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.

 

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

 

How do I use the tabs below?

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 Information in previous updates may be outdated as time passes.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

Have questions?

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

Important Links


Latest Updates

October 15, 2021 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,

We write you today with a few updates and reminders:

  • Update on Vaccination Rates
    • 93% of full-time faculty and staff members are now vaccinated, with the final 7% undergoing regular COVID-19 testing.
    • 90% of our resident student population is fully vaccinated, with the other 10% currently undergoing regular testing.
    • 86% of day commuter students are compliant (vaccinated or will be receiving regular testing)
  • Day Commuter Students Testing begins next week: At this point, all Alvernia students, including adult, graduate and commuter students, are expected to be compliant with the Health and Wellness Requirements of the university, including providing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or proper submission of a COVID-19 exemption. Regular testing of unvaccinated day commuter students will begin next week. The Health and Wellness Center will contact students that fall into this category via email. Any questions about this process should be directed to Alvernia’s Health and Wellness Center (healthwellness@alvernia.edu or 610-568-1467).
  • Unvaccinated employees must submit to COVID-19 testing protocol Procedure Requirement: All faculty, staff and contracted employees who are unvaccinated for COVID-19 must participate in weekly testing. Please contact Human Resources (Mullin@alvernia.edu) with any questions or concerns. Failure to comply with this protocol is a violation of university guidelines and is subject to the employee progressive disciplinary process.

These guidelines and requirements are subject to change with changes in community spread and if federal or state recommendations change.

As we’ve done since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we will answer questions about the fall semester by posting announcements and updating FAQs on 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

September 24, 2021 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As we close out our first month together, we have some exciting data to share with you.

  • 85% of our resident student population is fully vaccinated, with the other 15% now undergoing regular testing.
  • 88% of all traditional day students are compliant.
  • 88% of full-time staff and 95% of full-time faculty are fully vaccinated 
  • The current case count sits at 3 and has been steadily declining since the start of the semester.

Thank you to all those who are taking the necessary steps to keep themselves and their fellow Alvernians safe. Here are some additional announcements and reminders:

  • ATTENTION GRADUATE, ADULT AND COMMUTER STUDENTS: All Alvernia students at all campuses, including adult, graduate and commuter students, are expected to complete the COVID-19 health and wellness requirement, including providing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or the proper submission of a COVID-19 exemption:
    • Submitting Proof of Vaccination: Students enrolled at all campuses for the Fall 2021 Semester or any 2021/22 mods must provide documentation (medical records or vaccine certification card) of vaccination ASAP, via an upload to the Student Health Portal. If you have only received one vaccine, please upload that proof now and upload the 2nd dose when you receive it.
    • Requesting an Exemption: 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. If the reason is medical, a medical form will be emailed to the student and must be completed by a health care provider. This form must then be uploaded to the Student Health Portal.
    • Consequences for Noncompliance: Those who have not completed the requirement through the student health portal are now in noncompliance. Failure to meet these requirements is considered a policy violation and can result in progressive disciplinary action through the Office of Community Standards, leading to holds on accounts and technology and up to potential dismissal from the university.
  • Employee Vaccination Procedure Requirement Reminder: If you have not done so already, please participate in the COVID survey via the ADP Mobile App. If you are having difficulty with this, please see any member of the HR Team for assistance. If you do not participate, you will be required to follow the process for unvaccinated employees, including masking while on campus and testing weekly. The weekly testing schedule and instructions will be out to those affected in the coming days. Testing will begin Wednesday, September 29th.
  • Vaccinated or Unvaccinated, Monitor Your Symptoms: Regardless of vaccination status, everyone should monitor their symptoms daily throughout the fall. Given the rapid spread of the Delta Variant, we see a national trend of fully vaccinated people who are testing positive for COVID-19. COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, muscle or body aches. Click here to see a complete list of COVID-19 symptoms and a self-checklist. Students experiencing symptoms should remain home and contact the Health and Wellness Center for necessary testing and counsel for any COVID-19 related illness. Employees with COVID-19 like symptoms should stay home, consult their physician for medical guidance, and report any positive COVID-19 test to Human Resources.
  • Get Vaccinated: The case for the vaccine is clear. A new CDC study shows a person is 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die if unvaccinated. In PA, 97% of COVID Deaths, 95% of Hospitalizations and 94% of Cases are among the unvaccinated, and those numbers are consistent nationally. COVID infections are 7.1 times higher among the unvaccinated and deaths 7.9 times higher. We are striving to be a completely vaccinated campus and encourage all students, faculty and staff to make plans to receive the vaccination as soon as possible. Have questions about the Vaccine and want to find out more information? Send an email to the Health and Wellness Center at HealthWellness@alvernia.edu. You are encouraged to view the Vaccine Finder to find a local provider.

These guidelines and requirements are subject to change with changes in community spread and if federal or state recommendations change.

As we’ve done since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we will answer questions about the fall semester by posting announcements and updating FAQs on 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

 

September 17, 2021 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As we close our third week of the semester, we wanted to share a few important announcements for your health and safety.

  • Employee Vaccination Procedure Requirement Reminder: If you have not done so already, please participate in the COVID survey via the ADP Mobile App. If you are having difficulty with this, please see any member of the HR Team for assistance. If you do not participate, you will be required to follow the process for unvaccinated employees, including masking while on campus and testing weekly. The weekly testing schedule and instructions will be out to those affected in the coming days. Testing will begin Wednesday, September 29th.
  • Vaccinated or Unvaccinated, Monitor Your Symptoms: Regardless of vaccination status, everyone should monitor their symptoms daily throughout the fall. Given the rapid spread of the Delta Variant, we see a national trend of fully vaccinated people who are testing positive for COVID-19. COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, muscle or body aches. Click here to see a complete list of COVID-19 symptoms and a self-checklist. Students experiencing symptoms should remain home and contact the Health and Wellness Center for necessary testing and counsel for any COVID-19 related illness. Employees with COVID-19 like symptoms should stay home, consult their physician for medical guidance, and report any positive COVID-19 test to Human Resources.
  • Get Vaccinated: The case for the vaccine is clear. A new CDC study shows a person is 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die if unvaccinated. In PA, 97% of COVID Deaths, 95% of Hospitalizations and 94% of Cases are among the unvaccinated, and those numbers are consistent nationally. COVID infections are 7.1 times higher among the unvaccinated and deaths 7.9 times higher. We are striving to be a completely vaccinated campus and encourage all students, faculty and staff to make plans to receive the vaccination as soon as possible. Have questions about the Vaccine and want to find out more information? Send an email to the Health and Wellness Center at HealthWellness@alvernia.edu. You are encouraged to view the Vaccine Finder to find a local provider.

These guidelines and requirements are subject to change with changes in community spread and if federal or state recommendations change.

As we’ve done since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we will answer questions about the fall semester by posting announcements and updating FAQs on 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

September 11, 2021 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,

As we close our second week of the semester, we wanted to share a few important announcements for your health and safety.

  • No Mask, No Ride: Please remember that masks are required when you get on an Alvernia shuttle or bus. You are expected to bring your own masks. Masks must be worn appropriately, covering the nose and mouth the entire time you are on the shuttle. Please be prepared and have a mask when getting on the shuttle. Beginning on Monday, September 13, if you do not have a mask, you will not be able to get on the shuttle. Friends, we have used over 1,000 masks on shuttles since the beginning of the semester. Please do your part to eliminate this problem.
  • Employee Vaccination Requirement Deadline Approaching: Please reference the emails on August 26 and September 4 from Executive Director of Human Resources, Allyson Mullin, for information regarding the vaccination process and procedures for Alvernia employees. Please submit your vaccination cards ASAP. Compliance with this process is expected by next Wednesday, September 15.
  • Vaccinated or Unvaccinated, Monitor Your Symptoms:Regardless of vaccination status, everyone should monitor their symptoms daily throughout the fall. COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, muscle or body aches. Click here to see a complete list ofCOVID-19 symptoms and a self-checklist. Students experiencing symptoms should remain home and contact the Health and Wellness Center for necessary testing and counsel for any COVID-19 related illness. Employees with COVID-19 like symptoms should stay home, consult their physician for medical guidance, and report any positive COVID-19 test to Human Resources.
  • Submit Your COVID-19 Health Requirement ASAP: All Alvernia students at all campuses are expected to complete the COVID-19 health and wellness requirement, including providing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or the proper submission of a COVID-19 exemption. Those who have not completed the requirement through the student health portal are now in noncompliance and are being contacted by our Health and Wellness Center staff. Failure to meet these requirements is considered a policy violation and can result in progressive disciplinary action through the Office of Community Standards.
  • Get Vaccinated: On August 23, the FDA fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for anyone over 16. Alvernia strongly encourages all students, faculty and staff to make plans to receive the vaccination as soon as possible. Have questions about the Vaccine and want to find out more information? Send an email to the Health and Wellness Center at HealthWellness@alvernia.edu. You are encouraged to view the Vaccine Finder to find a local provider.

These guidelines and requirements are subject to change with changes in community spread and if federal or state recommendations change.

As we’ve done since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we will answer questions about the fall semester by posting announcements and updating FAQs on 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

 

September 3, 2021 | COVID-19 Update

Dear Alvernia University Community,

We hope you enjoyed a wonderful first week on our campuses for the fall 2021 semester. Nothing is better than seeing you all together on our campuses. Here are a few reminders to help keep yourself and your fellow Alvernians safe and healthy throughout our semester together.

  • Get Vaccinated: We are happy to share that 86% of our full-time undergraduate students who have completed the COVID-19 requirement have been fully vaccinated. 13% of the full-time undergraduate students have not yet completed the requirement so we will continue to update you on the vaccination rate of the campus. Now is the time to get vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines in the United States are now available to anyone over 12, and many pharmacies and providers offer walk-in appointments for COVID-19 vaccines. On August 23, the FDA fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for anyone over 16. Alvernia strongly encourages all students, faculty and staff to make plans to receive the vaccination as soon as possible. Have questions about the Vaccine and want to find out more information? Send an email to the Health and Wellness Center at HealthWellness@alvernia.edu. You are encouraged to view the Vaccine Finder to find a local provider.
  • Are you compliant?: All Alvernia students at all campuses are expected to complete the COVID-19 health and wellness requirement, including providing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or the proper submission of a COVID-19 exemption. Those who have not completed the requirement through the student health portal are now in noncompliance. Failure to meet these requirements is considered a policy violation and can result in progressive disciplinary action through the Office of Community Standards.
  • Continue to monitor your symptoms:Regardless of vaccination status, everyone should monitor their symptoms daily throughout the fall. COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, muscle or body aches. Click here to see a complete list of COVID-19 symptoms and a self-checker. Students experiencing symptoms should remain home and contact the Health and Wellness Center for necessary testing and counsel for any COVID-19 related illness. Employees with COVID-19 like symptoms should stay home, consult their physician for medical guidance, and report any positive COVID-19 test to Human Resources.
  • Employee Vaccination Reminder: Please reference the email on August 26 from Executive Director of Human Resources, Allyson Mullin, for information regarding the vaccination process and procedures for Alvernia employees. Please submit your vaccination cards ASAP. Compliance with this process is expected by September 15.
  • COVID-19 Dashboard: The COVID-19 dashboard will be updated weekly. You can find the dashboard here.

These guidelines and requirements are subject to change with changes in community spread and if federal or state recommendations change.

As we’ve done since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we will answer questions about the fall semester by posting announcements and updating FAQs on 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

 

August 16, 2021 | Return to Campus Fall 2021 and COVID-19 FAQs

Dear Alvernia University Community,
 

We are pleased to welcome our community back to a safe and active campus environment this fall. From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of the entire Alvernia community has been at the forefront of our decision-making process related to safety protocols. The university and the Pandemic Response Team has worked continuously to consult with government (local, state and national) and industry-specific (American College Health Association) health and education organizations to develop policies, procedures and guidelines that protect the health of students, faculty, staff and the communities in which we reside.
 

As we prepare for the fall semester, here are a few important updates and reminders:
 

Updated Mask Guidance

The following guidance on masking could change throughout the semester due to changing campus, local, regional and national conditions.

Fully vaccinated individuals: For fully vaccinated individuals, face masks are not required for outdoor activities. Face masks are recommended (but not required) for indoor classes and other activities. However, there are exceptions to this recommendation:

Masks will be required for certain situations including, but not limited to: when entering the Health and Wellness Center, Athletic Training rooms, other healthcare settings, in large indoor events, or when utilizing university buses and shuttles.

The locations/situations where a mask will be required to enter/attend will be clearly marked and communicated.

In addition, faculty, coaches and meeting/event leaders may require masks at their discretion in their classroom or event/meeting

Everyone is expected to continue to carry masks in case they are needed.

Unvaccinated individuals: Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear a face mask at all times while on campus outside of individual residence hall rooms. Consistent with state guidance, enforcement of vaccine compliance is a personal responsibility.


Student Vaccine Requirement and Exemption Information

Alvernia expects to be a vaccinated campus by the start of the Fall 2021 semester. Students enrolled at all campuses for the Fall 2021 Semester must provide documentation (medical records or vaccine certification card) of vaccination ASAP, via an upload to the Student Health Portal. We will continue to accept documents via the portal, but please submit ASAP. If you have only received one vaccine, please upload that proof now and upload the 2nd dose when you receive it.
 

As with all required vaccinations, Alvernia allows requests for medical, religious, or philosophical exemptions. 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. If the reason is medical, a medical form will be emailed to the student and must be completed by a health care provider. This form must then be uploaded to the student Health Portal.


New FAQS now available below

The Pandemic Response Team has updated and added a number of new FAQs for the upcoming semester. These FAQs are very important to the health and safety of the community, so please take the time to read them.

We will continue to rely on the expertise and guidance of our public health officials to ensure a safe Fall 2021 semester and deliver the experience our students desire and deserve.
 

We will answer questions about the fall semester and COVID-19 vaccine requirement by posting announcements and updating FAQs on 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

 


FAQs

Will students be required to be vaccinated for the Fall 2021 semester?

Alvernia expects to be a vaccinated campus by the start of the Fall 2021 semester.

Students enrolled at all campuses for the Fall 2021 Semester must provide documentation (medical records or vaccine certification card) of vaccination by August 1, 2021, via an upload to the Student Health Portal. We will continue to accept documents via the portal, but please submit ASAP. If you have only received one vaccine, please upload that proof now and upload the second dose when you receive it.

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 authorized by the FDA or WHO will be considered suitable to fulfill the university's requirement.

Students, faculty and staff who haven't received their vaccines are encouraged to do so via their local providers, which can be found here.

How do I sign up for a vaccine?

As a reminder, COVID-19 vaccines in the United States are now available to anyone over 12, and many pharmacies and providers offer walk-in appointments for COVID-19 vaccines. Alvernia strongly encourages 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. You are encouraged to view the Vaccine Finder to find a local provider.

If you prefer to get your COVID vaccine on campus we are working with Penn State Health to provide a vaccine clinic on campus during the first week of classes. Please watch for an email from Health and Wellness with the announced time.

Can I request an exemption from the vaccine requirement?

As with all required vaccinations, Alvernia allows requests for medical, religious, or philosophical exemptions. 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. If the reason is medical, a medical form will be emailed to the student and must be completed by a health care provider. This form must then be uploaded to the Student Health Portal.

What will the semester look like for vaccinated students?

Vaccinated individuals will have as close to a normal college experience as is possible.

Masking is not required when outdoors, however it is recommended that vaccinated students wear a mask indoors at this time. For more information, please see the masking FAQ below.

Vaccinated student-athletes will not be subject to arrival testing or weekly testing unless symptomatic or on a team with sustained increased transmission.

What will the semester look like for unvaccinated students?

Students requesting an exemption from the COVID vaccine will have an experience similar to last year regarding restrictions, quarantine and testing.

  • Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear a face mask at all times while on campus outside of individual residence hall rooms. Consistent with state guidance, enforcement of vaccine compliance is a personal responsibility.
  • A pre-arrival negative test for unvaccinated residential students and student-athletes (within three days before arrival on campus for antigen test or 5 days before arrival on campus for PCR) must be uploaded to the Student Health Portal in order to receive keys.
  • Student-athletes will need one PCR test or two rapid antigen tests at least two days apart upon arrival in order to participate in practices. One pre-arrival test, taken not more than 5 days before arrival, may be uploaded to the Student Health Portal. A second antigen test will be administered by Health & Wellness upon arrival. Student-athletes who do not come to check-in with a negative test will be tested upon arrival and again 2 days later before training and/or competition can begin. 
  • During their season (traditional & non-traditional), student-athletes will be subject to weekly PCR and/or antigen testing to be eligible for training & competition. Athletes who miss weekly testing will not be able to participate until the result of the next week's test comes back negative. 
  • Unvaccinated students are encouraged to self-quarantine at home for two weeks prior to arrival.
  • If exposed to a person with COVID, the unvaccinated student will be required to quarantine for 10 days.
  • Serial testing of unvaccinated individuals is planned throughout the semester, with frequency determined by the level of community spread and public health recommendations.
  • Since healthcare and other worksites may require COVID vaccination, the educational experience of unvaccinated students may be impacted.
Are face masks required on campus?

The following guidance on masking could change throughout the semester due to changing campus, local, regional and national conditions:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals: For fully vaccinated individuals, face masks are not required for outdoor activities. Face masks are recommended (but not required) for indoor classes and other activities. However there are exceptions to this recommendation:
    • Masks will be required for certain situations including, but not limited to: when entering the Health and Wellness Center, Athletic Training rooms, other healthcare settings, in large indoor events, or when utilizing university buses and shuttles.
    • The locations/situations where a mask will be required to enter/attend will be clearly marked and communicated.
    • In addition, faculty, coaches and meeting/event leaders can make classroom and event/meeting decisions based on individual needs regarding masks.
    • Everyone is expected to continue to carry masks in case they are needed.
  • Unvaccinated individuals: Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear a face mask at all times while on campus outside of individual residence hall rooms. Consistent with state guidance, enforcement of vaccine compliance is a personal responsibility. Consistent with state guidance, enforcement of vaccine compliance is a personal responsibility.

 

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.

Do I have to submit my COVID vaccine or meet the requirement if I am an online student who is never on campus?

Students who will not ever be attending classes on campus in person (or at an internship or clinical site) or using campus resources in person do not have to submit record of a COVID vaccination.

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

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 be updated weekly during the semester.

Will the university be utilizing the #CampusClear app during the Fall 2021 semester?

Alvernia will not be using the #CampusClear daily reporting app for Fall 2021. Everyone should continue to monitor their symptoms daily throughout the fall. Students 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.

What is Alvernia's COVID-19 testing plan for the Fall 2021 semester?

Alvernia will be utilizing two types of testing methods this year. The first, the Abbott Binax Now, is an antigen test. This type of method only tests for COVID. The university has separate tests for flu. The second method is the Abbott ID Now molecular PCR. Both testing methods are not on the FDA's list for recalls.

As in the Spring 2021 semester, Alvernia is again partnering with GENETWORx to help conduct COVID-19 testing.

Here are the new testing guidelines for the Fall 2021 semester: 

  • Resident Students: 
    • Pre-Arrival TestingAll unvaccinated resident students are required to complete a pre-arrival COVID-19 test within three days before arrival on campus for antigen test or 5 days before arrival on campus for PCR. Test results must be uploaded to the Student Health Portal in order to receive keys. This includes residential students who have not yet completed their vaccine series (2 weeks past 2nd dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of Janssen/J&J vaccine). Following the pre-arrival test, it is vital to make sure students continue to self-quarantine up to move-in day. Vaccinated students are not required to submit a pre-arrival COVID-19 test.
  • Student-athletes will need one PCR test or two rapid antigen tests at least two days apart upon arrival in order to participate in practices. One pre-arrival test, taken not more than 3 days before arrival, may be uploaded to the Student Health Portal. A second antigen test will be administered by Health & Wellness upon arrival. Student-athletes who do not come to check-in with a negative test will be tested upon arrival and again 2 days later before training and/or competition can begin. 
  • In-Semester Surveillance Testing:  Alvernia University will conduct asymptomatic testing of a sampling of the unvaccinated Alvernia student population. 
    • In accordance with NCAA guidelines, student-athletes will be subject to weekly PCR and/or antigen testing to be eligible for training & competition. Athletes who miss weekly testing will not be able to participate (practice or competition) until the result of the next week's test comes back negative. 
  • Philadelphia and Schuylkill Campuses: The university will offer optional testing to students taking classes at the Philadelphia and Schuylkill Campuses. 
  • As during the 2020-21 academic year, Alvernia has secured rapid point of care, on-campus testing capabilities and is also partnering with local hospitals to test symptomatic students and those identified through contact tracing for COVID-19, as indicated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines.   
What is the difference between quarantine and isolation, and how does it apply to both vaccinated and unvaccinated community members?

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

Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others and helps prevent the 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: 

  • Unvaccinated individuals: Since symptoms typically develop between 2 to 10 days after exposure, all unvaccinated 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 10 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 may quarantine in spaces identified by the University or may go home if safe to do so. 
    • 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, symptoms of COVID-19 may or may not develop. 
    • 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 Allyson Mullin (Mullin@alvernia.edu). 
  • Vaccinated individuals: Fully vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine following an exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 unless they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Exposed vaccinated individuals should get COVID tested 3-5 days after the exposure. Individuals are expected to monitor their symptoms for 14 days after exposure and should wear a mask indoors after an exposure until test is negative. If unsure, students should contact the Health and Wellness Center for guidance and employees should consult their primary care provider and alert Human Resources (Mullin@alvernia.edu).

Isolation: 

  • Unvaccinated individuals: Unvaccinated 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 need to discuss next steps with the Health and Wellness Center or the primary care provider before clearance to return to classes/activities/work is given.
    • Faculty and staff should isolate themselves at home. Students living on campus will stay in a campus-provided isolation space. Individuals cannot 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 at least 10 days after their symptoms first appeared, as long as the individual is without a fever for at 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, a healthcare provider may recommend that they stay in isolation for longer than 10 days after 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 self-isolate at home, and report their positive status to their supervisor and Allyson Mullin (Allyson.Mullin@alvernia.edu), so their unit can begin the contact tracing process. 
  • Vaccinated Individuals: Vaccinated individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should follow the same steps as unvaccinated individuals to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Are there penalties for students, faculty and staff who do not follow the health guidance related to working, leaving and being on campus?

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.

All Alvernia University employees are expected to follow all guidelines and recommendations to support a safe and respectful workplace. Non-compliance will be subject to the employee progressive disciplinary processes as necessary. As a Franciscan community, the university's expectation is full cooperation from all faculty and staff members.

What if there is a virus flare on campus during the semester? Will Alvernia change campus operations?

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 the 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. 

During the 2020-21 academic year, Alvernia was able to successfully complete two in-person semesters thanks to the community's adherence of campus operation changes during times of increased COVID-19 cases on campus. The university is prepared to take these necessary steps again to ensure the health of the entire community.

Has Alvernia placed any restrictions on travel for the upcoming academic year?

Alvernia has started to allow university-sponsored travel for the Fall 2021 semester.

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. 

Are there any restrictions for internship or clinical sites for the 2021-22 academic year?

Departments requiring community-based placements (i.e., nursing clinical, student teaching, internships) will ensure that sites adhere to safety, health and physical 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.

It is important to note that since healthcare and other worksites may require COVID vaccination, the educational experience of unvaccinated students may be impacted.

What is Alvernia doing regarding residential dining options for students, faculty and staff?

To-go options are available at Freshens (PLEX), Courtside Café (PEC) and Kestrel Café (Bernardine Hall).

In addition, students may purchase a reusable to-go container from the dining hall to use for to-go meals.

Will there be a way for students to anonymously report non-compliance of health and safety guidelines?

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 will residence life and student activities look like this year?

Alvernia looks forward to student residency during the 2021-2022 academic year. With the vaccine requirement in place and surveillance testing of unvaccinated students, we anticipate the residential experience to be similar to those of previous years. However, to continue protecting our residential community the visitation policy will be amended to the following:

  • Non-Alvernia visitors are NOT permitted in the residence halls.
  • Alvernia students may visit each other in their respective residence halls and rooms, as stated in the visitation policy in the residence life section of the student handbook. Reminder: the right to privacy and safety supersedes the right to have visitors. Roommates should discuss their expectations regarding visitors in their room while completing a roommate agreement form.
What will athletics look like during the fall 2021 semester?

The Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) and Alvernia University have consistently endeavored to provide a path forward towards competition in all sports. For the fall 2021 semester, Alvernia will be following the NCAA's guidelines for resocialization for collegiate sports. If student athletes have questions about their specific sport, including testing requirements, they should contact their coach.

What are the expectations for campus visitors?

Alvernia has established expectations for all campus visitors (including guest speakers) as well as for employees who invite visitors to campus.  

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 form with a campus contact before entering any campus facility. This is expected of visitors each time they come to campus. 
  • Visitors must follow the university's current masking guidelines.
  • 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.

Employee Expectations 

Prior To Arrival

  • Employees should send a copy of the Visitor Expectations (listed above) to their guests before their arrival on campus. 
  • Employees should encourage their visitors to complete the Alvernia Visitor COVID-19 Daily Self Checklist before their arrival on campus. 

Upon Arrival

Will the university operate its usual shuttle services and how can I know where the shuttle is?

For the Fall 2021 semester, campus shuttles shall operate. All riders must wear masks while on 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 com/Alverniaand register with an Alvernia email address. 
  • Check the email for a registration link and click it.
  • Enter a name, choose a password and enter a phone number.
  • Enter the times they want to receive notifications (students should pick the times they 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.
Are outside groups able to utilize campus spaces for public events (conferences, lectures, etc.) while students are on campus?

Requests will be individually reviewed and considered continuously. Outside groups may submit their requests by emailing Jessica Miller at Jessica.Miller2@alvernia.edu.  In person events may be cancelled due to conditions either on campus or in the larger community. 

How will students, parents and community members learn about university updates regarding COVID-19?

All relevant information, including updates, FAQs and further resources, will remain available on this page. The university recommends bookmarking this pages and revisiting often.  

As with last year, the university plans to send weekly updates on Fridays.

The university will continue to provide updates via the university's email system. Parents are encouraged to sign up for Alvernia's new Parent communication platform, Campus ESP.

The university will share information via its social media outlets, including Facebook,Twitter and Instagram. 

The Provost holds Q&A meetings for faculty as needed. 

For any emergency communication, Alvernia will utilize the Omnilert email and text message system. The Alvernia community can register for that systemhere.

What is the best way to inquire for more information or clarification?

The university understands that many have questions about the return to campus and the university's plans. The best method to voice those questions is by sending an email to Campus.Update@Alvernia.edu.

Due to the ongoing large number of inquiries, most questions will be answered in the form of new and updated FAQs and updated letters that can be found on this page.

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

 

Previous Updates

 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Dear Alvernia Community, 

We hope you all are enjoying a wonderful, safe and healthy summer. As we prepare for the return of our students and the Fall 2021 semester, we have a few important details to share regarding campus operations for Alvernia’s students, faculty and staff: 

Alvernia University Vaccine Requirement for 2021-22 Academic Year 

As we stated in our last message on May 24, Alvernia expects to be a vaccinated campus by the start of the Fall 2021 semester. Thanks to all who have let us know that they have been vaccinated. Vaccinated individuals will have as close to a normal college experience as is possible. Face masks and physical distancing will not be required indoors or outdoors for fully vaccinated individuals except for certain situations including when entering the Health and Wellness Center, Athletic Training rooms, other healthcare settings and university buses and shuttles. 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. 

ACTION REQUIRED: Students enrolled at all campuses for the Fall 2021 Semester must provide documentation (medical records or vaccine certification card) of vaccination by August 1, 2021, via an upload to the Student Health Portal

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 authorized by the FDA or WHO will be considered suitable to fulfill the University’s requirement. 

Students, faculty and staff who haven’t received their vaccines are encouraged to do so via their local providers, which can be found here.

Exemptions: As with all required vaccinations, Alvernia allows requests for medical, religious, or philosophical exemptions. 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. If the reason is medical, a medical form will be emailed to the student and must be completed by a health care provider. This form must then be uploaded to the Student Health Portal

  • Students requesting an exemption from the COVID vaccine will have an experience similar to last year regarding restrictions, quarantine and testing. 
  • Unvaccinated students are expected to wear masks when indoors (may remove when in own personal living space (residence hall room). Consistent with state guidance, enforcement of vaccine compliance is a personal responsibility. 
  • A pre-arrival negative test for residential students and student-athletes (within three days before arrival on campus) must be uploaded to the Student Health Portal in order to receive keys and/or participate in practices. Encouraged to self-quarantine at home for two weeks prior to arrival. 
  • If exposed to a person with COVID, the student will be required to quarantine for 10 days.
  • Serial testing of unvaccinated individuals is planned throughout the semester, with frequency to be determined by the level of community spread and public health recommendations. 
  • Since healthcare and other worksites may require COVID vaccination, the educational experience of unvaccinated students may be impacted. 

It is important to note that these guidelines and requirements are subject to change with changes in community spread and if federal or state recommendations change. More information on the fall semester, including updated Return to the Vern Fall 2021 FAQs, will be communicated in the near future. 

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 announcements and updating FAQs on 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 

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 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 authorized 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, religious or philosophical 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 

Health Alerts