have been exposed to an infected individual. Here are a few reminders for the proper protocol of who to contact in these scenarios: 
  • Students should note in the #CampusClear app if they have been tested, instructed to quarantine/isolate, or have been exposed. Students should also utilize the Health Portal to send a message to the Health and Wellness Center to alert the staff of any of these scenarios.
  • If a student advises their faculty member directly of the scenarios listed above and hasn't presented a note from the Health and Wellness Center, the faculty member is asked to inform the Health and Wellness Center staff. 
Other necessary situational protocols are listed on the Back to the Vern 2020 plan.  It is essential this weekend and into the final stretch of the semester to continue the proper use of face masks. This includes wearing your masks properly (completely covering your nose and mouth) in any public setting, especially when social distancing can't be maintained, and to clean your masks often as directed by the CDC.  Please continue your daily use of the #CampusClear App. This is one of the vital tools the Pandemic Response Team utilizes to help keep the campus community safe. As a reminder, we are continuing to reward those community members who are consistent in their use of the app!

 

Have a safe and healthy weekend. 

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team, 

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

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

Please continue to make smart decisions this weekend and in our final weeks together to protect your health and the health of the rest of our Alvernia community, including our resident and commuter students, faculty members, staff, and our beloved foundresses, the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters.

So please do your part. Speak up and encourage others to #StayWithThePack and protect each other! 

Friday, October 23, 2020 | COVID-19 Update and Registration Information

Dear Alvernia University Community,

We have reached the end of another week of the fall semester. We are so thankful for your commitment to keeping our community safe during the last eight weeks. 

We are also grateful for your patience regarding the Spring course registration. It’s great to learn that you are looking forward to being together with us in the classroom for the spring. The Winter and Spring 2021 schedule is now available to students and faculty to prepare for Online Registration which will begin Monday, Nov. 16. Students can see their individual registration date and time by viewing their Academic tab in MyAlvernia.

While we together, as one Alvernia, have persevered this semester, we all must continually remain vigilant in our daily activities by adhering to the guiding principles of the Alvernia Wellness Compact. With cases rising in our surrounding communities, state-wide and nationally, consistent mitigation tactics remain the most effective:

Practice social distancing of at least six feet while on campus and off-campus; Wear face masks everywhere on campus, including classrooms, labs, offices and other public spaces as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)and the Pennsylvania Department of Health; Maintain high sanitation levels including frequently washing hands (for at least 20 seconds), utilizing hand sanitation stations, avoiding close contact with those who are sick and covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue as directed by the CDC; Self-monitor daily for COVID-19 symptoms on the #CampusClear app and report symptoms to a medical professional; Remain home if feeling ill or after having been exposed to someone who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19; Sanitize high-touch surfaces (desks, tables, doorknobs, etc.) and common spaces by utilizing the sanitation stations or provided wipes and sprays

 

While we understand these steps have been communicated continuously, they remain our best defense against the spread of COVID-19 among our community. So please do your part. Speak up and encourage others to #StayWithThePack, and protect each other. 

Have a safe and healthy weekend. 

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

  • And develop creative solutions to avoid in-person meetings by utilizing university technology, including Microsoft Teams and ZOOM.
Friday, October 16, 2020 | COVID-19 Update & Spring 2021 Calendar Announcement

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As we move past the midway point in our on-campus experience during the Fall 2020 semester, we want to provide you with an update regarding our plans for the Spring 2021 semester: 

Classes for the Spring 2021 semester will begin on Monday, Feb. 1 and the last class day will be May 7, with finals week taking place during the week of May 10-14 and commencement anticipated for May 15, 2021.  A staggered residential move-in for the Spring 2021 semester will take place during the week of January 25, 2021. More details on the move-in process will be communicated at a later time.  To accommodate the condensed schedule and to minimize travel and lower the risk of possibly spreading coronavirus on Alvernia campuses, classes will be held during the normal spring break period, however, the university will continue to honor the Easter Break in its normal fashion, with no classes being held between Thursday, April 1 and Monday, April 5 for undergraduate courses. Grad and Adult Ed will not have classes Thursday or Friday but will have classes on Easter Monday, April 5. Alvernia has also modified the start of the Winter 2021 Term, as classes will begin on Monday, December 28, 2020, and conclude January 28, 2021.  Mod 3 will also begin on Monday, Feb 1, and end Thursday, March 18. Then Mod 4 will begin March 22 and end May 6. The updated academic calendar is available in its entirety here.

 

The health and safety of our community will continue to be our primary concern throughout the semester, and we encourage everyone to help us #StayWithThePack by following the guidelines and principles in the Alvernia Wellness Compact.

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

If you Receive a Red Stop Sign while completing your #CampusClear self screening...Please follow the instructions on the app screen. 
  • Everyone should remain at home. Do not report to class or work.
  • Students should call the Health and Wellness Center (610-568-1467) before 4:30pm or send a secure message via the Student Health Portal if after hours. 
If you are expecting guests to arrive on campus... While visitor access to Alvernia campus locations should remain extremely limited, there is an understanding that some visitors will need access to campus for various reasons. If you invite a visitor to campus you must ensure they comply with established expectations for all campus visitors. These expectations can be found via the Back to the Vern Plan under the Employee Considerations section. Sanitation supplies running low in your area? Facilities staff has been increased to monitor cleaning supplies, however, if you notice any sanitation supplies (wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.) that need refilled/replaced, or if you have safety questions/concerns on how to administer those products, please email ehs@alvernia.edu. Please include refill items needed and location and/or room number. 

The delayed start will allow for a number of advantages while still ending at the regularly scheduled time of May 15, 2021. The university expects students, faculty and staff to follow the same COVID-19 protocols during the winter and spring semesters as were in place during the fall semester and looks forward to an entire semester together on campus. These protocols remain available via the Back to the Vern plan.

We appreciate that students are eager to schedule their classes for the Spring Semester and we want to ensure that happens as soon as possible. Once the schedule is made available we will follow the normal timeline for the registration process. The process will include one week of student review of the schedule for planning purposes, followed by two advising weeks, and finally the final week for course registration.

Here are a few helpful reminders on how you can do your part in keeping our campus community safe during this semester:

Friday, October 9, 2020 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As the leaves turn and we complete another week of the Fall 2020 semester in Reading, we are preparing for the colder weather ahead. We know that outdoor activities remain a great way for socially distanced learning and student life activities. This week, side-flaps were installed on several tents around campus and heating systems were added to allow continued use despite dropping temperatures.

We also know many of you are looking ahead. Not just to the lovely fall weather and holiday season, but to the Spring 2021 semester. 

Please know that the university is in the final stages of planning for the spring semester and will provide detailed information on the spring calendar, course schedule, registration and advising dates in the very near future. The additional time spent now will ensure a smooth transition to our on-ground experience for the Spring Semester.

Even with zero active cases on campus at this time, we ask all those in our community to continue to remain diligent in following the university’s health and safety guidelines. 

Here are a few helpful reminders as we head into the weekend:

The #CampusClear app remains a vital COVID-19 assessment tool that provides the Pandemic Response Team with actionable data to manage emerging risk. It is important to conduct a daily self-screening EVERY day, even if you are not coming to campus. As a gesture of appreciation for your commitment to keeping our campuses safe and healthy, students, faculty and staff with 7+ days of consecutive reporting will be entered for a weekly drawing of a $5 gift card sponsored by Aladdin for use on main campus or a $5 Dunkin card for use near our Schuylkill and Philadelphia campuses. Wearing face masks and adhering to social distancing practices, including maintaining six feet of physical distance from another person, are critical to support the health and safety of our entire campus community.  Wear your mask, completely covering your mouth and nose, and stay socially distanced as outlined in the Back to the Vern 2020 plan.   The Back to the Vern 2020 plan was updated earlier this week with several new FAQs. Please take the time to read this resource. Updated regularly, it is a source of information that has been carefully outlined to help answer your questions.  We understand you may have questions throughout the semester. The best method to share those questions is by sending an email to Campus.Update@Alvernia.edu. 

 

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

The health and safety of our community will continue to be our primary concern throughout the semester, and we encourage everyone to help us #StayWithThePack by following the guidelines and principles in the Alvernia Wellness Compact.

Friday, October 2, 2020 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As another week of the Fall semester passes and as we enter October, we are encouraged to see the progress our community has made to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. Following the cases in mid-September, and after appropriate isolation, only one active case remains.

This promising trend allowed the university to modify its campus operations levels. As of Wednesday, we were able to resume an altered return to indoor dining, small indoor activities and athletics conditioning and the reopening of recreation facilities with reduced hours.

We are confident that our community’s ability to adapt to these changes in campus operations and continued adherence to the safety guidelines will allow us to continue with our on-campus operations but are prepared to make modifications if they become necessary again in the future. We will continue to carefully monitor the university’s campus operations level and are prepared to pivot quickly for the health and safety of the Alvernia community.

Here are a few helpful reminders as we head into the weekend:

The #CampusClear app remains a vital COVID-19 assessment tool that provides the Pandemic Response Team with actionable data to manage emerging risk. Do your part and continue the daily use of this tool.   Wearing face masks and adhering to social distancing practices, including maintaining six feet of physical distance from another person, are critical to support the health and safety of our entire campus community.  Wear your mask, completely covering your mouth and nose, and stay socially distanced as outlined in the Back to the Vern 2020 plan.   The Back to the Vern 2020 plan was updated earlier this week with several new FAQs. Please take the time to read this resource. Updated regularly, it is a source of information that has been carefully outlined to help answer your questions.  We understand you may have questions throughout the semester. The best method to share those questions is by sending an email to Campus.Update@Alvernia.edu. 

 

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

Our beautiful fall weather and the hard work of our University Life team continues to provide opportunities to enjoy great outdoor activities this weekend including Mario Kart in the Quad tonight (7pm), the Hispanic Heritage Fiesta in the quad tomorrow night (6pm) and CAB Crafternoon with Busy Bees Pottery on Sunday in the quad 1pm.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020 | Campus Operations Update

 Dear Alvernia University Community,  

Two weeks ago, we made temporary changes to our campus operations level in response to the first COVID-19 cases on our campus. The measures taken have proven successful and have helped mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 among our community. After careful consideration, the university is making the following campus operation changes beginning Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020:  

Indoor Recreation 
  • The PEC Gym will reopen on Sept. 30, with reduced operating hours of 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Limit of 2 students per basket and no 1v1, pickup games, etc., remain in place. 
  • Campus Commons Fitness Center will reopen on Sept. 30 with reduced hours. All COVID-related policies and procedures remain in place. 
Indoor Organized Activities 
  • Organized indoor activities are allowed to resume but are limited to no more than 25 people (includes all people present).
  • Students, faculty and staff should continue to consider outdoor or virtual event spaces whenever possible. 
Intercollegiate Athletics 
  • Fall and spring sports will resume their Return to Sport Resocialization Process on Thursday, Oct. 1. 
  • Teams will remain in functional units of no more than ten student-athletes for 14 days. The functional units will remain consistent throughout this period to minimize potential transmission exposure. 
  • Wearing masks and social distancing guidelines will be enforced at all times. The only exception for wearing masks will be during conditioning training. Student-athlete will be required to maintain a physical distance of 12 feet at all times during conditioning (as recommended and approved by Dr. Zlotnik, NCAA Team Physician). 
  • Winter sports Return to Sport Resocialization, scheduled to begin on Thursday, Oct. 1, will be pushed back to Thursday, Oct. 15 and follow the same fall and spring sports guidelines. 
Dining Operations 
  • The university is reopening indoor seating at the Student Center dining hall at a reduced capacity. Seating in the server area will remain closed. All seating that is being taken offline will be identified with signage.  
  • The dining hall will be offering individual bottled beverages in place of self-serve from machines
  • Students, faculty and staff are still encouraged to utilize take-out meals for consumption at the various outdoor locations across campus, including the Holleran Patio, the different outdoor tents (outside of the Student Center, in front of Bernardine Hall, in front of the PEC, in front of the PLEX and the small tent located outside of Francis Hall), the various picnic tables and natural outdoor seating spaces throughout campus and in the beautiful Angelica Park.   

 

Thank you for your continued patience and as we work through all the measures to help everyone #StayWithThePack!  

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,  

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

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

  • Diligently self-screen your health daily using the #CampusClear app. This app has proven to be a useful COVID-19 assessment tool that provides the Pandemic Response Team with actionable data to manage emerging risk. Do your part and continue the daily use of this tool. 

We hope to continue to operate at these levels for the rest of the semester, but we remain committed to keeping the health and safety of our community at the forefront of our decision making. Each of us can do our part to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus by doing the following:  

Adhere to all the guidelines outlined in the Alvernia Wellness Compact, including wearing face masks properly (over mouth and nose) at all times as outlined in the Back to the Vern 2020plan, maintaining social distancing, especially in high-traffic areas such as the dining hall, library, and the PLEX, washing and sanitizing your hands often and limiting travel to and from campus as much as possible.   If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 (which include fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches or a cough), STAY AT HOME. Students should immediately contact the Health and Wellness Center. Faculty and staff should contact their medical provider and Human Resources. 
Friday, September 25, 2020 | Campus Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,  

As a team we continue to listen to your requests for information in different formats. We have made the following additions to improve the university's COVID-19 communications: 

The COVID-19 Dashboard has been adjusted to include the total number of active cases on campus. This distinction is important as we use this information daily to assess the overall health of our campus community. This dashboard will be updated daily and should be considered the primary communication regarding COVID-19 cases on campus.  Beginning with this message and throughout the rest of the semester, you can expect a campus update message every Friday. This will include important reminders, new/updated FAQs and other pertinent information.

 


The health and safety of our community will continue to be our primary concern throughout the semester , and we encourage everyone to help us #StayWithThePack by following the guidelines and principles in the Alvernia Wellness Compact.  The beautiful fall weather continues to provide us with many opportunities to dine, live, learn and serve outdoors. Please consider some of the great activities planned for this weekend, including Game Night in the Quad tonight, Goat Yoga tomorrow and CAB Crafternoon on Sunday. 

 
On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,  

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

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

  • The university understands that you may have questions throughout the semester. The best method to voice those questions is by sending an email to Campus.Update@Alvernia.edu

These changes have been made to keep you better informed on our campuses, provide you with a regular communication schedule and primary source of information. We will continue to provide updates on campus operations levels and other timely updates as they become necessary. 

Reminders for this weekend include: 

Our changes in campus operations will remain in effect for the weekend and will be reassessed next week. These changes include all dining locations remaining take-out only, the temporary closure of all indoor recreation spaces, the temporary suspension of all athletics and all other organized indoor activities. We are confident these changes remain temporary and have already helped mitigate the spread on campus.  The #CampusClear app has proven to be a useful COVID-19 assessment tool that provides the Pandemic Response Team with actionable data to manage emerging risk. Do your part and continue the daily use of this tool. Wearing face masks and adhering to social distancing practices, including maintaining six feet of physical distance from another person, are critical to support the health and safety of our entire campus community. Wear your mask completely covering your mouth and nose and stay socially distanced as outlined in the Back to the Vern 2020 plan.   The Back to the Vern 2020 plan was updated earlier this week with several new FAQs. Please take the time to read this resource. It is a wealth of information that has been carefully outlined to help answer your questions and is updated regularly. 
Tuesday, September 22, 2020 | Campus Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As a community we came together last week when we learned seven of our students tested positive for COVID –19. Happily, each student is recovering well and will leave isolation shortly. Other students need to quarantine as a precaution, but it is important for all of us to take steps to keep our campus safe. As President Loyack reminded us in his video message to campus this morning, it is important to take advantage of the beautiful fall weather here in Reading by taking classes, group meetings, activities and meals outside.

The university responds to each of these cases by taking all appropriate steps based on guidance from various government health authorities. These efforts include supporting contact tracing efforts by the Pennsylvania Department of Health via the university's card reader systems and #CampusClear self-health screening app, a comprehensive quarantine and isolation strategy to mitigate community spread, and regular wellness checkups with those who test positive for COVID-19. Anyone directly impacted by the changes reflected on the COVID-19 dashboard will be appropriately contacted per our detailed contact tracing process.

We’ve also developed a number of new FAQs (listed below) that outline the university’s COVID-19 testing, quarantine and isolation protocols.

Please rest assured that since March, several campus groups including representatives from all facets of the campus community and all our locations developed the return to campus strategy, which included comprehensive policies and procedures in the event that would COVID-19 spread to our community. We are prepared to meet this challenge.

The university’s campus operations level is being carefully monitored. Several changes have already occurred, including shifting all dining locations to take-out only, the temporary closure of all indoor recreation spaces, the temporary suspension of all athletics and temporary suspension of all other organized indoor activities. We are confident these changes remain temporary as we adjusted quickly to mitigate the spread. 

The health and safety of our community will continue to be our primary concern throughout the semester and we encourage everyone to help us #StayWithThePack by following the guidelines and principles in the Alvernia Wellness Compact

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

 
 

UPDATES

COMMUNITY HEALTH AND SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS

What should I do if I am a student and not cleared through #CampusClear to come to class?

If a student reports a symptom that results in the inability to come to class (i.e. a new headache, loss of taste and/or smell, a new cough, etc.), they should contact the Health and Wellness Center immediately to discuss the symptoms with the staff.  If needed, the Health and Wellness Center staff will schedule an appointment for testing.  Once cleared, the student should obtain a clearance note from the Health and Wellness Center and submit this to faculty for each course they are enrolled.  Students are expected to work with each professor in their classes to determine how to keep up with classwork while they are awaiting clearance.

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Isolation and quarantine are both intended to limit the spread of disease, but they have different meanings and different time requirements. 

Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others and helps prevent spread of the disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms.

Isolation is reserved for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing symptoms.

Based on the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, time requirements for quarantine and isolation depend on a variety of factors, including whether an individual has been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, is showing symptoms of COVID-19, has tested positive for COVID-19, and more.

The following provides a summary of quarantine and isolation time requirements for students and employees.

Quarantine:

  • Since symptoms typically develop between 2 to 14 days after exposure, students, faculty and staff who believe they have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 and/or been identified during the University’s contact tracing process must quarantine for 14 days from their last contact with the individual, in accordance with the CDC guidelines. The CDC provides guidance on when to start and end quarantine based on various scenarios.
  • Faculty and staff should quarantine at home and may work remotely if well enough to do so.
  • Students living on campus will quarantine in space identified on campus.
  • Students who live off campus or at home should plan to quarantine in their current residence. County contact tracers will evaluate additional quarantine needs for students living off campus as part of the contact tracing process. 
  • During quarantine, you may or may not develop symptoms of COVID-19.
  • For those in quarantine who begin developing symptoms, they should do the following:
  • Residential students experiencing symptoms should contact the Health and Wellness Center.
  • Commuter students experiencing symptoms should contact their primary care provider and the Health and Wellness Center.
  • Employees should contact their primary care provider, their supervisor and Leslie Kane (Leslie.Kane@alvernia.edu).

Isolation:

  • Students, faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 will need to isolate for at least 10 days. Students and employees who are experiencing symptoms and awaiting test results will need to isolate immediately. If the test result is negative, they no longer need to isolate in most cases. This should be discussed with the Health and Wellness Center or the primary care provider before clearance is given. 
  • Faculty and staff should isolate at home, students living on campus will stay in campus-provided isolation space. Individuals should not return to on-campus work or classes until cleared by a medical professional in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  • According to CDC isolation guidance, individuals who tested positive and experience symptoms can be cleared by a physician to be with others after at least 10 days since their symptoms first appeared, as long as the individual is without a fever forat least 24 hours with no fever-reducing medication, and symptoms have improved. Individuals who tested positive but did not experience symptoms can be cleared by a physician to be with others after 10 days have passed since the date of the positive test. For those who experienced severe illness, your healthcare provider may recommend that you stay in isolation for longer than 10 days after your symptoms first appeared (possibly up to 20 days).
  • During the semester, students who test positive or are exhibiting symptoms should immediately contact the Health and Wellness Center. Faculty and staff who test positive will need to report their positive status to their supervisor and Leslie Kane (Leslie.Kane@alvernia.edu), so their unit can begin the contact tracing process, and self-isolate off campus.

Can I leave quarantine early if I receive a negative test result?

If you are identified as a close contact through contact tracing, you must complete the entire quarantine period regardless of your test result. Since symptoms typically develop between 2 to 14 days after exposure to someone with COVID-19, close contacts are required to complete the 14-day quarantine period from their last contact with the positive individual. The Alvernia University Health and Wellness Center will tell you what your release date is pending your last contact with the COVID-19 positive person.

What is Alvernia’s contact tracing plan?

To support the health and well-being of the University community this fall and to limit COVID-19 spread and transmission, Alvernia has implemented a contact tracing process in coordination with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The contact tracing process will focus on identifying, notifying and monitoring students, faculty and staff who came in close contact with an individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or is presumed positive, while they were infectious.

The University and the Pennsylvania Department of Health will work in tandem to support state requirements for case investigation, which is the process of contacting those who test positive for COVID-19, or are presumed positive, and then reaching out to their close contacts.

The following steps outline the contact tracing process and what students and employees can expect:

  • Step 1: Alvernia’s required use of the #CampusClear self-screening helps users to identify symptoms and alerts them to stay home and students to call Health and Wellness and employees to contact their PCP and supervisor.
  • Step 2: Health and Wellness Center staff will initiate contact with positive or presumed positive students and employees.
  • Step 3: Faculty will be contacted for current and up-to-date attendance and seating chart information. Health and Wellness Center staff members and contact tracers will communicate with faculty, staff and students identified as close contacts about quarantine expectations and to offer support and guidance.
  • Step 4: State contact tracers and select university administrators will reach out daily, or on an as-needed basis, to students in isolation and/or quarantine to provide support and will notify the Health and Wellness Center if they have additional recommendations. 

How will I be contacted if I am identified during the contact tracing process?

When a student or employee is identified as being positive for COVID-19, an Alvernia Health and Wellness Center staff member will reach out to them to provide support and isolation guidance and to collect information about that person’s close contacts. An Alvernia Health and Wellness Center staff member will then reach out to students and employees identified as close contacts to gain additional information and provide directions and health precautions. As part the University’s partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, a case manager from the state also will reach out to Alvernia students and employees who are diagnosed with COVID-19 to identify close contacts; the state contact tracers will follow up with those close contacts.

In accordance with CDC guidance, close contacts are defined as anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick (or when they test positive, if asymptomatic) until the time the patient was isolated.

How is Alvernia testing for COVID-19 and will the university start testing asymptomatic individuals?

Alvernia has secured rapid point of care, on-campus testing capabilities and is also partnering with local hospitals to test students, faculty and staff for COVID-19, as indicated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines. 

The Alvernia Health and Wellness Center is conducting testing of all direct contacts of positive cases. The vast majority of those tested at Alvernia due to exposure have been asymptomatic.

What if I have been in direct contact with someone who did not test positive, but that person has been in direct contact with the person who tested positive? 

Exposures of exposures do not need to quarantine. The Alvernia University Health and Wellness Center will, if necessary, expand the quarantine to additional individuals following receipt of test results of the first wave of individuals exposed to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.

FACULTY CONSIDERATIONS

How will I know if a student in my class or lab tests positive for COVID-19?

Alvernia’s contact tracing process consists of multiple layers of outreach. This process prioritizes getting the COVID-positive individual into isolation. The first layer involves reaching out to the individual who has tested positive for COVID. Next, Health and Wellness Center staff or state contact tracers will contact those who have been identified by the COVID-positive individual as close contacts. Finally, a Health and Wellness Center staff member or other university administrator from the Pandemic Response Team will contact the faculty member to inform them of a positive case and request seating charts and other pertinent information to aid contact tracing efforts. We will reach out to faculty with each positive test. We are reaching back for attendance information for the full week before testing. It is crucial to our process that all faculty submit attendance daily and have accurate seating charts available upon request. We will continue to refine and improve this process as we learn more this semester.

The contact tracing process begins as soon as possible when the University is informed of a positive case. It is possible, even likely, that a student who has tested positive will notify their professors before the University is able to do so. If a faculty member receives notification from the student prior to receiving formal notification from Alvernia, they do not need to contact the Alvernia Health and Wellness Center, as a representative will be in touch to collect information pertinent to contact tracing. 

If a student advises their faculty member directly, then the faculty member will have additional time to work with that student on any adaptions needed to help the student be successful in learning while in isolation or quarantine.

What should I be doing with the #CampusClear app with my students?

Faculty members are encouraged to check the #CampusClear pass from their students before each class. Students are instructed to contact the Health and Wellness Center immediately if they are not cleared. In the situation that a student attends class without clearance, faculty members may ask the students to leave the class and report directly to the Health and Wellness Center. Faculty are also encouraged to request that the student provide a clearance note from Health and Wellness before a student is allowed to return to class after not clearing the #CampusClear app.

EMPLOYEE CONSIDERATIONS

How should Alvernia employees get a COVID test if necessary?

All employees who are exhibiting symptoms or who have had direct contact with a positive COVID case should contact their Primary Care Physician (PCP) for a testing order. Presently, the test availability in the area and wait time for results are as follows:

  • Rite Aid 6th St. Reading
    • Online appointment scheduling
    • 2-4 day wait time
  • PennState Health On Demand app
    • Schedule telemedicine appt. for drive through at Penn state Health St. Joseph
    • Mon-Fri 8am-3pm 
    • 4-5 day wait time
  • Patient First 
    • Online appointment scheduling
    • 2-4 day wait time
  • Tower Health Urgent Care Liggett Ave.
    • Mon-Fri 8am-8pm or Sat. 8am-3pm.
    • 4-5 day wait time
Thursday, September 17, 2020 | Dining Operations Update

Dear Alvernia University Community, 

As we continue to safeguard the health and safety of our campus from the transmission of COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution, the University has decided to temporarily move all dining locations to take-out only, effective at 4 p.m. today, Thursday, September 17.  

It is important to note that the campus community will still enjoy all the same great food and beverage options during the same hours. No dining hall stations will be shut down due to this change in delivery. 

Other important notes regarding campus dining include:  

Students, faculty and staff who patron the dining locations are encouraged to enjoy their take-out meals at the various outdoor locations across campus, including the Holleran Patio, the different outdoor tents (outside of the Student Center, in front of Bernardine Hall, in front of the PEC, in front of the PLEX and the small tent located outside of Francis Hall), the various picnic tables and natural outdoor seating spaces throughout campus and in the beautiful Angelica Park.   Students are encouraged to use the green plastic, re-washable, to-go containers that can be utilized at any dining location to take a meal to-go at any time. Students can return their used containers when they visit the dining options and are given a clean, sanitized container for their next meal.  Everyone should adhere to social distancing guidelines and directional signage at all dining locations. 

 

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team, 

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

As with all changes in campus operations, please know that this change in meal delivery is temporary and we are hopeful that they last no more than 14 days. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 | Campus Operations Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,

We hope you are well tonight. Please note the following changes to campus operations:

The University is closing all indoor recreation spaces (i.e. Campus Commons Fitness Center, Weight Rooms, PEC Gym, etc.).  All athletics and organized indoor activities are temporarily suspended. The retirement event scheduled for tomorrow has been canceled.

 

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

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

Please know that these closures are temporary and we are hopeful that they last no more than 14 days.

With the pleasant Fall weather we strongly encourage you to consider the many outdoor spaces for activities, recreation and free play. At all times all guidelines (masking, physical distancing, capacity limits, etc.) must be followed.

We leave you with a prayer:

A Coronavirus Prayer (from the Christian tradition)

Jesus Christ, you traveled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.” At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.

Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.

Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbors from helping one another.

Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.

Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.

Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.

Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace.

Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.

Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.

Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.

Jesus Christ, heal us.

- Prayer originated from https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2020/03/02/coronavirus-prayer

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 | Letter from President Loyack

Dear Alvernia University Community,

This afternoon, we learned of our first confirmed case of the coronavirus (COVID-19). This individual case was a residential student on the Reading campus and is now recovering in isolation and thankfully doing well. This is the first case on campus since the reopening of all Alvernia locations on August 15, 2020.  

Please be assured we have prepared for this scenario throughout the summer and the members of the Pandemic Response Team have responded to this case and are taking all appropriate steps and guidance from various government health authorities.    

While this remains an isolated incident, it is an important reminder for our entire community of the importance of the university’s COVID-19 protocols. This first case is providing some early lessons of importance.  If you have symptoms you need to report them immediately. Waiting to report symptoms increases the risk of spreading the virus and is violation of your compact with the university community. Do not let your individual desire to participate in an activity or event diminish your commitment to protect our community from the spread of COVID19.  Please make protecting your friends, classmates, and the faculty and staff who are dedicated to providing you a great on campus experience, your number one priority.  We ask that members of our community remain committed to  #StayWithThePack and take the following actions to mitigate the risk of exposure: 

Adhere to all guidelines outlined in the University’s Wellness Compact  Wear face masks properly (over mouth and nose) at all times as outlined in the Back to the Vern 2020 plan  Maintain social distancing, especially in high-traffic areas such as the dining hall, library, and the PLEX  Wash and sanitize your hands often  Limit travel to and from campus as much as possible  If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 (which include fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches or a cough) STAY AT HOME, and immediately contact your medical provider and the Health and Wellness Center Diligently self-screen your health daily using the #CampusClear app    

Updated guidance on how to keep yourself and the rest of the Alvernia community safe during these times can be found on the Back to the Vern 2020 and Health Alerts webpages.    

The health and safety of our community continues to be our primary concern. We are here to support our students, faculty and staff as we navigate this continuously evolving global pandemic and offer our thoughts and prayers to the student and all members of our Alvernia community.    

Sincerely,  

John R. Loyack 
President  

Further communication on testing, isolation, and positive COVID-19 cases will be shared via the COVID-19 Dashboard, which is updated daily.    

Saturday, September 5, 2020 | Back to the Vern Updates

Dear Alvernia University Community,

We wanted to start today's update with a few thank yous: Thank you for making our first week together on our beautiful campuses a success. Thank you for following the health and safety guidelines, wearing your masks and practicing social distancing guidelines. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we adapt our educational and student life experience.

 


Lastly, and most importantly, try to find some downtime for relaxation and self-care. This is crucial as we continue this semester!

As always, please stay safe, stay healthy and remember, we are in this together.

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

  • If you haven't completed the COVID-19 Training module, please do so ASAP. A reminder email was sent to all Alvernia email addresses on Sunday, August 30. Any issues with login should be directed to Kevin.Burns@alvernia.edu

Here are a few reminders as we head into our first weekend and prepare for our second week of classes:

Classes will be held Labor Day, Monday, September 7. This semester, the university has implemented classes during regularly scheduled fall breaks in an effort o minimize travel and lower the risk of possibly spreading coronavirus on Alvernia campuses. Protect yourself and the rest of the campus community by attending the many fun activities that Student Activities has planned for this weekend and by making good decisions and not engaging in behavior that will endanger self or others (in particular social gatherings, inside where social distancing cannot be maintained). Continue to use the #CampusClear app every day. If you are having issues completing the screening on your mobile device, try using the desktop version by clicking here.
Monday, August 31, 2020 | Back to the Vern Updates

Dear Alvernia University Community,

Over the past five days we welcomed back students, faculty and staff to our campuses. With classes gathering in-person for the first time today, President Loyack shared a welcome message to our students.

We appreciate everyone's adherence to our health and safety guidelines during the residential move-in process and new student orientation weekend. Without your support, the smooth transition back to campus would not have been possible.

As we head into the first week of in-person classes in nearly six months, here are some top-level items that need your attention to continue the on-campus experience this semester:

As President Loyack shared in his welcome, our success this semester is dependent on all of us doing our part. That starts by reviewing and understanding the health and safety protocols. All students, faculty and staff, if they have not done so already, should do the following ASAP:

Review the Alvernia Wellness Compact and the Alvernia University Expected Classroom Behaviors and Cleaning Protocols.

Complete the online COVID-19 Training module. A reminder email was sent to all Alvernia email addresses yesterday. Any issues with login should be directed to Kevin.Burns@alvernia.edu

Please download and begin the daily use of the #CampusClear app. All data collected in this app is encrypted, and the app does not conduct surveillance or tracking on your device. #CampusClear will be used for campus safety and contact tracing purposes only. If you run into any glitches with the #CampusClear app, please make sure to update to the latest version or delete the app from your mobile device and reinstall it. 

More information on the entire reopening plan is available on the Back to the Vern 2020 plan.

Alvernia has established protocols for symptom screening for all campus visitors (vendors, guest speakers, media members, etc.). Those protocols were first communicated to campus on Aug. 19 and the FAQ can be found on the Back to the Vern 2020 plan under employee considerations.

Proper mask usage includes the following:

Covering of the mouth and the nose. For more tips on proper mask usage, please visit this CDC page.

Masks should be worn in classrooms, labs, offices, dining and retail facilities, public spaces and while walking and traveling by car with others on Alvernia campuses. 

If you are gathering outside, please continue to wear a mask for protection.

We appreciate your continued patience as we work through this new semester!

Please make sure to review the other important updates listed below.

As always, please stay safe, stay healthy and remember, we are in this together.
 

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,
 

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

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

Community Health and Safety


Will the fitness centers be open during the fall 2020 semester? (ADDED 8.28.20)

The Campus Commons Fitness Center will open for the first time on Sunday, August 30 from 12 pm – 6 pm. Limited hours will allow for additional training for Fitness Center student workers and staff on Sunday evening. Normal hours, which begin on Monday, August 31, are below:

  • Monday – Thursday: 6:00am – 10:00pm
  • Friday: 6:00am – 7:00pm
  • Saturday: 7:00am – 7:00pm
  • Sunday: 7:00am – 10:00pm

Please see below for new/additional COVID-related guidelines and protocols for use:

  • Use of facilities is restricted to current students only. Faculty, staff, guests and alumni use has been suspended temporarily.
  • Plex Strength Room has been closed temporarily.
  • All Fitness Center/Strength Room locations have been reviewed by Advantage Fitness, our Fitness Center consultant, and floor plans have been updated to meet or exceed all appropriate CDC and/or industry guidelines, including removing pieces of equipment, spreading others out, restricting use, and placing some equipment out of order to ensure appropriate physical distancing, etc. 
  • Protective Shields have been added to all student check-in desks/areas.
  • Check-In/Check-Out procedures have been modified to include proof of #CampusClear status (smiley face).
  • In accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Health guidance and Alvernia policy, masks covering the mouth and nose are required to be worn at all times, including when exercising.
  • Physical Distancing of at least six feet must be maintained at all times.
  • Increased signage has been added to direct traffic flow, limit capacity, and to detail enhanced cleaning procedures.
  • Capacities have been decreased in each area and are indicated on signage throughout the facility.
  • Locker rooms, changing areas, and restrooms are open, but you may not leave anything in them.
  • Water fountains have been turned off, so please bring your own bottle (filling stations are on).
  • Additional staff has been added for the purpose of cleaning and sanitization of equipment hourly
  • Please report any violations of these rules and protocols, or any questions to the Front Desk Staff or e-mail Coach Rayne Reber at rayne.reber@alvernia.edu.

Additional rules and regulations are posted in the facility and available at AUWolves.com.

Academic Considerations


How do I access academic advising and tutoring services? (ADDED 8.28.20)
The Academic Success Center in Bernardine Hall 105 is open for academic advising, accessibility services, tutoring and academic coaching. Please request advising and accessibility services appointments using your Navigate Student app ("Wolves Guide") or call 610-796-8263. 

Tutoring and academic coaching is primarily accessed online with some in-person meetings by appointment as needed in Bernardine Hall 105. The full schedule of peer tutors, writing support, study groups and workshops is available on www.alvernia.myWCONLINE.com. There are four ways to make an appointment: 

  • Log on to WCONLINE with your Alvernia email and password.
  • Email academic.support@alvernia.edu 
  • Call the Tutoring Hotline 610-568-1494 
  • Visit Bernardine Hall Room 105

Will the nursing study groups and SI Sessions for BIO and CHEM still meet? (ADDED 8.28.20)
Study groups will be conducted both in-person and virtually on Zoom. Students attending a study group or SI Session should take the following steps:

  • See the ASC FAQs page for detailed instructions on making, editing & canceling appointments. It's always better when students study together!
  • Please RSVP for all study group sessions by making an appointment on www.alvernia.myWCONLINE.com. If you realize later that you cannot attend, please cancel your appointment so that others on the waiting list can join. 
  • Wear your mask and try to sit in the same seats each time. Attendance will be taken on a confidential seating chart in case contact tracing is necessary.
  • Understand that if the room reaches maximum occupancy for social distancing, you can access the study session via the Zoom links on www.alvernia.myWCONLINE.com.
Wednesday, August 26, 2020 | Back to the Vern Updates

Dear Alvernia Community,

Tomorrow we begin welcoming students back to our beautiful campuses, and we couldn't be more excited. We've been sharing our campus transformation with you over the past week and are now happy to present a new video that showcases all the latest health and safety precautions being implemented for a safe return to Alvernia campuses. Please click here to view the video.

Here are a few important reminders for our community as you return to campus:

Please download and begin daily use of the #CampusClear app. All data collected in this app is encrypted, and the app does not conduct surveillance or tracking on your device. #CampusClear will be used for campus safety and contact tracing purposes only. If you run into any glitches with the #CampusClear app, please make sure to update to the latest version or delete the app from your mobile device and reinstall it. More information is available on the Back to the Vern 2020 plan. Students, faculty and staff should complete the online COVID-19 Training module ASAP. Please see your Alvernia email for more information. The entire campus community can monitor the COVID-19 situation on campus by visiting the COVID-19 Dashboard, which will be updated daily. Students should make sure to take the time to review the Alvernia Wellness Compact and the Alvernia University Expected Classroom Behaviors and Cleaning Protocols prepared to adhere to all the guidelines outlined in the compact.

 

Faculty Considerations
How do I mark students who are virtually attending class in AUAdvise? (ADDED 8.26.20)
Faculty will need to mark “virtually attending” students as “Tardy Excused” on AUAdvise rather than “Present” for contact tracing purposes.

How do I set up Zoom meetings for students attending class virtually? (ADDED 8.26.20)
Faculty members who have been notified that they have students attending class virtually must set up a recurring Zoom meeting for their virtual classrooms. The Center for Instructional Design and Learning Technology in the Media Suite can provide resources for training in the procedure if needed.

What are the expectations for faculty who have students who are not able to attend class due to COVID-19 symptoms? (ADDED 8.26.20)
Faculty should clearly communicate a process to students who may have to attend virtually if they are not cleared for campus access via the #CampusClear App and for any time the campus is not face to face, including the time period after Thanksgiving. 

How do I create a seating chart for my class? (ADDED 8.26.20)
The university is creating a seating chart template for all classrooms. In the meantime, faculty are encouraged to take a picture of their class each day for contact tracing purposes. In the event a faculty member is considering assigning seats, considerations of seating placement must include ADA accommodations.
 

Employee Considerations
What if I am feeling ill, who should I notify, and what are my steps for returning to campus? (UPDATED 8.26.20)
Employees who are not feeling well should not report to work, contact their supervisor, contact Leslie Kane (Leslie.Kane@alvernia.edu) and seek appropriate medical care.

The Health and Wellness Center and Human Resources Department have worked diligently to develop employee protocols for COVID-19 exposure and symptoms as well as a return to work/campus. This infographic explains the number of potential scenarios faculty and staff may encounter during the upcoming semester.

  • Enter your name, choose your password and enter your phone number. 
  • Enter the times you want to receive notifications (pick the times you use the shuttle most). 
  • Complete the registration and explore the site. 
  • Download the BusWhere for Alvernia app by searching “BusWhere for Alvernia University” in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

We appreciate your continued patience as we work through the ever-changing guidance from the CDC, Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Please make sure to review the other important updates listed below. 
 

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

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,
 

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

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

Community Health and Safety
Will Alvernia have flu shots available on campus for students, faculty and staff? (ADDED 8.26.20)
Students and employees are eligible for the on-campus flu vaccination clinic provided by RiteAid. Enter 19607 for the zip code, register and schedule the appointment, print and complete the consent info and bring those papers along with your insurance card and ID to the clinic.
 

Student Life Considerations
Will the university operate its usual shuttle services and how can I know where the shuttle is? (UPDATED 8.26.20)
Campus shuttles shall operate at a reduced capacity. Riders must wear masks while on the shuttles. Students should plan for increased wait times and may need to leave for classes earlier than they have in the past, if using the shuttles.

Students, faculty and staff can check on the current location of Alvernia shuttles by downloading the Buswhere app on their mobile device by doing the following:

Navigate to Buswhere.com/Alvernia and register with your Alvernia email address. Check your email for a registration link and click it. 
Friday, August 21, 2020 | Back to the Vern Updates

Dear Alvernia Community,

We are now less than a week away from welcoming students back to our beautiful campuses and we are excited to continue to share the transformation of our campus.

As we head into the weekend there are a few important updates we wanted to share with the community:

Our world, including our campus community, is changing at a rapid pace. Keeping yourself informed is paramount to the success of this semester. Please be sure to bookmark and regularly visit the Back to the Vern 2020 plan and the Health Alerts page. Please be sure to download and begin daily use of the #CampusClear app. Make it part of your morning routine!  Please make sure to take the time to review the Alvernia Wellness Compact and be prepared to adhere to all the guidelines outlined in the compact. Alvernia University has continued flexible accommodations for employees' return to work as well as remote learning options for students. In order to finalize plans for the start of the semester, Alvernia asks that any additional accommodation requests be filed with Human Resources (for employees) and the Alvernia University Office of the Provost (for students) no later than Monday, August 24 at 5 p.m. ET. Any requests after this time may not be able to be accommodated. 

 

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

We appreciate your continued patience as we work through the ever-changing guidance from the CDC, Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Department of Education.

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

Wednesday, August 19, 2020 | Back to the Vern 2020 Updates

Dear Alvernia Community,

As we inch ever closer to the start of the semester, we want to remind our community of a few important items:

Students need to submit the proper health paperwork (See FAQs below) Every member of our campus community should please make the #CampusClear app part of your daily morning routine (See FAQ below)

 

The sanitation supplies have run low in my area, who do I contact to refill them? (ADDED 8.19.20) 

If you notice any sanitation supplies (wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.) that need refilled/replace, or if you have safety questions/concerns on how to administer those products, please email ehs@alvernia.edu. This is a new email for Environmental Health and Safety and will be monitored during working hours. Please include refill items needed and location and/or room number.

I need to create some COVID-19 related signage for my area, where can I find some templates? (ADDED 8.19.20) 

Alvernia has created a number of COVID-19 signage templates for use by faculty and staff. The designs come in a variety of colors and sizes and are in Microsoft Word format and can be printed on university printers. The templates can be found here.
 

Can I continue to work from home if I can accomplish my work remotely? What if I, or someone I live with, is immunocompromised or part of an at-risk population? (UPDATED 8.19.20) 

Alvernia University is open for business and on ground campus support is expected to service our students and campus community. The university continues to support reasonable flexible work schedules for some roles to ensure safety for all. However, some roles require daily on campus presence to support continued university operations. For specific guidance, please contact HR to discuss available options.

Employee Expectations

Employees should limit the number of visitors invited to campus during the fall 2020 semester and should instead explore options to meet virtually via ZOOM or Microsoft Teams in an effort to reduce potential virus exposure to the campus community.

If meeting virtually is not viable...

Prior To Arrival
  • Employees should send a copy of the Visitor Expectations (listed above) to their invited guests prior to their arrival to campus.
  • Employees should encourage their visitors to complete the Alvernia Visitor COVID-19 Daily Self Checklist via the online prior to their arrival on campus.
Upon Arrival

In addition, a Flu Vaccination requirement has been added this year for residential students and student-athletes. Residential students and student-athletes must have a current 2020-21 seasonal flu shot on file by Oct. 15 by uploading proof to the student health portal. Flu shot clinics will be available on campus through a local pharmacy and at the Health and Wellness Center during move in and through the first week of classes.


What if I can't get an appointment with my doctor before school starts to fulfill the health requirements? (UPDATED 8.19.20)
All full time undergraduate, DPT, DNP, MSN, MSAT, MSOT, and MSW students are required to complete forms and submit copies of their immunization records and insurance card on the Student Health Portal by August 1. If you are having trouble getting an appointment with your doctor, you may be able to request your immunization record from them without needing an appointment. You can also contact the Alvernia Health and Wellness Center by sending a secure message in the Student Health Portal with your concern. There will be a vaccine clinic on campus the first week of classes to help students catch up on necessary vaccines including the flu shot. 

Students and employees are eligible for the flu vaccination clinic provided by RiteAid. Enter 19607 for the zip code, register and schedule the appointment, print and complete the consent info and bring those papers along with your insurance card and ID to the clinic.

Will students, faculty and staff be required to take their temperature every day? (UPDATED 8.19.20)

As part of ongoing mitigation efforts, all students, faculty and staff will also be asked to complete self-monitoring, which includes taking temperature with a thermometer and screening for other symptoms through the #CampusClear app. For students, any concerning symptoms will be addressed by the university's Health and Wellness Center.

The Alvernia Pandemic Response Team may issue requirements for situations where students, employees, and approved visitors must have their temperature checked by an Alvernia representative before participating in an activity or entering a University-owned space. Examples include university-sponsored intercollegiate athletic activities and in certain lab activities. 

Has Alvernia established a COVID-19 Dashboard for tracking COVID-19 cases in the campus community? (ADDED 8.19.20)

The university has established a COVID-19 Dashboard, which outlines testing and isolation of all students, faculty and staff studying or working at any Alvernia’s campuses (Reading, Philadelphia, or Schuylkill). To protect each person’s privacy, the university will not share names nor other specific details. Alvernia will update this list daily as information becomes available and is verified. 

Employee Considerations
 

What is the expectation of visitors upon entering any of Alvernia’s campuses? (ADDED 8.19.20)

While visitor access to Alvernia campus locations should be very limited, there is an understanding that some visitors will need access to campus for various reasons. Alvernia has established expectations for all campus visitors as well as for employees who invite visitors to campus. 

Visitor Expectations

All visitors should complete self-monitoring of symptoms, which includes taking temperature with a thermometer and screening other symptoms through the Alvernia Visitor COVID-19 Daily Self Checklist on your computer or mobile device by visiting or by filling out this paper form with your campus contact before entering any campus facility. This is expected of visitors each time they come to campus. All visitors should practice social distancing of at least six feet while on campus and wear face masks when inside campus buildings. Visitors should maintain high sanitation levels including frequently washing hands (for at least 20 seconds), utilizing new and existing hand sanitation stations, avoiding close contact with those who are sick and covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue as directed by the CDC. Visitors should remain home if feeling ill or after having been exposed to someone who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19 and reschedule their visit for a later time.
 

#CampusClear Privacy Policy
All data is transmitted encrypted and only certain individuals appointed by Alvernia will have the ability to unencrypt the data so they can make contact with sick individuals, for example. The app does not conduct surveillance or tracking other than the utilization of the app. No third parties will get access to the app’s data. Read the privacy policy in its entirety here.

 

Is there any new health documentation or information that will be required for students, faculty and staff to submit before arriving at campus? (UPDATED 8.19.20)

A new COVID-19 Return to Campus form must be completed by students returning to campus in August. That form has been delivered to students on the student health portal and was due August 13th.

If you have not completed it yet, please do so as soon as possible by logging in to the Student Health Portal and click on "My Forms." If you have not completed it yet, please do so as soon as possible. 

 Passes and Instructions
If you receive a green screen with a smiley face…
You are cleared to be on campus to attend classes, work, and other activities. Please follow social distancing guidelines, wear your mask and enjoy campus responsibly.
 
If you receive a red screen
Do not come to campus. Avoid contact with others.
Students should call the Health and Wellness Center (610-568-1467) before 4:30pm or send a secure message via the Student Health Portal if after hours. Employees should contact their primary care provider and reference the COVID-19 protocol sheet.
 
If you don't have access to a smartphone or other mobile device...
If you don't have access to a smartphone/device, you can provide a daily screening via a desktop or laptop computer here. Please print out your results and carry with you during your time on campus.
 
#CampusClear Helpful Tips

You will never have to select or remember a password to use the app. You will remain logged in to the app until you logout, even after closing the app. Your results for the day will display every time you open the app, until the next day when you are prompted to complete the question again. It is okay if you close the app between completing your attestation and needing to present your results on campus. If you make a mistake and need to re-enter your results for the day, you must log out of the app and back in. Every time you log out of the app and attempt to log back in, you will be asked to verify yourself through the email confirmation, to protect identity.

 
How do I conduct a self health screen using the app daily?

Check your temperature with a thermometer (remember your result) and then open the app. You need to complete the steps in the app before coming onto campus and also on days you do not come to campus. Please allow notifications on the app so you will be prompted by a mobile notification or email every weekday morning at 7:30 a.m. and at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Click the button for any symptoms you have or indicate if you are symptom free. Follow the guidance provided by the app. The app will tell you whether you are clear to come onto campus or not. Students and employees must self-screen via the app every day.

#CampusClear Download and Account Set Up

Search “Campus Clear” within the Apple App Store or Google Play store. Select #CampusClear app, indicated by the green hashtag logo and click install app. Read through the agreements and user consents and click “I understand/consent” Choose “student”, “employee” based on your appropriate role and enter your @alvernai.edu email address Check for confirmation email to complete account setup. Email will come from “Ivy Team” at the email address team@ivy.ai. Click “confirm email” to begin using the app.

Below you will find new and revised FAQs based on our plans. As always, we ask that you continue to monitor the Alvernia University Health Alerts page for the latest updates as well as the updated FAQs found in our Back to the Vern 2020 plan.

We appreciate your continued patience as we work through the ever-changing guidance from the CDC, Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Department of Education.
 

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

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,
 

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

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

Community Health and Safety


I've heard Alvernia is using #CampusClear app but I want to find more information and how to download the app and make it part of my daily routine? (UPDATED 8.19.20)

What is #CampusClear?
 
#CampusClear is a COVID-19 assessment tool that allows individuals to report health status, symptoms, and exposure. More than 1,000 colleges and universities have signed-up for #CampusClear, which was created by Ivy.ai, a leading developer of higher-education artificial intelligence solutions, in partnership with Creighton University and other collegiate partners.
 
Alvernia University expects the entire campus community, all students, faculty and staff at all locations to utilize #CampusClear for daily self-symptom screening.
 
What does the #CampusClear app do?

Enables students and employees to self-report symptoms or COVID-19 infection daily in an easy and convenient way. Clears individuals to access university facilities. Gives Alvernia actionable information to manage emergent risks. The app is not a source of medical advice. Check with your doctor if you have any health concerns.
Monday, August 17, 2020 | Back to the Vern 2020 Updates

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As the majority of our faculty and staff back return to campus this week, preparations for the start of the semester continue and we couldn't be more excited to be less than two weeks away from welcoming our students back to our campuses for the first time since mid-March.

As a reminder, we’re strongly encouraging all students – commuters and residents - to self-isolate at home for 14-days prior to arriving on campus.

Changes across campus are happening every day, including the installation of new lawn signs and distribution of cleaning and sanitizing materials in all campus buildings.

Below you will find new and revised FAQs based on our plans. As always, we ask that you continue to monitor the Alvernia University Health Alerts page for the latest updates as well as the updated FAQs found in our Back to the Vern 2020 plan.

We appreciate your continued patience as we work through the ever-changing guidance from the CDC, Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Department of Education.
 

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

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,
 

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

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

Community Health and Safety
Is Alvernia testing for COVID-19? (UPDATED 8.17.20)

Alvernia has secured rapid point of care, on-campus testing capabilities and is also partnering with local hospitals to test students and employees for COVID-19, as indicated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines. 

The university is highly emphasizing daily symptom monitoring and recording on the #CampusClear app, proper mask usage, social distancing protocols and increased sanitation procedures as the primary mitigation tactics. 


Will there be some type of COVID-19 safety training that students and employees will receive as they arrive to campus? 
To educate our community on the COVID-19 and the various mitigation efforts, Alvernia has secured an online training module that all students, faculty and staff will be required to complete before their return to campus.

The module explores some of the challenges associated with, and strategies for approaching, reopening colleges and schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about COVID-19 and what faculty, staff, and students should expect, and do, as in-person operations resume. 

After taking this course, learners should be able to: 

  1. Describe the challenges institutions are facing as a result of the pandemic
  2. Recognize that everyone must work together to reduce the spread of the virus 
  3. Identify the signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  4. Detail safety precautions to minimize exposure to the virus 

Students, faculty and staff will receive instructions to their Alvernia email this week with instructions on how to complete the online training. All students must complete this training by Monday, August 24. Employees, especially those who have started to return to campus, should complete the training as soon as possible, but no later than Friday, August 21. 

What if there is a virus flare on campus, during the semester? Will Alvernia close campus and return to remote learning? (UPDATED 8.17.20)
The Alvernia Pandemic Response Team has created guidance, which has been informed by evidence-based science and/or expert opinions. This guidance covers most situations and will be revised as our understanding of COVID-19 and situational awareness changes.

The university regularly monitors and determines the level of operations for classes, housing, research and other events and activities using an established framework. Levels of operations range from a closed campus to fully open. Levels within this range include various combinations of online and in-person classes, class size densities, on-campus housing availability, and expanded or reduced research activities. 

A combination of community and campus criteria might lead to further campus restrictions, partial closure or full closure.

Community criteria include: 

  • Significant, applicable action by the governor or other public officials
  • Escalation of the City of Reading Public Health COVID-19 risk-based guidelines 
  • Number of hospital admissions in Berks, Schuylkill, Montgomery and surrounding counties 
  • Trends among other institutions of higher education 
  • Upward trajectory of influenza-like illness (ILI) –when compared to traditional rates –and COVID-19-like syndromic surveillance within a 14-day period 
  • Upward trajectory of documented cases or percentage of positive tests (with flat or increasing volume of tests) for 14 days 
  • Degradation of robust testing capacity in community including screening and contact tracing for symptomatic individual 

Campus Considerations include: 

  • Employee absenteeism with focus on critical areas such as environmental services (ability to maintain a safe, hygienic campus) 
  • Increases in percent positives in testing 
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages impacting ability to test and care for COVID-19 
  •  Inability to adequately test for COVID-19 due to supply chain issues (e.g., collection kit, processing reagents) 
  • If the activity from clusters overwhelms our ability to quarantine/isolate and contact trace 
  • Positive tests in excess of predicted model 
  • Upward trajectory of ILI and COVID-19 syndromic surveillance within a 14-day period over baseline rates 
  • Excess student stress/concern
  • Upward trajectory of documented cases or percentage of positive tests (with flat or increasing volume of tests) for 14 days 
  • Increasing cases of community transmission (no known source) in student population 
  • Degradation of containment capabilities 

Some of the possible actions as a result of these factors include: 

  • Advanced or heightened social distancing, environmental cleaning 
  • Short class suspension, building and facility closure to clean/disinfect/contact trace in consultation with local health officials 
  • Phased occupancy reduction 
  • Closure of residence halls with the understanding that travel is a concern and it might be worse to send people home 
  • On-campus closure; full transition to remote learning

Student Life


Will there be a way for students to anonymously report non-compliance of health and safety guidelines, including not wearing masks and not social distancing?
All students are expected to follow all guidelines and recommendations established by Alvernia University. Non-compliance will be considered a policy violation and referred to the Office of Community Standards for follow up. Students can report non-compliant behaviors by their peers, through the already-existing notification system, Report It. 

What type of meetings and events will be allowed on campus?

Current guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health restricts all indoor activities (that are not related to educational instruction) to no more than 25 people (includes all people present). This includes meetings, assemblies, etc.

Activities and gatherings held outdoors are limited to no more than 250 people.

The university encourages all event organizers to consider holding meetings and events virtually if possible. When that is not feasible, organizers should do the following: 

  • Consider outdoor event spaces whenever possible 
  • Notify participants that events can be canceled at any time, depending on how the pandemic evolves. 
  • Design events to ensure proper social distancing and hand hygiene. 
  • Keep a log of all attendees. 
  • Adhere to recommended protective face masks guidance. Event organizer has to ensure everyone is compliant. 
  • Clean event spaces regularly — at least daily. 
  • Ensure that non-local attendees review and adhere to Alvernia travel restrictions 

 

Monday, August 10, 2020 | Back to the Vern 2020 Updates

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As we continue to prepare for the return of our students, faculty and staff to our beautiful campus, the Pandemic Response Team is meeting daily to address your questions and concerns. We will be increasing the number of updates in the coming weeks to update you with the latest information as it becomes available.

Below you will find new and revised FAQs based on our plans. As always, we ask that you continue to monitor the Alvernia University Health Alerts page for the latest updates as well as the updated FAQs found in our Back to the Vern 2020 plan.

We appreciate your continued patience as we work through the ever-changing guidance from the CDC, Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Department of Education.

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

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

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

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

Community Health and Safety
How can I submit the new student health form in the student health portal?
Log in to the Student Health Portal and click on "My Forms" to complete the Alvernia COVID-19 Return to Campus Form.

What if I can't get an appointment with my doctor before school starts to fulfill the health requirements?
All full time undergraduate, DPT, DNP, MSN, MSAT, MSOT, and MSW students are required to complete forms and submit copies of their immunization records and insurance card on the Student Health Portal by August 13. If you are having trouble getting an appointment with your doctor, you may be able to request your immunization record from them without needing an appointment. You can also contact the Alvernia Health and Wellness Center by sending a secure message in the Student Health Portal with your concern. There will be a vaccine clinic on campus the first week of classes to help students catch up on necessary vaccines including the flu shot. 

What is the Alvernia Wellness Compact?
The Alvernia University Wellness Compact is a set of actions that all members of the university community are asked to abide by to protect themselves and others by doing their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. The Alvernia Wellness Compact is available here for review. 

How can I access #CampusClear to begin screening my symptoms? 
Alvernia University expects the entire campus community to utilize #CampusClear system for daily self-symptom screening. You can access the #CampusClear app by downloading it from the Apple App Store and Google Play store or by accessing it from your laptop or desktop here. While the app is in the final stages of development, the Alvernia community can begin using the app by registering for an account using your university email address. More information on how to utilize the app upon return to campus will be available shortly.

Will there be a mandatory quarantine before returning to campus? (UPDATED 8.7.2020)
As part of Alvernia’s efforts to open our campus for Fall 2020 in a safe and healthy way, we’re strongly encouraging all students – commuters and residents - to self-isolate at home for 14-days prior to arriving on campus. Please note, this does not apply to students who have already started classes, been living/working on campus this summer, or students who plan to be virtual in the fall. Students are asked to limit your exposure to those who do not reside in your home environment. We also ask that you be extra vigilant if having any friends and family good-bye gatherings: such events are now the #1 source of COVID-19 spread in Pennsylvania’s current hot spots. Your at-home self-isolation should begin 14 days prior to the first day you will be physically on one of our campuses. This would begin 14 days prior to your move-in date (residents) or your first on-ground class (commuters).

I'm a student and I received a card in the mail from SwiftMD, what is this service?
SwiftMD is a new after-hours telemedicine service that is provided to Alvernia's full-time undergraduate students at no additional cost. This service can be utilized when the Health and Wellness Center is closed. It is important to note that this not any kind of health insurance. 

Academics
What type of behaviors are expected of students in the new learning environment?

Students are expected to adhere to the Alvernia University Expected Classroom Behaviors and Cleaning Protocols for Fall 2020 that are available here. This includes guidelines for in-person instruction, the virtual learning environment and cleaning procedures for classrooms. 


Are there any restrictions for internship or clinical sites for the fall 2020 semester? (UPDATED 8.10.2020)
Departments requiring community-based placements (i.e. nursing clinical, student teaching, internships) will ensure that sites adhere to safety, health and social distancing protocols and that students receive appropriate orientation and training before placement. Students should verify the availability of opportunities with their internship or clinical site supervisors. If students do not know their internship or clinical site supervisors, they should contact their Dean’s Office.

What type of tutoring services will be available for students during the fall 2020 semester? 
The Academic Success Center will continue to offer subject tutoring, writing support and academic coaching both in-person with social distancing and remotely via Zoom or phone. The study groups for nursing, anatomy & physiology and CHE106 will also continue but follow the same social distancing practices as classes. Our schedule of tutors and workshops will be open for appointments on Aug. 3 on www.alvernia.mywconline.com

If I decide not to attend the university this fall but return for the spring semester, will it affect my financial aid package?
Alvernia University will honor institutional aid awards for students who decide to not return for the fall 2020 semester but return for the spring 2021 semester. Students should be aware that taking a gap semester or gap year will trigger the start of the federal loan grace period. Students should consult with Student Financial Services by contacting FinancialAid@alvernia.edu or 610-796-8356 to discuss the options available to them.

Why is the spring 2021 academic calendar missing from the website?
Alvernia continues to monitor the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. In order to be fluid and nimble in planning for the Spring 2021 semester, the Spring 2021 Calendar is not available at this time. As the university continues to monitor the latest health guidance and organizes its spring academic experience, more information will be shared via the COVID-19 campus update emails and at Alvernia.edu/Health-Alerts. 

Student Life
When will resident students be able to return to campus? 
The Office of Residence Life is planning a staggered move-in for both new and first-year students as well as returning students. It is our hope that by staggering times, we can efficiently, safely and quickly move all your belongings to campus without the usual crowds and traffic of a typical move-in process. Residence Life will communicate with you via your Alvernia email to sign up for a move-in time.

First-year students will be able to sign up for move-in during the following dates and times:

Thursday, August 27th, 9am-12pm & 1pm-4pm

Friday, August 28th, 9am-12pm & 1pm-4pm

Returning upper-class students will be able to sign up for move-in during the following dates and times:

Saturday, August 29th, 10am-12pm & 1pm-4pm

Sunday, August 30th, 9am-12pm & 1pm-4pm

New and returning students will be allowed two family members or friends to help with unpacking and room set up. To ensure the safety of all our resident students, we ask students and their families and friends to adhere to their three-hour move-in window. All students and their family and friends must wear a mask during the entire move-in process. Once students and their family and friends have moved all their belongings into their rooms, we ask that they depart the residential area to make room for the next move-in cohort and take some time to explore our beautiful campus together. 

If you are registered to live on campus, but now wish to commute, can you do so?
Yes, please contact Shannon Merkey, Director of Residence Life, at Shannon.Merkey@alvernia.edu if you would like to change your status to a commuter.

Thursday, July 23, 2020 | Back to the Vern 2020 Announcement

Dear Alvernia University Community,

We cannot wait to welcome our students Back to the Vern, and our faculty and staff are hard at work to prepare our campus and centers. This includes reopening our physical campuses and offering a dynamic academic life and the engaging college experience you expect at Alvernia. Our goal is to raise the bar of the full student experience and we think you will notice the difference.

We so look forward to getting started with some new realities that COVID-19 brings that will impact how we all interact with each other. Face masks, physical distancing and frequent hand washing have become second nature to us as we all work together to limit exposure and transmission of the virus. For those returning to continue your Alvernia experience, you will notice the differences as we have taken hundreds of actions to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our campuses.

Our Franciscan heritage encourages us to be flexible and nimble, which has been an asset given the evolving and uncertain nature of COVID-19. We will continue to let the health, safety and comfort of our students, faculty, staff and neighbors drive our decisions.

With that in mind, the Alvernia Pandemic Response Team has developed flexible campus health and safety recommendations and requirements in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic that students, faculty and staff are expected to follow upon return for the fall 2020 semester.

In the Back to the Vern 2020 plan, you will find detailed information related to the phased reopening of our physical campuses and the start of the fall semester. Personal health guidelines, steps to keep our campuses healthy and safe and more.

These recommendations and requirements will be updated as new information about the virus develops and as we continue to monitor and evaluate data and guidance set forth by the Centers for Disease Control, Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Alvernia may add or reduce health and safety measures at any time and adapt them to our Alvernia campus environment, unique in the ways we all learn, live and work together.

Alvernia cannot guarantee these safety measures will prevent COVID-19 from occurring on our campus; however, given our current understanding of the transmission of the virus, adherence to these practices can decrease the likelihood of occurrence and enable us to keep the university operations on campus until the Thanksgiving Break.

The recommendations and requirements are structured in an FAQ format here

Any questions not covered in this area should be directed via email to the Pandemic Response Team at Campus.Update@alvernia.edu for inclusion in future updates.

As we've stated from the beginning, our community is in this together, and we each have a part to play to keep each other safe. Please stay safe, stay healthy, and we look forward to seeing you on campus soon.

On behalf of the Pandemic Response Team,

John R. Loyack, President

Glynis Fitzgerald, Senior Vice President and Provost

John McCloskey, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff

Wednesday, June 17, 2020 | Message from President Loyack about fall semester

Dear Alvernia University Community,  

I write you today with the most exciting news since our departure from campus March 18. After much research, planning and work by many colleagues, I am pleased to inform you that Alvernia University is actively preparing for an in-person fall semester, consistent with guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control, Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  

The health and safety of our extended campus community remains our top priority. Our reopening plan will allow us to systematically adapt our campus, curriculum and operations to safeguard health. Our goal is to be on campus and stay on campus safely. 

We will soon provide you with detailed procedures for reopening the campus but wanted to give you the dates as soon as they were determined for your planning purposes.

1.) Classes for the fall 2020 semester will begin as scheduled on Aug. 31, campus-based, in-person instruction for a majority of courses will end Nov. 25, with the remainder of the semester – including final examinations – delivered remotely when classes resume after Thanksgiving break on Nov. 30.  

2.) To minimize travel and lower the risk of possibly spreading Coronavirus on our campuses, classes will be held during regularly scheduled fall breaks, including Labor Day and the Feast of St. Francis. Residential students should strive to remain on campus throughout the term.

3.) An extensive return to work plan for faculty and staff has been established, with a phased return to our campus locations commencing July 6. The plan includes small cohorts of students returning to campus over the summer, with significant prevention and public health procedures in place to help maintain the health and safety of our students, employees and local communities.  All faculty will return to campus as scheduled Aug. 15.

4.) Detailed plans for intercollegiate athletics are being developed in accordance with NCAA and Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) guidelines. Further information, including report dates for fall preseason, will be sent directly to student-athletes by the Department of Athletics & Recreation.

5.) All Alvernia employees and every student choosing to attend this fall are fully expected to commit to health and safety guidelines, out of respect for our close community of learning and work.  The success of the University’s plans will be largely dependent on everyone doing their part. While on campus, students, employees and visitors are expected to wear face masks or coverings, practice social distancing, practice hand hygiene by frequently washing and sanitizing, follow protocols for covering coughs and sneezes, stay home if sick and clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces. The University will employ enhanced cleaning and sanitation, hygiene stations, plexiglass, signage and various other measures to provide for physical distancing and other health and safety needs.  

Although there is still much work to be done, our Pandemic Response Team, together with the ad hoc faculty committee and other professionals on and off-campus, remains vigilant in monitoring federal, state and local public health updates. More communication will be shared about our plan in the coming weeks and we will modify or issue additional guidance based on the latest information available.  

As we continue to outline the plan to advance our educational mission on campus, we do so by acknowledging the physical and psychological health and well-being of our entire campus community, including the direct impacts of COVID-19 and the indirect consequences of mitigation tactics.  

I am grateful to the Alvernia community for your patience, commitment and trust as we embark upon an unprecedented year, with continuing pandemic conditions.

Please continue to send us your questions at Campus.Update@alvernia.edu and monitor Alvernia.edu/Health-Alerts as we will continually develop additional FAQs for the community.  

Stay Safe,  

John R. Loyack   

President 

Thursday, June 4, 2020 | Update on Fall 2020 Plans

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As we begin the move out process for our residential students today, we’ve received updated guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Governor Wolf’s updated Process to Reopen Pennsylvania plan. While our campus remains closed for normal university functions at this time, we wanted to provide an update of Alvernia’s plans for Fall 2020.

We are following the guidance provided by the state and local public health officials and are developing a reopening plan for the Fall of 2020 that will be ready to share with the community by July 1.

The comprehensive plan will include:

Methods to safely resume in-person instruction (course, calendar, etc. modifications) ​

Procedure to monitor health conditions within the campus community (temp checks, etc.) ​

Approach to mitigate and contain the spread of the virus on campus (signage, spacing, masks, etc.)

Strategy on how Alvernia will coordinate with local public health officials and inform them if transmission occurs on campus

System to communicate accurate and timely information to students, faculty, staff, and our extended Alvernia community

The safety of our students, faculty, staff, Bernardine Sisters and the greater Alvernia community will be at the heart of each strategy we implement as it remains our number one priority during this time.

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 

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

 

Health Alerts