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 Return to 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, surveillance testing and testing or 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 at some time in the future. 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.

 

These are just a few highlights, and these plans are outlined with greater detail in the updated FAQS below.

 

For the latest updates regarding COVID-19 and our return to campus, please bookmark and frequently visit this page and 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.

 

Check back regularly for the latest information and updates... and welcome Back To the Vern!

Important Links

 


Community Health and Safety Considerations

Are there any health and wellness requirements for students to return to campus for the spring semester? (ADDED 1.20.21)

Log in to the Student Health Portal and click on "My Forms" to complete the Alvernia COVID-19 Return to Campus Form. This form is required for all returning and new students for the Spring 2021 semester. Some answers may require documentation uploads and provide additional COVID-19 testing instructions, so please complete this form at least one week prior to arrival. 

  • See pre-arrival testing requirements for students returning to campus from outside of the state of Pennsylvania in the "testing plans for spring 2021" FAQ below. Failure to complete this requirement may delay instruction and athletics and other student activities participation. 
  • Resident students and student-athletes will also be tested upon arrival. Please see the instructions for installing the Navica app in the "testing plans for spring 2021" FAQ below. 
  • All resident students and athletes are required to have proof of the current flu shot on file. 
What is Alvernia's COVID-19 testing plan for the spring 2021 semester? (ADDED 1.20.21) 

To keep the community safe, Alvernia has some new testing guidelines for the spring 2021 semester: 

  • Resident Students:
    • Pre-Arrival Testing: In compliance with the latest COVID-19 guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, ALL resident students who are coming back to campus from outside of the state of Pennsylvania are required to complete a PCR COVID-19 diagnostic test (click here to read about the different type of tests)  before arriving back in Pennsylvania. The tests should be completed within seven days of arrival on campus. Students will be asked to provide proof of a negative test upon arrival. If the student's PCR COVID-19 test results are pending upon arrival, they will be asked to quarantine in their room until the pre-arrival test results are received. Following the pre-arrival test, it is vital to make sure students continue to self-quarantine up to move-in day. 
    • Arrival Testing: In addition, to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 on campus, ALL resident students will be administered a rapid antigen diagnostic test as part of their move-in process. Students will need to add the Navica appto a smartphone before testing on the move-in day to receive their test results digitally. The student will be required to show these results to continue through the return to campus check-in process. 
    • These instructions were sent to all resident students via university email and parents through CampusESP during the week of Jan. 11.   
  • Commuter Out of State Students:
    • Pre-Arrival Testing: In compliance with the latest COVID-19 guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, ALL students who are taking classes on-ground and living off-campus and are from outside of the state of Pennsylvania are required to complete a PCR COVID-19 diagnostic test (click here to read about the different type of tests)  before arriving back in Pennsylvania. The tests should be completed within the seven days before arrival on campus for classes beginning Feb. 1. 
  • In-Semester Surveillance Testing: New for the Spring 2021 semester, Alvernia University has partnered with a testing vendor to conduct asymptomatic testing of a sampling of the Alvernia student population. Every week, roughly 10% of Alvernia students will be tested through this process.
  • Philadelphia and Schuylkill Centers: Using the same vendor, the university will soon offer optional testing to students taking classes at the Philadelphia and Schuylkill Centers. More information on how to receive this test will be available in the near future. 

As in the Fall, 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 NAVICA app, and how will Alvernia be using it during the spring 2021 semester? (ADDED 1.20.21)

The NAVICA app is a mobile app that works like a secure mobile boarding pass, which can be scanned to facilitate easier entry into organizations and facilities. NAVICA works hands in hand with Alvernia's BinaxNOW rapid antigen testing capabilities. These rapid antigen tests will be administered to residential students and student-athletes as part of their check-in process for the spring 2021 semester. Here are some essential things to know: 

  • How does the app work?
    • When students getan Abbott's BinaxNOW test at a NAVICA-enabled test center, like Alvernia, the results can be displayed on the NAVICA app. These results are encrypted and available only to the student and those they choose to share them with.
    • If a student tests negative, the App will display a temporary encrypted digital pass with a QR code, similar to an airline boarding pass. The pass will be renewed each time a person takes a new test and receives a negative test result and will include the date of the latest test result. Alvernia will view and verify the information on a mobile device to facilitate entry into the campus. If a student test positive, they will receive a message in the app to quarantine and contact the Health and Wellness Center.
  • Where can the App be downloaded?
    • The NAVICA app can be downloaded for no charge in the U.S. from the App Store [Apple devices] and the Google Play Store [Android devices]. After downloading the app, just enter some basic information. The whole process takes about two minutes.
  • How is Abbott Protecting the Security of Personal Information in the App?
    • Maintaining customers' privacy is always a priority for Abbott. When it comes to the NAVICA app, the data transmitted are encrypted. And users only share their first and last name, email address, phone number, zip code, and date of birth, limiting the sensitive identifying data being shared in the first place. Additionally, the app isn't used for contact tracing, so personal location information is not being tracked or shared.

What is Alvernia's plan for COVID-19 vaccination administration during the spring 2021 semester? (ADDED 1.20.21)

Alvernia University has been approved as a COVID-19 vaccination site. At this time, the university has not received any vaccinations to administer, and a timeline as to when the vaccines will arrive via the Pennsylvania Department of Health is unclear. When vaccinations are received, the university will announce this via a campus update. 

The university will follow the guidelines set forth by the Pennsylvania Department of Health in vaccine administration and will follow the phasing structure (Phase 1A, Phase 1B, Phase 1C and Phase 2). More information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine in Pennsylvania is available here.

The university encourages faculty and staff to sign up for vaccinations to minimize COVID-19 cases on the campuses this semester. Until the university can vaccinate on-site, a list of vaccination locations is available here. Please note the availability and information on this page is frequently changing, so check back often. Faculty and staff should review this valuable information and plan for vaccination as soon as it is appropriate to do so. They should also contact their primary care provider as necessary to discuss any concerns.

If I receive the vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing? (ADDED 1.20.21)

Yes. Per the CDC: 

"Not enough information is currently available to say if or when CDC will stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide in real-world conditions before making that decision. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision. We also don't yet know whether getting a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people, even if you don't get sick yourself. CDC will continue to update this page as we learn more."

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, please click here.

How can Alvernia students, faculty and staff participate in keeping the campus safe? (UPDATED 1.20.2021)

Alvernia students, faculty, and staff have created a community where we take care of one another. The Spring 2021 semester will be no different in that respect. The success of returning to campus will be largely dependent on the campus community taking personal actions to protect themselves and others on campus. With that in mind, all Alvernia students, faculty and staff returning to campus are expected to adhere to the following guidelines: 

  1. Practice physical distancing of at least six feet while on campus and off-campus; 
  2. Wear face masks everywhere on the campuses, including classrooms, labs, offices and other public spaces as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)and the Pennsylvania Department of Health; 
  3. Maintain high sanitation levels, including frequent hand washing (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; 
  4. Self-monitor daily for COVID-19 symptoms on the #CampusClear app and follow the prompts on the app to contact the appropriate parties; 
  5. Remain home if feeling ill or after exposure to someone who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19; 
  6. Sanitize high-touch surfaces (desks, tables, doorknobs, etc.) and common spaces by utilizing the  provided wipes and sprays 
  7. Avoid in-person meetings when possible by utilizing university technology, including Microsoft Teams and ZOOM. 

This information is summarized in the Alvernia Wellness Compact. Every member of the Alvernia community will be asked to review the wellness compact and adhere to its guidance throughout the spring semester. 

What is the Alvernia Wellness Compact? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

The Alvernia University Wellness Compactis 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. 

Do we need to wear masks and maintain physical distancing when we return to campus for the spring semester? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

Yes. In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and current Pennsylvania public health guidelines, wearing face masks and adhering to physical distancing practices, including maintaining six feet of physical distance from another person, are critical components in helping to support the health and safety of the entire campus community. Students, employees and any approved visitors are required to practice physical distancing and wear face masks in classrooms, labs, offices, dining and retail facilities, public spaces, and while walking and traveling by car with others on Alvernia campuses. 

I've heard Alvernia is using #CampusClear Appbut how do I download the app and make it part of my daily routine? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

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 seven days a week for daily self-symptom screening.  
  
What does the #CampusClear app do?

  • Enables students and employees to daily self-report symptoms or COVID-19 infection 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.

#CampusClear Download and Account Set Up

  • Search "Campus Clear" within the Apple AppStore 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 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. 

 
What steps should I follow daily?

  • Everyone must complete the steps in the app every day, even if they do not intend to come to campus. Please allow notifications on the app. Users will receive a text notification or email every weekday morning at 7:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. 
  • Perform a temperature check with a thermometer(remember the result) and then open the app.  
  • Users should click the button for any symptoms they have or indicate if they are symptom-free. 
  • Follow the guidance provided by the app. The app will instruct the user if they are clear to come onto campus or not. 
  • Students and employees must self-screen via the app every day. 

Passes and Instructions  

  • If users receive a screen (screen color will change daily) with a smiley face…  
    • They are cleared to be on campus to attend classes, work, and other activities. Please follow physical distancing guidelines, wear a mask and enjoy campus responsibly.  
  • If users receive a red screen 
    • Do not come to campus. Avoid contact with others.  
    • Students
      • Contact faculty to let them know of the need to be absent.
      • Must call the Health and Wellness Center (610-568-1467) before 4:30 p.m. or send a secure message via the Student Health Portal if after hours. Following the discussion with Health and Wellness:
        • Health and Wellness can schedule students for on-campus testing if warranted.
        • Health and Wellness will provide a secure message to the student to clear the student for return to campus or verify the student's absence. 
        • Students may choose to be seen at an off-campus provider but should still contact Health and Wellness to update the staff and receive the proper secure message regarding the absence. 
        • Students should follow-up with faculty after communicating with Health and Wellness to provide a copy of the secure message from the student's Health Portal indicating the student is cleared to return to class or the need for the student to isolate or quarantine.
  • Employees should contact their primary care provider and supervisor. If the stop sign (red screen) is due to testing positive or due to contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID, the employee should contact their primary care provider, supervisor, and Human Resources (leslie.kane@alvernia.edu). Employees are expected to follow the guidance of their PCP and contact tracers if indicated. 

  
If users don't have access to a smartphone or other mobile device...  
Users can provide a daily screening via a desktop or laptop computerhere. Please print out their results and carry them throughout the day.  
  
#CampusClear Helpful Tips

  • Users will never have to select or remember a password to use the app. 
  • Users will remain logged into the app until they logout, even after closing the app. 
  • User results for the day will display every time they open the app, until the next day when they are prompted to complete the question again. It is okay to close the app between completing the symptom check andpresenting results on campus. 
  • If users make a mistake and need to re-enter the results for the day, they must log out of the app and back in. 
  • Every time users log out of the app and attempt to log back in, they will be asked to verify their identity through the email confirmation. 

#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. 

What should I do if I am a student and not cleared through #CampusClear to come to class? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

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.), the student must: 

  • Contact faculty to let them know of the need to be absent.
  • Contact Health and Wellness to discuss symptoms. Upon completion of the discussion: 
    • Health and Wellness can schedule students for on-campus testing if warranted.
    • Health and Wellness will provide a secure message to the student to clear the student for return to campus or verify the student's absence. 
    • Students may choose to be seen at an off-campus provider but should still contact Health and Wellness to update the staff and receive the proper secure message regarding the absence. 
    • Follow-up with faculty after communicating with Health and Wellness to provide a copy of the secure message from the student's Health Portal indicating the student is cleared to return to class or the need for the student to isolate or quarantine.

Has Alvernia established a COVID-19 Dashboard for tracking COVID-19 cases in the campus community? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

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 be updated Monday through Friday during the spring semester. 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. 

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

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:

  • 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. The University has reviewed the CDC options to reduce quarantine and has determined it is safest to maintain the 14-day quarantine in a college environment.  
  • 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 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, theyneed to discuss next steps with the Health and Wellness Center or the primary care provider before clearance is given.  
  • Faculty and staff should isolate themselves at home. Students living on campus will stay in a 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 othersat 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 Leslie Kane (Leslie.Kane@alvernia.edu), so their unit can begin the contact tracing process. 

 

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.

What is Alvernia's contact tracing plan? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

To support the university community's health and well-being and limit COVID-19 spread and transmission, Alvernia has implemented a contact tracing process in coordination with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The contact tracing processfocuses 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: 

  1. Alvernia's required use of the #CampusClear self-screening helps users identify symptoms and alert them to stay home and students to call Health and Wellness and employees to contact their PCP and supervisor. 
  2. Health and Wellness Center staff will initiate contact with positive or presumed positive students. Human Resources will initiate contact with employees. 
  3. Faculty may be contacted for current and up-to-date attendance and other pertinent information. Health and Wellness Center staff members and Human Resourceswill communicate with faculty, staff and students identified as close contacts about quarantine expectations and offer support and guidance. 
  4. The Health and Wellness Center and/or Sports Medicine staff will reach out regularly, or on an as-needed basis, to students in isolation or quarantine to provide support and follow up 

How will I be contacted if I am identified during the contact tracing process? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

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 Human Resources will reach out to employees) identified as close contacts to gain additional information and provide directions and health precautions. As part of the University's partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, a case manager from the state will also reach out to Alvernia students and employees 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 over 24 hours, starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick (or when they test positive, if asymptomatic) until the time the patient was isolated.

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? (ADDED 9.22.20)

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.

Will masks be provided to the Alvernia community? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

The university purchased 3,000 Alvernia branded masks that were distributed to the students and employees during the first few days of the fall 2020 semester. In addition, Alvernia purchased 1,000 non branded cloth masks and 20,000 disposable masks for use by Alvernia students, faculty and staff during the 2020-21 academic year.

Will students, faculty and staff be required to take their temperature every day? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

As part of ongoing mitigation efforts, all students, faculty and staff will also be asked to complete self-monitoring, including taking their temperature with a thermometer and screening 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 certain lab activities.

What will happen if/when a student, faculty or staff member tests positive for COVID-19? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

If there is a confirmed case on campus, the Pennsylvania Department of Health will be notified. Together with the University and county resources, the Department of Health will begin contact tracing to determine others at risk of exposure.

For the vast majority of the Alvernia population, home isolation is the recommended option. An isolation strategy has been put in place utilizing campus facilities for those who can't return home. At this point, Alvernia has reserved 5% of available residential rooms for use in the isolation strategy. Students should review the Isolation Ready Kit Fact Sheet now to prepare themselves for a potential isolation situation. 

Employees will work with their supervisor to determine if sick time or remote work is appropriate while in isolation. The employee can return to work in person once cleared to return by a medical provider or has met the CDC standard for return to work. 

Are there penalties for faculty, staff and students who do not follow health guidance related to working, living 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 partnerships/protocols are in place with local health departments and hospitals?

Alvernia's Reading campus is partnering with two local hospitals, Penn State Health St. Joseph and Tower Health Reading Hospital, and the Southeast District office of the Pennsylvania Department of Health to assist in providing care, follow up and case management as needed. The university has also developed partnerships with the Montgomery County Bureau of the Department of Health (Philadelphia) and the Schuylkill County Health Center (Schuylkill) for students at the Philadelphia and Schuylkill campuses.

Alvernia will continue to develop these partnerships to address needs as they arise.

What if there is a virus flare on campus during the semester? Will Alvernia close the campuses and return to remote learning? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

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.  

Has Alvernia placed any restrictions on travel? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

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 advisoryand advises 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 to travel internationally must quarantine for 14 days 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 prior to arrival into Pennsylvania or quarantine for 10 days.  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 Jan. 31, 2021, and they can return to classes or work on Feb. 1. 

What are the protocols for the university to maintain and sanitize all buildings? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

In following CDC guidelines, high-touch and high-traffic campus areas will be sanitized daily. These areas will also have hand sanitizer stations, disinfecting wipes and spray disinfectants to be used frequently throughout the day by those individuals overseeing the area.  

Restroom checks will be completed multiple times daily for cleanliness and supply needs. Hand sanitizer stations will be added to all restrooms.  

Sanitizer stations are located at the entrance of all campus buildings, as well as common areas and high traffic areas. 

Sanitizing wipes are available in all classrooms, labs, studios, etc. Students, faculty, and staff should wipe desks, keyboards and computer mouse devices before using them. 

The university had invested in Halo and Curis Disinfection Systems for campus-wide use. 

Can you describe the measures Alvernia is taking with local communities to prevent the spread of the virus?

Education and social responsibility are at the forefront of Alvernia's COVID-19 mitigation tactics. The university will continue to educate its students, faculty and staff on the importance of enacting and maintaining proper health guidelines as described by the CDC and as outlined by the Pennsylvania Governor's office. Alvernia has and will continue to engage in collaborative efforts with various local community members (businesses, government officials, internship locations) to ensure these guidelines are followed throughout the spring semester. 

What should I do if I am struggling with the transition back to campus or someone I know seems to be in distress?

Students should ask for help and utilize resources on campus, including the Health and Wellness Center. Students can contact the Health and Wellness Center at 610-568-1467 to talk to a counselor. Counseling services will be utilizing telehealth when appropriate and in-person visits if necessary. 

Employees can utilize the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) during the transition.

I'm a student and I received a card in the mail from SwiftMD. What is this service? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

SwiftMD is a new after-hours telemedicine service provided for 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 is not any kind of health insurance.

Will Alvernia have flu shots available on campus for students, faculty and staff? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

The Health and Wellness Center has a limited supply of free flu shots provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, available on a first-come, first-serve basis. All residential students and student-athletes must provide proof of a current flu shot (after 8/1/2020). Students should send a secure message through the Student Health Portal to request an appointment. An email will also be sent out with a sign up at the start of the semester if flu vaccines are still available.

Will there be a mandatory quarantine before coming back to campus? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

As part of Alvernia's efforts to open the campus for Spring 2021safely and healthily, we're strongly encouraging all students – commuters and residents - to self-isolate at home for 14-days before arriving on campus. Please note, this does not apply to students who have already started classes or have been living/working on campus this winter. Students are asked to limit their exposure to those who do not reside in their home environment. We also ask that students be extra vigilant if having any friends and family gatherings: such events are now the #1 source of COVID-19 spread in Pennsylvania's current hot spots. At-home self-isolation should begin 14 days before the first day of physically being on one of the campuses. This would begin 14 days before the move-in date (residents) or the first on-ground class (commuters).

 


Academic Considerations

Are classes being held on the courts/track area at the PLEX? How many courses will be running at a single time in this area? (ADDED 1.20.21

As in the Fall, classes will be held in the PLEX courts/track area. Classrooms on the PLEX track area have been reduced for the spring semester. A maximum of two classes will be held at a single time during the spring semester to allow for an enhanced learning environment. 

What type of behaviors are expected of students in the new learning environment? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

Students are expected to adhere to the Alvernia University Expected Classroom Behaviors and Cleaning Protocols for Spring 2021 that are available here. This includes guidelines for in-person instruction, the virtual learning environment and cleaning procedures for classrooms.

If I decide not to attend the university this spring but return for the fall semester, will it affect my financial aid package? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

Alvernia University will honor institutional aid awards for students who decide not to return for the fall 2020 semester but return for the spring 2021 semester. The university can't defer from spring 2021 to fall 2021 as students will enter a new FAFSA cycle next fall. 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 sfs@alvernia.edu or 610-796-8356 to discuss the options available to them.

What does the academic calendar look like for the spring semester? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

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 occur during the week of Jan. 25, 2021. The Office of Residence Life has communicated details to residents on the move-in process. 

To accommodate the condensed schedule, minimize travel and lower the risk of possibly spreading COVID-19 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 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 Easter Monday, Apr. 5. Students are expected to attend all classes in the normal mode of instruction on dates surrounding the Easter holiday.

The updated academic calendar is available in its entirety here.

What are you doing to keep us safe in the classrooms and classroom buildings? (UPDATED 1.20.21) 
  • Alvernia has reduced capacity in classrooms, libraries, common areas, offices and spaces throughout the campuses to meet the physical distancing recommendation of at least six feet. 
  • All classrooms have been reconfigured to reflect physical distancing protocols; that is true also of all public and common spaces – indoors and outdoors. Visual physical distancing markers are installed to encourage students, faculty, and employees to remain six feet apart in workspaces, hallways, and other common use areas. 
  • Outdoor classroom space is being prepared. All spaces will be available to faculty through the reservation system. Chairs and portable whiteboards will be made available for outdoor classroom use. 
  •  Alvernia's facilities team will perform regular, intense cleaning of all public spaces to disinfect classrooms, common areas, workspaces and dining areas to minimize transmission. Each classroom will be equipped with hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes. Students and faculty members are expected to wipe down tables and desks before each class. Every utilized university classroom will be cleaned daily.  
  • Facemasks will be worn in public spaces at all times. Face shields may be worn in addition to masks for added protection but may not be worn without a mask. Transparent masks will be available to accommodate reading the instructor's lips. 
  • Clear signage will reinforce policies on physical distancing, cleaning and disinfection, personal protection, and personal hygiene, including not touching eyes, nose, or mouth and washing hands frequently. 
  • Ventilation rates and the percent of outdoor air that circulates into the system have been increased, where possible. HVAC systems have been cleaned and are fully functioning. Where possible, windows will be opened to increase outside air circulation. 
  • The use of shared equipment will be minimized. If the equipment is shared, it will be cleaned before each use. 
  • Office, laboratory, teaching and workspaces have been structured to maintain physical distance between faculty, students, and staff, without any opposite-facing arrangements.  
  • As soon as a suspected case of COVID-19 is identified, Alvernia will institute a contact tracing protocol to identify any close contacts. To accomplish this, attendance will be taken in all classes and seating will be assigned in classes where small group work may occur. Exposed individuals will be separated from the rest of the student body, housed in the quarantine quarters, and tested according to guidelines.  Students are expected to adhere to the Alvernia University Expected Classroom Behaviors and Cleaning Protocols for Spring 2021that are available here. This includes policies for in-person instruction, the virtual learning environment and cleaning procedures for classrooms. 

Are there any restrictions for internship or clinical sites for the spring 2021 semester? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

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.

What if we need to move online again as we did in Spring 2020? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

All programs are prepared to ramp down or shut down immediately if instructed to do so. Where possible, courses at Alvernia will continue through the use of virtual modalities. This will allow the university to pivot to distanced instruction should public health and safety require the cessation or suspension of in-person instruction.

How do I access tutoring and academic coaching services? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

The Academic Success Center (BH105) has over 30 peer and professional tutors to support students in-person and online on Sun 4–8 p.m., M-Th 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Fri 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The ASC also offers eTutoring writing support, where students can attach a file and receive feedback directly on their document within 24 hours. 

The full schedule of all tutors, study groups and workshops is available on alvernia.myWCONLINE.com. There are four ways to make an appointment:  

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

Get the latest information and flyers on the weekly #TutorTuesday UPDATES page or https://tinyurl.com/TutorUpdates.

Will the nursing study groups and SI Sessions still meet? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

Yes, it's always better when students study together! 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. 
  • Please RSVP by making an appointment at www.alvernia.myWCONLINE.com. If students realize later that they cannot attend, they are asked to cancel their appointment so that others on the waiting list can join.  
  • Understand that if the room reaches maximum occupancy for physical distancing, students can access the study session via the Zoom links on www.alvernia.myWCONLINE.com. 

How do I access advising and accessibility services? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

The Academic Success Center in Bernardine Hall 105 is open for academic advising and accessibility services. Please request appointments using the Navigate Student app ("Wolves Guide") or call 610-796-8263.  

 


Student Life Considerations

What will student housing look like this semester? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

Alvernia looks forward to student residency during the spring semester and is making the appropriate adjustments to make this happen. This includes an effort to decrease the overall density of students in residence halls by eliminating triple rooms and allowing no more than two students to occupy any residence hall room. This proactive step is being implemented to reduce the number of contacts students have in the residence halls. Below are some additional considerations for resident students: 

  • This reduction in density may require the university to find additional housing space for the spring semester. Alvernia is exploring partnerships with hotels in Reading, which may serve as student housing this spring. Some returning students may be assigned to hotel spaces, which will offer double or single occupancy with a private restroom. The Office of Residence Life will contact students directly if their residential assignment is impacted. 
  • Residence Life will utilize the residential building structure to promote supportive student living units. A living unit may be a suite, an apartment, a pod, a townhouse, or a wing of students under the resident assistant's purview – their "Wolf family" – responsible for each living unit member's emotional well-being, physical health and social support. Most residence halls are physically designed by hallways and layouts to create such areas. 
  • Enforcement of physical distancing in the residential community will require new guidelines or revision to current policies. These will include but are not limited to:  
    • Students wearing masks in common area spaces, including restrooms, laundry rooms, elevators and hallways.  
    • If conditions warrant, Alvernia may need to close/lock building lounges and common areas.  
    •  Signage in common areas and laundry rooms will be posted related to possible occupancy limits.  
    • The visitation policy has been amended to not allow visitors in student rooms at any time, except for move in. During move-in, two move-in assistants will be permitted. Once move-in concludes, no visitors (members of the Alvernia community or the public) will be allowed in the residence halls.  
    • The room change policy has been amended not to allow room changes. 
    • Residence Life programming and certain protocols (ex: roommate mediations) will be redesigned to comply with physical distancing guidelines and other established policies. 
  • Facilities staff will enhance cleaning and disinfection in halls and across campus, including high touch areas in the residence halls. Shared common spaces (bathrooms, lounges, hallways, elevators, etc.) in all halls will be cleaned extensively seven days a week. 
  • Resident students must commit to high standards of personal behavior and hygiene to protect themselves and others. Residence Life Staff will be utilizing already-existing room, apartment, townhouse, house, and community agreement processes to emphasize guidelines related to COVID-19. These agreements will differ based on housing type, as guidelines for each living space may be slightly different based on each physical space. Residents living in traditional halls, apartments/suites, and townhouses will engage with these agreements as a means of demonstrating their understanding of the guidelines and their commitment to supporting the health and safety of the Alvernia community. Agreements will emphasize health and safety standards, cleaning practices, food sharing, and honest and effective communication when concerns arise. 
  • We will follow a modified residential move-in process. 

When will resident students be able to return to campus? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

Resident students can schedule their arrival dates and times on Thursday (Jan. 28), Friday (Jan. 29), or Saturday (Jan. 30).

All resident students received an email in their Alvernia email account with links to sign up for their preferred move-in dates and times.

All students are required to complete the "Return to Campus Form" on the Student Health Portal before arrival. Some answers may require documentation uploads and provide additional COVID-19 testing instructions, so please complete this form at least one week prior to arrival.

In compliance with the latest COVID-19 guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, ALL resident students who are coming back to campus from outside of the state of Pennsylvania are required to complete a PCR COVID-19 (click here to read about the different type of tests) diagnostic test before arriving back in Pennsylvania. Please make sure that the test is completed within 7 days before arrival on campus. Students will be asked to provide proof of a negative test upon arrival. If students' PCR COVID-19 test results are pending upon arrival, they will be asked to quarantine in their room until the pre-arrival test results are received. Following this test, it is vital for students to continue to self-quarantine up to move-in day. 

Any questions related to this pre-arrival testing can be directed to the Alvernia Health & Wellness Center at healthwellness@alvernia.edu or 610-568-1467.

In addition, to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 on campus, ALL resident students will be administered a rapid antigen test as part of their move-in process. Students will need to add the Navica app to a smartphone before testing on the move-in day to receive their test results digitally. The student will be required to show these results to continue through the return to campus check-in process. 

On move-in day: 

When arriving on campus, please use the entrance at the top of campus (drive onto campus between parking lots B and C). There will be signs and personnel directing students to the testing area. Students should remain in their vehicle, be prepared to show the negative COVID-19 test results, and wear a mask to communicate with the staff. Once arrival testing is completed, students will be directed to the next check-in area to confirm that they are financially cleared, have completed all health requirements, including the annual flu shot, and to pick up their keys.

For additional questions about move-in, please contact Shannon Merkey, Director of Residence Life, at Shannon.merkey@alvernia.edu

Students should review their spring balance on their myAlvernia portal to ensure they are cleared to return for the spring semester. If students have any questions, please contact Student Financial Services Office by calling 610-796-8201 or email sfs@alvernia.edu.

What is Alvernia doing regarding residential dining options for students, faculty and staff? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

Alvernia University's Dining Services has a comprehensive plan to minimize exposure risk at its several dining locations on campus. Highlights of that plan are listed below: 

  • The main dining hall in the Student Center will run as a served or grab-and-go option (students will not be able to serve themselves). Hours of operation will remain the same for all resident and retail locations.  
  • Indoor student dining at Courtside and Student Center will be limited to 100 seats to ensure spacing. Students are encouraged not to move tables and chairs to allow for proper physical distancing. 
  • Alvernia is offering increased outdoor seating available as a result of the patio renovation. This option is weather permitting. Students will always have the option of taking their food to go at all locations on campus. Food options are modified to travel well and reheat if needed.   
  • Meal exchange encourages students to utilize all dining locations during the week to decrease the number of students in a dining option at a time. Meal exchange is available at Freshens and Courtside Café from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday to Friday (Freshens closes at 5 p.m. on Fridays). 
  • Online ordering will be available through Catertrax. Students will be able to access the app via smartphone or computer and will be able to order food items at Courtside and Freshens locations in advance. Payment and food pickup will remain and in-person activity.  
  • Green plastic, re-washable, to-go containers will be given to all students on a meal plan and can be utilized at any location to take a meal to-go at any time. Students will return their used container when they visit the dining options and are given a clean, sanitized container for their next meal. Disposable single-use containers are also available.  
  • Physical distancing measures are encouraged and enforced at all food service locations with floor signs and physical barriers to control traffic flow. Plexiglass barriers are in place on all tables in the student center dining hall and should not be moved.
  • Heightened sanitation and PPE requirements include sanitation walkthroughs every 30 minutes, face masks and gloves worn by all staff, staff temperature checks before each shift, a high-temperature dishwashing machine (this has always been utilized) and extended sneeze guards on all food lines. 

For additional info on dining, please refer to the updated dining website for menus, hours and contact information.

Will the fitness centers be open during the spring 2021 semester? (UPDATED 2.5.21)

The Campus Commons Fitness Center, PEC Gym/Basketball Courts and PLEX Track/Basketball courts will open for the spring semester. Special guidelines are in place so read the following information carefully.

At this time, hours are as follows:

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 5:00pm 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. 

 

Will there be winter/spring intercollegiate athletics during the spring 2021 semester? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

The Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) and Alvernia University have consistently endeavored to provide a path forward towards competition in all sports. Most recently, Alvernia announced that winter sports would begin practice/training sessions on Feb. 1, 2021, with MAC competition to start the week of Feb. 21. While no final decision has been made on spring or fall sports, the MAC and Alvernia remain committed to providing opportunities for engagement and conference competition in all sports. If student athletes have questions about their specific sport, including testing requirements, they should contact their coach.

Will there be a way for students to anonymously report non-compliance of health and safety guidelines, including not wearing masks and not physical distancing? (ADDED 8.17.20)

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. 

Are outside groups able to utilize campus spaces for public events (conferences, lectures, etc.) while students are on campus? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

We continue to limit external groups from using the campus grounds and facilities. Requests will be individually reviewed and considered continuously. Outside groups may submit their requests by emailing Jessica Miller at Jessica.Miller2@alvernia.edu.  

Will the university operate its usual shuttle services and how can I know where the shuttle is? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

For the spring 2021 semester, campus shuttles shall continue to operate at a reduced capacity. The university is also deploying more shuttles for the spring semester.  

As it was last semester, riders must wear masks while on 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/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. 

What type of meetings and events will be allowed on campus? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

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. 

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

How will I know if a student in my class or lab tests positive for COVID-19? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

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 identified by the COVID-positive individual as close contacts. Finally, faculty will be notified if a test is positive for a student in their class. Pertinent information will be requested if necessary, including attendance, to aid contact tracing efforts.  The student(s) will not be identified. It is crucial to the process that all faculty submit attendance daily and adhere to physically distanced seating standards. Attendance records are needed to verify that a positive case was present in class on the relevant day(s). Group work requiring physical distancing of fewer than 6 feet should be avoided wherever possible.  Where necessary, courses with small group interactions, such as labs, should maintain consistent seating assignments and small group information to provide accurate seating charts and makeup of small groups upon request.

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 can do so. If a faculty member receives notification from the student before receiving formal notification from Alvernia, they do not need to contact the Alvernia Health and Wellness Center, as a staff member will be in touch to collect information pertinent to contact tracing if necessary.

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 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.

What should I be doing with the #CampusClear app with my students? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

To further the university’s efforts to protect the community, faculty members are asked 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 contact the Health and Wellness Center. Faculty are also encouraged to request that the student provide a copy of the secure message from the Student Health Portal before a student is allowed to return to class.  All students can provide such a message if assigned to quarantine/isolation , and those students who have contacted the Health and Wellness Center to discuss symptoms will also be able to provide this message.

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 quarantining or isolating students that need to attend class virtually must set up and provide a Zoom link 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.

 


Employee Considerations

How should Alvernia employees get a COVID test if necessary? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

All employees exhibiting symptoms or who have had direct contact with a positive COVID case should contact their Primary Care Physician (PCP) for a testing order or schedule with a local testing site. They should also notify their supervisor and Human Resources at Leslie.Kane@alvernia.edu.

What if I am feeling ill, who should I notify, and what are my steps for returning to campus? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

Employees who are not feeling well should not report to work. They should contact their supervisor and seek proper medical care. Employees are expected to follow the guidance of their PCP and contact tracers, if indicated.

Employees who receive a positive COVID-19 test result or have close contact exposure with a positive case should contact Leslie Kane at leslie.kane@alvernia.edu. 

What is the expectation of visitors upon entering any of Alvernia's campuses? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

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 (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 formwith a campus contact before entering any campus facility. This is expected of visitors each time they come to campus. 
  • All visitors should practice physical distancingof 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.    

Employee Expectations 

  • 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.  
  • If meeting virtually is not viable... 

 

Will employees be asked to monitor their temperature every day before entering the workplace?

Yes. Before returning to campus each day, employees will be asked to complete a daily self-monitor assessment for COVID-19 symptoms on the #CampusClear app (Please see Community Health and Safety Considerations dropdown for more information) before entering campus buildings. 

What is the university doing to reconfigure buildings and office spaces?

Signage will be visible throughout campus as a reminder to stay at safe distances within campus buildings. Where necessary, plexiglass shields have been installed, and furniture has been moved to accommodate spacing requirements.

Will masks be provided to all employees?

Alvernia will follow the CDC's guidance and require employees to wear face coverings on campus to protect their colleagues while near others. Employees should bring or wear a face covering to work daily. An Alvernia branded mask was provided to employees at the start of the academic year.

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 1.20.21)

Alvernia University is open for business, and on-ground campus support is expected to serve students and the entire campus community. The university supports reasonable, flexible work schedules as feasible, with manager approval, for some roles to ensure safety for all. However, some roles require daily on-campus presence to support continued university operations. 

What if I am asked to quarantine if exposed to a co-worker who is sick? Will I be paid if I cannot perform my job remotely?

Alvernia will work with employees on a case-by-case basis. 

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

Facilities staff has been increased to monitor cleaning supplies. However, if anyone notices sanitation supplies (wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.) need to be refilled/replaced, or if they 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? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

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

 


Staying Informed

How will students, parents and community members learn about university updates regarding COVID-19? (UPDATED 1.20.21)

All relevant information, including updates, FAQs and further resources, will remain available on this page and Alvernia.edu/Health-Alerts. The university recommends bookmarking both webpages and revisiting them often.  

As with last semester, 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, Twitterand 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 system here.

How will the community be notified of positive cases on campus?

In compliance with the Clery Act, Alvernia will alert the campus community via email if a student or employee on campus self-reports a positive case of COVID-19 to the university. Those deemed to be in close contact will be notified as per the Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines. Confidential exposure information will be provided in consultation with health officials and in compliance with FERPA and HIPAA guidelines. Alvernia will maintain the student or employee's confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, as applicable.

What if I am a media member seeking information or am an Alvernia student or employee and receive a request for information from a media member?

It is expected that media members will want to keep informed on campus happenings during the spring semester. 

Media members should contact the University Communications office at news@alvernia.edu. 

As always, any student or employee who receives a request from the media should contact university communications at news@alvernia.eduto coordinate a response.

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.

 

Health Alerts