Oct. 15, 2020
Two weeks ago, we announced restrictions that were necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 across our campus. They included reduced opportunities to gather in groups, no eating in the dining halls, reduced seating in Schmidt Library, and no visitors permitted in the residence halls. We know some of you saw these restrictions as a punishment. They were, in fact, designed to be part of a short-term effort to keep all of us safe and to avoid shutting down campus and requiring all students to learn virtually at home. I am happy to report that your cooperation over the past two weeks did indeed help us avoid a major outbreak on campus. (See the aggregated data on the COVID-19 dashboard.)
Therefore, we will roll back the restrictions on Friday, Oct. 16. It is important to note that the threat of a COVID outbreak continues, and it is only through your actions and adherence to guidelines that we can continue to stay on campus. Based upon our recent experience, we have instituted a few new COVID-19 mitigation measures that will let you move about freely while making campus even safer than before. The sections below show what restriction rollbacks look like for various people/areas.
- Schmidt Library will return to seating arrangements/density that existed before the restrictions. There will be new signage to indicate the appropriate number of people permitted at each table.
- Commuters are welcome to use all of the appropriate campus resources (e.g., dining hall, Grumbacher Center, Schmidt Library, etc.) as before.
- Perhaps the least popular restrictions prevented visitors in the residence halls and restricted interactions to people on your own residence hall floor. We are relaxing these restrictions and permitting residents to visit each other in all residence halls again. Commuter and off-campus students can also visit their friends who live in campus residence halls. The posted visitation hours will resume as listed in the residence halls. Students will be able to have 2 guests visiting at one time as long as everyone is able to properly social distance and masked.
- As before, no overnight guests will be permitted.
- Only parents and official guardians will be allowed to visit their students; no other family members may visit until further notice.
- Although you may continue to carry out your meals, you may also eat in the dining facilities as long as you abide by the physical distancing norms in each facility and replace your face covering immediately after eating.
- Retail dining locations will resume normal operating hours. All indoor satellite eating locations will reopen (Sparts Den, MacDougal Lounge, William Walker, Commonwealth Room, Keystone Room, Alumni Hall, and WPAC Second Floor).
Athletics and Recreation
- Given a recent trend of incidents in the Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center (GSFC), the staff will enforce the wearing of face coverings with a one-and-done policy. This means if you are not wearing a face covering properly (e.g., chin-strapping, not covering your nose properly), a staff member will ask you to leave the facility for the day. If you are out of compliance a second time, you will lose GSFC privileges for the remainder of the semester.
- Intramural competitions, group exercise sessions, club sport practices, and varsity athletics activities will all resume with the understanding that all participants will adhere to the appropriate behaviors.
- Full-time YCP employees will regain GSFC access; as users, employees will be held to the same standards as students (properly wearing a face covering, physically distancing, etc.).
- No in-person meetings will be permitted for student clubs and organizations. All meetings will remain virtual at this time.
- Tabling outside on the Student Union patio will resume; tables can be reserved through the Office of Student Activities & Orientation (OSAO).
- In-person events will be approved on a case-by-case basis by OSAO. Groups must submit an event request form and a safety plan to include strategies for ensuring social distancing, mask wearing, etc.
- Because of capacity restrictions, any approved indoor event will only include a very small number of in-person participants.
- Students may gather to decorate bulletin boards in the Student Union lobby or compile event packets for pick up in the Student Union with social distancing and mask wearing in place. Please notify the OSAO of any plans to gather for these purposes.
- Students who violate the gatherings policy will be handled as described in the Oct. 9 portal announcement titled “Information on student gatherings and the spread of COVID-19.”
- Although we strongly encourage you to stay on campus until Nov. 24, if you do travel away from campus, you will only need to quarantine for 14 days if you travel to one of the states listed on the Pennsylvania Department of Health webpage.
We depend on you to help keep our campus safe and healthy. As it gets colder, people tend to spend more time indoors, which means you have to be diligent in monitoring your symptoms, wearing face coverings, physical distancing, and being attentive to personal hygiene. We are strongly encouraging you to schedule a flu shot at your earliest convenience. It is important to again remind you that the two-week restrictions were necessary to protect our campus from an outbreak of COVID-19. Although we are now lifting the restrictions, if we see data trending in a negative direction, we will not hesitate to reinstate them to safeguard the health of all of our community members. Let’s continue supporting the health and success of our campus by following the health safeguards, and staying dedicated to academics. With your help, I know we will finish fall semester successfully.
Dr. Joshua D. Landau
Associate Provost for Student Success
Interim Dean of Student Development and Campus Life