Susquehanna’s spring 2021 semester begins Jan. 25, as planned; however, the first two weeks will be remote for everyone to ensure the safety of our community. After the first two weeks, residential students will have staggered move-in dates and commuter students can resume on-campus instruction.

The university will continue to offer courses in a variety of ways to ensure a safe and engaging learning environment. Visit our schedule changes, safety measures and COVID-19 dashboard for more information.

We are in the process of developing a plan to offer COVID-19 vaccinations for students, faculty and staff. More information to come as SU continues to work with our partners in the state and the medical community.

Updated January 15, 2021

Return to Work

As we prepare for students to return to campus, we are requesting faculty and staff return to campus beginning Feb. 8. We will continue to follow all the safety protocols that were in place during the fall and expect that there will continue to be staggered start and end times and hybrid schedules to allow for appropriate physical distance in work spaces. Remote work may be continued as needed with supervisor approval.

Shared Responsibilities 

Susquehanna University has implemented many safety protocols to promote a safe work environment and it is the shared responsibility of faculty, staff and students to follow them. Click here to review safety protocols for faculty and staff and an outline of potential consequences of noncompliance. If you observe noncompliance, first politely remind the person. Further concerns about noncompliance may be reported to supervisors, department heads, the COVID-19 coordinator Dave RichardHuman Resources or through the LiveSafe App.

Additionally, if faculty or staff report to work with COVID-19 symptoms, supervisors and department heads will send the employee home immediately and then report the issue to Human Resources.

Health and Hygiene Expectations

  1. Perform daily well-being self-checks to monitor yourself for symptoms, this includes taking your temperature at home before you come to work. If you feel unwell or have symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, or shortness of breath, you should not come to work. Employees may contact Facilities Management to request a thermometer if needed.
  2. Maintain physical distancing of six feet. Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.
  3. Wear a face mask in public spaces. Employees and visitors to campus are required to wear a mask. The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public spaces where other social-distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., common workspaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, residence hall common areas, hallways, doorways, restrooms, sidewalks), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Wearing a cloth face covering, however, does not replace the need to practice social distancing. Those who are medically or developmentally unable to wear a mask should contact Human Resources to request an accommodation.
  4. Clean as you go, using the cleaning supplies provided by Facilities Management to keep your workspace clean.
  5. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will everyone wear a mask on campus?

Employees and visitors to campus (see below) will be required to wear a mask. Employees isolated in their personal office space, when unshared with other colleagues, do not need to wear a mask. However, when employees leave their individual office or have invited a colleague into their office, they must wear a mask. This includes walking in hallways. Employees are not required to wear mask while outside if more than 6 feet away from others, or while eating and drinking. However, at those times, social distancing should be applied. 

If I don’t have a mask, will one be provided?

The University has masks available to those who do not have one. To request a mask, please contact Facilities Management at facilities@susqu.edu.

Will the University require temperature checks to enter campus?

The University is requesting that everyone perform a daily, well-being self-check before you come to work. You can download the COVID Alert PA App, a useful tool to remind you to check for symptoms and provides information of of what to do if you have them.  If you feel unwell or have symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches or shortness of breath, you should not come to work on campus. Employees may contact Facilities to request a thermometer if needed.

What are the cleaning protocols for campus?

To minimize the risk of surface transfer, a cleaning system that uses an atomized spray unit to deliver an EPA/FDA-approved surface disinfectant highly effective in neutralizing coronaviruses and other pathogens will be used by Facilities Management in the regular cleaning on campus. All high- touch areas, such as hallways, bathrooms, entrances and water fountains, will be cleaned daily and disinfected twice a day. All other spaces will be cleaned on the normal cleaning cycle and disinfected every weekday.

Facilities has delivered a large supply of disinfecting wipes for all areas of campus. Faculty and staff will be responsible for cleaning their own desk, keyboards, doorknobs and other work surfaces between daily treatments. Sanitation stations will also provide supplemental hand sanitizer and disposable face masks.

Should departments order cleaning supplies and masks?

Cleaning supplies and masks are ordered through Facilities Management. Please contact facilities@susqu.edu for supply requests.

Are there food options on campus open?

Faculty and staff can do grab-and-go meals at Evert Dining Room, Bento Sushi, Scholarly Grounds, Starbucks and Ele's. The Hawk's Nest is only open for students.

How will IT be operating?

To adhere to safe practices, the Office of Information Technology will be open by appointment only and cannot accept walk-ins. As you return to campus, reach out to the Help Desk for assistance Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. at 570-372-4502 or helpdesk@susqu.edu. There is also an Outdoor Help Desk for in-person assistance and is located near Seibert, next to the stairs that descend to the regular help desk location. The outdoor location will be open during normal business hours throughout the semester with weather permitting.

Are visitors to campus allowed?

Visitors, including contractors and vendors, may be on campus so long as they adhere to the same return-to-work guidance for SU employees. Individual prospective student and family visit criteria has been developed by the Office of Admission, in accordance with public health expert advice.

Are student workers permitted to work on campus?

Students who are approved to live on campus may work on campus and must adhere to the return-to-work guidance for SU employees.

Will common areas on campus be open?

At this time, Degenstein Campus Center is open.

Garrett Sports Complex:

The River Hawks Department of Athletics is pleased to welcome faculty, staff, and students back to the Clyde H. Jacobs Fitness Center at the Garrett Sports Complex starting Feb. 8. 

The Garrett Natatorium, racquetball courts, indoor track and locker rooms will remain closed until further notice.

All faculty and staff must register for 30-minute time slots in advance by first creating an IMLeagues account and then downloading the IMLeagues app on the Apple Store or Google Play to make your reservations. Learn how to set up your account here.

In order to maintain appropriate distance and avoid crowding, no more than eight (8) visitors on each level will be allowed to use the fitness center at any one time.

All faculty and staff must follow these guidelines:
  • Wearing a mask properly at all times,
  • Maintaining a six (6) -foot distance,
  • Washing or sanitizing hands before and after use of equipment,
  • Wiping down each piece of equipment after use, and
  • Staying home if signs or symptoms of COVID-19 are experienced.

Hours:

Monday – Friday 6:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday –Sunday  9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

What about gatherings, events and meetings?

Capacity

As a general rule, indoor person-to-person contact needs to be as minimal as possible. Under Pennsylvania’s guidelines for communities, non-instructional gatherings are limited to no more than half of the traditional capacity of a room. In furtherance of campus safety efforts, Susquehanna is limiting occupancy of spaces to no more than 40% of traditional capacity, with more stringent limitations applying to some spaces.

All spaces must ensure at least 6 feet of physical distance between individuals. Face masks are required (see exceptions defined above in Face Masks).

  • No indoor gathering (e.g., non-recurring event) may exceed 25 people.
  • No outdoor gathering may exceed 25 people. Requests for larger events require special approval by Risk Management.
  • The event venue/space must clearly be labeled with an appropriate capacity limit.
  • Venues must require attendees to comply with 6-foot social distancing requirements, to wear masks or face coverings, and to implement best practices such as timed entry, multiple entry and exit points, multiple restrooms and hygiene stations.

Events

  • All on-campus events for spring 2021 must be approved by Risk Management, should be virtual unless specifically approved by Risk Management, and shall be open only to currently enrolled Susquehanna students, faculty and staff.
  • As regulated by the state, an event or gathering is defined as a temporary grouping of individuals for defined purposes that takes place over a limited timeframe, such as hours or days, including concerts, shows or receptions. Conversely, groups of people who share a space within a building in the ordinary course of operations, such as in a classroom or an office building, are not events or gatherings.
  • No community events will be hosted on campus for spring 2021.
  • No university events will be permitted to be held off campus for spring 2021.
  • Regardless of capacity, campus events must follow these measures:

All student organization events and activities must be registered with the Office of Leadership and Engagement and follow the latest “Office of Leadership & Engagement Student Organization COVID-19 Policies and Guidelines.” All other events must be registered with the Office of Event Management, which will get approval from Risk Management.

Meetings

  • The priority for all meeting spaces is: (1) instructional, (2) other academic gatherings, and then (3) for students or staff when a virtual meeting cannot suffice.
  • Faculty and staff must hold meetings and conversations remotely, until further notice.
  • All student organization meetings, on or off campus, must be registered with the Office of Leadership and Engagement and follow the latest “Office of Leadership & Engagement Student Organization COVID-19 Policies and Guidelines.”
  • No food or drink is permitted in indoor meeting spaces.
  • In-person student-to-student and faculty-to-student meetings must comply with state orders, which includes the following requirements:
    • A remote option for invited participants who opt not to attend in person must be made available prior to the meeting.
    • All attendees must wear a face mask while sharing a common space.
    • Chairs and tables in meeting spaces should be arranged and labeled to support physical-distancing practices of 6 feet.

If you have additional questions that were not covered here, please talk with your supervisor or contact Human Resources at humanresources@susqu.edu.

Official University Travel

Official university travel is not permitted for Spring 2021, except in limited instances with approval from Human Resources or Student Life.

Personal Travel

As required by the state, effective Nov. 20, 2020, Pennsylvanians visiting other states must have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their return to the commonwealth or they must quarantine for 10 days or until a negative test result, whichever comes first. Similar requirements apply to anyone visiting Pennsylvania from other states.  

If faculty or staff members have traveled or plan to travel, you need to follow Susqehanna’s Travel Advisories that are in accordance with the recent guidance from the state of Pennsylvania. As a reminder, COVID-19 leave is not permitted for quarantine requirements upon return from personal travel and employees are responsible for testing costs related to personal travel.

For more information, see this CDC fact sheet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the guidelines for faculty and staff travel?

  • Non-essential university travel is not allowed until further notice.
  • All overnight travel must be registered 48 hours in advance. See the Dashboard for latest travel advisories. 
  • Quarantine for 10 days or until a negative test result, whichever comes first, consistent with Pennsylvania Department of Health recommendations for colleges, for all students, faculty and staff arriving from an affected area or a CDC Warning Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) — even if asymptomatic.

COVID-19 Vaccinations for Faculty & Staff

Updated January 29, 2021

We are actively working with healthcare partners to create opportunities for members of the SU community to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. The process for COVID-19 vaccines is continually changing. Last week, we were working with Evangelical Hospital to schedule employees in blocks of times they were holding for Susquehanna. This week, they are no longer able to hold times for us. If you do not have an appointment date and time for a COVID-19 vaccination, you now need to schedule an appointment directly through a medical system or distribution site. If you do have an appointment scheduled for a vaccine, there is no need to do anything further.

How to Schedule a COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment

Only those who qualify under Phase 1A are eligible to schedule an appointment at this time. Please take the time to review the eligibility requirements as we are finding many faculty and staff do qualify for Phase 1A. We will  send an email to the community with eligibility guidelines and any further instructions, if needed, when the commonwealth opens Vaccines to Phase 1B.

Evangelical Hospital: https://www.evanhospital.com/news/coronavirus-update

Geisinger Medical Center: https://www.geisinger.org/coronavirus/patients-and-visitors/covid-19-vaccine-faqs

Weis Pharmacy: https://www.weismarkets.com/covid-vaccine-faqs

Find other locations near you: https://www.pa.gov/guides/get-vaccinated/#Step1ChecktoSeeifYoureEligible

Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged but not required to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. There are many myths and rumors circulating about the vaccine — you can make an informed decision by visiting the CDC Website and talking with your healthcare provider.

This will continue to be updated as new information is received.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I have received the vaccine, do I still need to get tested for COVID-19?

Yes, we are still learning how the vaccines combat the variants of COVID-19 and are requiring testing for all faculty and staff at this time.

If I have received the vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask?

Yes, Employees and visitors to campus are required to wear a mask. The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public spaces where other social-distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., common workspaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, residence hall common areas, hallways, doorways, restrooms, sidewalks), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Wearing a cloth face covering, however, does not replace the need to practice social distancing. Those who are medically or developmentally unable to wear a mask should contact Human Resources to request an accommodation.

If I had approval to work remotely in the fall, do I need to get permission to work remotely for the spring?

Yes, please work with your supervisor for approval.

What happens when the university discovers that a member of the SU community (or vendor/visitor) has tested positive for COVID-19?

As with any potentially threatening virus, if someone who has been on campus within 10 days, or has been on a recent study abroad trip, tests positive for COVID-19, the university has standard procedures to keep the SU community safe and well.

SU will immediately inform campus community members with possible direct exposure. Concurrently, our responsibility is to protect the identity of the impacted individual(s). Federal privacy laws limit what SU is allowed to disclose; furthermore, it is everyone’s responsibility to respect privacy.

Upon receiving notification of virus confirmations of individual(s) who recently have been on campus, our process includes:

  • Impacted individual(s) will be isolated in their home and Facilities will be notified to clean potential contaminated areas with materials designated to eliminate COVID-19.
  • Human Resources will work with the employee to conduct contact tracing on campus, additional contact tracing off-campus will be done externally through the department of health or employee’s medical provider.

If I came into contact with someone with COVID-19, what should I do?

Persons who have possible exposure to a person with the COVID-19 illness should remain home for 10 days with self-observation.  

Self-observation means you should remain alert for symptoms of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. If you feel feverish or develop a cough or difficulty breathing during the self-observation period, you should take your temperature, self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider or their local health department to determine whether medical evaluation is needed. 

As much as possible, stay away from other people in your home. Do not go to work, school or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.

If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Follow everyday preventive steps that are recommended by the CDC to slow the spread of respiratory illnesses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water are the best option, if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can. Immediately wash your hands as described above. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
  • High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables should be cleaned with disinfectant.
  • Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good air flow, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting.
  • Household members should use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available.
  • Prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home.

For more information, see this CDC fact sheet.

What if a faculty or staff member is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or other symptoms. If faculty or staff experience COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, notify your supervisor or department head and stay home. Supervisor and department heads will notify Human Resources by completing this form. Human Resources will then follow up with employees. Employees should stay home (i.e., telework if possible or take leave), and follow care instructions from their healthcare provider and local health department, CDC Guidelines. Your local health authorities may give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information. Supervisors and department heads will send faculty or staff home if employees are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Absence and Quarantine Tracking

Absenteeism is a potential warning sign of the spread of COVID. Supervisors and department heads are being asked to report daily absences of faculty and staff using this form. The purpose of the form is to capture the number of absences of all faculty and staff (on campus and remote), which will then filter into the university’s COVID-19 rubric (our internal dashboard) to help monitor staffing levels across campus. This form will also be used by Human Resources to follow up on leave requests and begin contact tracing if necessary.

Also, the form should be completed if faculty or staff need to quarantine or have COVID-19 symptoms – this includes employees working on campus and remotely.

An employee with COVID-19 symptoms must isolate for at least 10 days after onset of symptoms, and only return to work if symptoms have improved with no fever without the use of medicines for at least 24 hours.

If an employee has had close contact (being within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes) with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they must quarantine for 10 days and may only then return to work if they are not exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms and have completed the return to work form.

Is Susquehanna University conducting contact tracing?

Human Resources will be conducting contact tracing on campus for faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19. Our intent is to expedite the notification and cleaning process on campus. Note: Employees may be contacted again by a contact tracer with the Department of Health or medical provider.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a close contact as being within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated. One should stay home, maintain social distancing, and self-monitor until 10 days from the last date of exposure.

If I must stay home because I have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, will I continue to be paid?

All faculty and staff members are eligible for up to 80 hours of paid time for their own illness or to care for a family member(s) who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have reason to believe they have been exposed to COVID-19; the employee’s supervisor must notify Human Resources by completing this form.

For time off exceeding 80 hours, staff must use sick time and may accrue a negative balance to continue pay. Faculty should refer to section 5.2 of the Faculty Handbook.

COVID-19 leave is not permitted for quarantine requirements upon return from personal travel.

Am I required to share any underlying health conditions that put me at high risk?

Employees are not required to share underlying health conditions with their supervisor. If an employee would like to request an accommodation because of an underlying condition they should contact Human Resources at humanresources@susqu.edu.

What counseling and support resources are available at SU?

We understand some Susquehanna community members may feel anxious during this time. Faculty and staff may contact the The Standard Employee Assistance Program or the recently added New Directions Employee Assistance Program for support and assistance. Our company code is “Susquehanna”.

Please also visit cdc.gov for helpful tips to manage stress and anxiety. If you are struggling emotionally, you can also reach out for assistance by calling the local emergency hotline for mental health-related issues at 1-800-222-9016.

Telework / Working from Home

Faculty and Staff Accommodations and Work Flexibility

We are requesting faculty and staff return to campus beginning Feb. 8. We will continue to follow safety protocols that were in place during the fall, and expect that there will continue to be staggered start and end times and hybrid schedules to allow for appropriate physical distance in work spaces. Remote work may be approved by supervisors when it is not possible to maintain social distance in work spaces; to provide flexibility for child care when school and daycares are closed; to allow for those with serious medical conditions to maintain physical distance until the vaccine is more broadly available; and to work from home when required to quarantine. All other accommodations should be requested through Human Resources.

If there are additional questions, please contact Human Resources at humanresources@susqu.edu or call 570-372-4024 to schedule an appointment.

Susquehanna University has implemented many safety protocols to promote a safe work environment and it is the shared responsibility of faculty, staff and students to follow them. Concerns about noncompliance or workplace safety may be reported to supervisors, department heads, the COVID-19 coordinator Dave RichardHuman Resources or through the LiveSafe App.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it too late to change my work schedule?

Schedule changes may still occur and may include a hybrid approach with supervisor approval – teleworking some days and on campus other days.

Guidance for Working Remotely

There are faculty and staff who are working remotely or with a hybrid schedule that includes remote and on campus. During this time, it is important to stay connected with colleagues and students, forward your phone so it is always answered, and indicate working hours through your Outlook Calendar or in your email signature to indicate availability.

Child Care

We understand, faculty and staff with K-12 students may need to modify their schedules. Faculty and staff are encouraged to discuss their needs with their supervisor. Human Resources is also available for consultation when modified work schedules are requested.

How should I fill out my timesheet?

Staff should complete timesheets based on hours worked. If staff do not have enough work to maintain their regularly scheduled hours, please enter unworked hours as paid, non-working hours. Any employee who is quarantined or has requested COVID-19 leave will receive instructions from Human Resources on how to complete their timesheet.

Am I required to work my regular work schedule while working from home?

The expectation is that you will be working the same amount of hours, but we recognize that some faculty and staff may need to alter their regular work schedule. Flexible work schedules are encouraged and require approval by your supervisor. It is important for faculty and staff working remotely to stay connected with their colleagues and students, forward office phones so there is always someone there to answer and indicated working hours through Outlook.

Should I put an out-of-office message on my email?

Out-of-office messages should only be used if you are on vacation or are sick and unable to respond to emails. Otherwise, we encourage prompt responses to all email and voicemail inquiries.

On days I am scheduled to work from home, what should I do with phone calls coming into my office?

Each department should have a plan for phone coverage. University phones may be forwarded to cell phones and landlines.

What if I have technology needs to work from home?

Faculty and staff who have received approval to work from home are responsible to ensure they have the space and necessary equipment to perform the work. Please refer to the Telework Policy for additional information. If there is a financial need, employees are encouraged to contact Human Resources.  

Additional Work from Home Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any resources available for faculty and staff who may need financial assistance during this time?

Yes, please contact Human Resources for assistance.

My spouse was recently laid off from work and no longer eligible for health insurance. Can I add them to my insurance plan?

If your spouse loses their employer-sponsored health insurance due to a layoff or loss of employment, this is considered a life-status event and you are eligible to enroll them on your Susquehanna University health insurance plan until they again have access to health insurance through their employer or Medicare. 

If you need to make a change to your benefits election due to a life-status event, please contact Brenda Balonis at balonis@susqu.edu or call 570-372-4054.

How does the CARES Act affect my Flexible Spending Account and Health Savings Account?

Recent changes to Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) include:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and menstrual care products are included to the list of eligible FSA and HSA expenses without a doctor’s prescription. This is a permanent change and reimbursement can be retroactive to January 1, 2020.
  • Members can update their dependent care FSA election if there is a change in the childcare provider or cost of coverage as long as the update is consistent with the change. For example, if a daycare provider stopped services due to COVID-19 or you no longer needed daycare services due to remote work, the election can be reduced or eliminated.

If you need to make a change to your dependent care FSA election for 2020, visit the online benefits enrollment site at https://susqu.benelogic.com and enter a life-status change. Questions may be directed to Brenda Balonis at balonis@susqu.edu.

Can I make mid-year adjustments to my flexible spending?

In response to the pandemic, the IRS is allowing pre-tax health insurance cafeteria plans to offer additional flexibility. You may make any type of prospective mid-year flexible spending  election change without a qualifying life event until Dec. 31, 2020. You may decrease your health FSA or DCA election to no less than the amount you have already been reimbursed by the plan. Changing your election does not allow you to receive a refund of the amounts you have already contributed. Incur claims have been extended until March 15, 2021. For assistance, contact Brenda Balonis.