Updated October 6, 2020 (click to see)

Guiding Principles 

Susquehanna University educates students for productive, creative, and reflective lives of achievement, leadership, and service in a diverse, dynamic, and interdependent world. We are committed to fulfilling this mission in a manner that prioritizes the health and safety of our community members. In furtherance of this commitment, Susquehanna has developed this Plan for its residential living/learning environment upon a return to campus for Fall 2020. The evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic requires that this Plan be a living document, subject to change in response to new developments and guidance. If circumstances warrant, the university will return to a fully remote environment.

No amount of planning can eliminate the risk of COVID-19. Like colleges and universities across the country, Susquehanna will likely see cases of COVID-19 on campus. This Plan is intended to aid in mitigating the risk of the virus spreading on campus. In order for this Plan to achieve its full potential toward that goal, every member of the Susquehanna community – faculty, staff, and students – will need to play an active role in its implementation. 

Personal Hygiene and Safety Practices

Hygiene and safety practices apply to everyone, even those without symptoms. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention update as of July 10, 2020, estimates are that 40% of people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic and the chance of transmission from people with no symptoms is 75%.

Face Masks

Face masks must be worn by all faculty, staff, students and visitors on campus. Appropriate use of face masks, even if asymptomatic, is critical for minimizing risks to others and slowing the spread of the virus. In following source control guidelines of the CDC:

  • Acceptable face masks include nonmedical disposable masks and snugly fitting cloth masks with at least two layers of washable, breathable fabric, and must cover nose and mouth and fit snugly around the face and chin.
  • Not acceptable face masks include neck gaiters (buffs), open-chin bandanas, face shields (when worn without masks), as well as masks with vents or exhalation valves.

Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors according to the guidelines below.

  • Indoors: Masks should be worn at all times indoors (e.g., common workspaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, residence hall common areas, hallways, doorways, restrooms); refer to list of exceptions.
    • To accommodate the use of face masks indoors, no food or drink is permitted in classrooms or meeting spaces.
  • Outdoors: Masks should be worn outdoors when physical distancing of at least 6 feet (at least 10 feet for physical activity) is difficult to maintain, including on sidewalks, under tents/covered areas with poor air circulation or other spaces when not alone.
    • To accommodate outdoor physical activity and social interaction without a mask, 10-foot circles were painted on the Degenstein Center and Science Building lawns.

Students, faculty, staff and visitors are asked to bring their own face masks for individual use; however, nonmedical disposable masks will be provided at stations across campus. Personal protective equipment will be provided for personnel who require it to perform their roles on campus, and those individuals will be trained on the appropriate use of PPE.

Exceptions to wearing face masks include:

  • Students may remove face masks while they’re eating in designated dining areas; while in their residence hall with the room/suite door closed and the only other persons present are “student family group” (roommates; suitemates, e.g., West Village, Seibert Hall; or housemates, e.g., University Avenue, Liberty Alley, 18th Street Commons); and as necessary in a shared bathroom (e.g., brushing teeth, shaving or showering).
  • Faculty and staff are able to remove face masks in the isolation of their offices with doors closed or in cubicles, provided that per AIHA guidance, workstations are configured with physical distancing or partitions, if needed.
  • Students and employees with medical conditions preventing their use of face masks should contact disabilityservices@susqu.edu (students) or Human Resources (employees) to request an accommodation.

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing between people is one of the best methods to avoid exposure to and minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Individuals should remain physically distant from others when possible, even if they are not experiencing symptoms. (Asymptomatic people, those who do not feel sick, can spread the virus.) Distancing is important for everyone, especially to help those who are at higher risk. Face masks are not a substitute for physical distancing. Faculty, staff, students, and visitors to campus must follow these physical distancing practices:  

  • Maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance indoors and outdoors from other people at all times

    • Physical distancing should be practiced in combination with other everyday preventive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including wearing masks.
    • Students: Stay at least 6 feet from other people who are not from your “student family group” (roommates; suitemates, e.g., West Village, Seibert Hall; or housemates, e.g., University Avenue, Liberty Alley, 18th Street Commons) in both indoor and outdoor spaces. 
  • Avoid crowded places (see Gatherings and meetings defined below)


Handwashing often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is encouraged, especially after being in a public place or after blowing one’s nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching one’s face. Individuals should avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. Sneeze into an elbow, do not shake hands and avoid sharing items with others.

  • If soap and water are not readily available, Susquehannans should use alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol alcohol, applying the sanitizer over all surfaces of the hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Nonmedical sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer will be provided at stations across campus.

Safety Measures for In-Person Instruction and Campus Operations

Hygiene and Sanitation Protocols

  • Facilities Management staff will clean high-touch areas daily in addition to the overnight cleaning of offices, classrooms, and workspaces as per CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfection. High-volume restrooms will be cleaned daily and disinfected twice a day. All common area and semi-private restrooms on campus will be cleaned and disinfected on a regular schedule with supplemental cleaning wipes provided for personal use to disinfect surfaces as needed.
    • Please DO NOT flush any disinfectant wipes down the toilet; they should be disposed of in a trash can after use.
  • Faculty, staff, and students must wipe down desks, lab equipment, and other shared objects and surfaces before use with products provided by the university that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19. This includes copiers, printers, computers, A/V and other electronic equipment, coffee makers, desks and tables, light switches, doorknobs, vending machines, etc. 
    • Supplies, such as, disposable gloves, disinfectant wipes, tissues, and paper towels will be distributed for regular cleaning.
    • Disposable gloves should be used when cleaning and disinfecting, and should be disposed of in no-touch trash cans after each use.
  • Faculty, staff, and students should bring their own water when possible to minimize use of water fountains and water coolers.
  • Plexiglass barriers have been added to office and other spaces across campus.

Gatherings and Meetings

Under Pennsylvania’s guidelines for Green Phase 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 physical distance between individuals. Face masks are required (see exceptions defined above in Face Masks).


All classrooms will be labeled with revised capacity limits.

  • No food or drink is permitted in classrooms.
  • High school students taking classes as part of Susquehanna’s concurrent enrollment program will participate in all classes through virtual means.


  • 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, an office building, or similar regularly occurring operation of an organization, are not events or gatherings.
  • No community events will be hosted on campus for fall 2020.
  • No university events will be permitted to be held off campus for fall 2020.
  • 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.
    • On-campus events for fall 2020 shall be open only to currently enrolled Susquehanna undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff.
    • No other members of the public are permitted on campus for events, unless otherwise cleared by the Office of Event Management.
    • No indoor gathering (e.g., non-recurring event) may exceed 25 people.
    • No outdoor gathering may exceed 250 people. For outdoor events with more than 25 people, additional risk management measures will be required.
    • 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.


  • Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to hold meetings and conversations remotely.
  • All student organization meetings 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.
  • 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.
  • In-person meetings must comply with state orders, which includes the following requirements:
    • Chairs and tables in meeting spaces should be arranged and labeled to support physical-distancing practices of 6 feet.
    • All attendees must wear a face mask while sharing a common space. 
    • A remote option for invited participants who opt not to attend in person must be made available prior to the meeting.
  • No university meetings will be permitted to be held off campus for fall 2020.

Common Spaces

  • Additional outdoor spaces for dining, academic activities and physically-distanced gatherings have been designated across campus to maximize the use of fresh, outdoor areas.
  • New safety protocols are clearly posted in all dining locations.
    • Food service locations will remain open with limited seating capacities and increased to-go options, but no self-serve options.
    • Dining areas are reserved for students only; faculty and staff are asked to eat elsewhere with food from off campus to help preserve physical distancing.
    • Increased paper products will be used throughout campus.

Exit, Entrance, and Elevator Protocols

  • Faculty, students, staff, and visitors must follow signage and rules for traffic flow through building entrances, exits, and elevator use. 
    • In certain buildings, the university will designate entrance and exit doorways and foot-traffic directions for stairwells and hallways to maintain proper circulation and mitigate the risk of virus spread.
    • Individuals should use the stairs whenever possible, rather than elevators.
    • Only one person may enter an elevator at a time. This restriction does not apply to individuals requiring special assistance. Face masks must be worn in elevators. Individuals are encouraged to avoid touching the elevator buttons directly, if possible (e.g., use a clean tissue).


  • Masks are to be worn in restrooms. Follow guidelines for physical distancing. The number of people in restrooms will be limited to ensure at least 6 feet physical distance between individuals. Individuals are encouraged to wash their hands thoroughly after using the restroom to reduce the potential transmission of the virus. 

Additional Student Health and Safety Expectations

  • Students must read and sign a "Student Community Health Agreement" prior to arriving to campus.  Here is a preview of the agreement form
  • All students are required to complete COVID-19 testing prior to the fall 2020 semester. (see COVID-19 Testing below)
  • All students are asked to come to campus with a personal self-care kit. The kit should include a thermometer, tissues, cough medicine, anti-bacterial wipes and other cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and several face masks. Susquehanna will have limited supplies available for students who are unable to bring their own.
  • Students should review the local COVID-19 information for Snyder County before traveling to the Selinsgrove community.
  • To prevent an influenza outbreak, all students should receive a seasonal flu shot. Susquehanna will have some available on campus as needed.
  • Students are expected to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.
  • Susquehanna is extending its process for collecting health information to include insurance and other health information necessary for COVID-19 virus testing purposes. Students will receive instructions for providing information through a Geisinger Health Portal and should complete information prior to Aug. 15, 2020, or at least one week prior to returning to campus.
  • The Student Health Center staff will be available to assess and guide students who may need appointments, testing and/or treatment weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and an on-call nurse will be available 24/7 for medical advice and assessment. 

Residential Living Expectations

  • All residential students are required to apply and be approved (pending COVID-19 test results) for a specific move-in date and time before returning to campus. Students are to complete the move-in fall 2020 application under Apps and Forms on the Housing Self Service site before selecting a check-in time. COVID-19 test results requirements:
    • Students for whom Susquehanna has not received a completed and negative COVID-19 saliva test result will receive an alert in their Housing Self-Service and a follow-up email to complete the test.
    • Once Susquehanna receives a completed and negative COVID-19 test from a student and confirmation that they signed their Community Health Agreement, the student will receive a confirmation email with more detailed move-in instructions. This email is their confirmation to return to campus.
    • Students will not be permitted to return to campus without signing the Community Health Agreement, having a negative COVID-19 test, completing the move-in application, and selecting a check-in time.
  • Only residential Susquehanna students are permitted to enter residence halls. Students are to refrain from entering residence hall rooms in buildings where they do not live. Limited guests, who reside on SU's campus, are permitted to visit first-floor lounges (where applicable) but are not permitted to enter individual floors or wings. Residents within the same building may visit each other while adhering to the room capacity (1 guest per resident at a time). Guests are required to wear face masks , even in residence hall rooms and lounges.
  • Overnight guests (SU students and non-SU students) are not permitted in residence halls for fall 2020. This is a temporary change in our guest policy that we will revisit for the spring 2021 semester.
  • Communicating directly with family members, students should create an emergency campus evacuation plan should circumstances warrant any possible closure of residential housing. We recommend bringing only the essential items that could easily be transported if this were to happen.
  • For Fall 2020, residential students are permitted to leave campus only for essential reasons (such as to visit grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants, as long as healthy behaviors such as wearing masks and maintaining physical distance are practiced). This type of travel does not need to be registered.
  • Residential students leaving campus for essential reasons outside the immediate area are required to register travel outside the immediate area 48 hours in advance (this includes day and/or overnight travel). Depending on the type of travel and location, you may be required to quarantine and take a COVID test prior to returning to campus. As a reminder, students are not permitted to visit other college campuses.
  • Random Testing Protocol. Each week, 20% of students living in areas that are not monitored by wastewater testing will be tested, as well as students participating in off-campus internships and those leaving campus overnight. Also, in following NCAA guidelines, student-athletes will be tested at least 25% every two weeks. Each week, those students randomly selected will receive emails to visit a testing station centrally located on campus.

Commuter Student Expectations

  • Like those living on campus, commuter students are not allowed overnight travel for non-essential reasons. Students who have essential reasons to leave the area overnight must register their travel 48 hours in advance. Depending on the type of travel and location, you may be required to quarantine and take a COVID test prior to returning to classes on campus. As a reminder, students are not permitted to visit other college campuses.
  • Gathering with other commuter students remains important. Commuter students should adhere to the revised posted capacity of the Commuter Lounge, Blough-Weis Library and other areas across campus, as well as all other personal hygiene practices (physical distancing, face masks, and handwashing). 
  • Each week, 20% of commuter students will be tested. Those students randomly selected will receive emails to visit a testing station centrally located on campus.

University Travel and Quarantine Guidelines

Class and Work Arrangements

Course Modalities, Modifications, and Adaptations

  • Classes this fall will be delivered in a variety of modes in order to ensure a safe and engaging learning environment.  This will include combinations of:
    • in-person classroom and lab instruction, following public health guidelines for social distancing,
    • online instruction using our upgraded technology,
    • a hybrid model that blends elements of in-person and online instruction in order to allow for necessary physical distancing
  • The start times of classes for fall 2020 were staggered between 5 and 20 minutes so that it is less likely that multiple classes in one area of a building will all start at the same time — with the goal of reducing high volumes of students congregating in hallways prior to class. Additionally, this change will assist with traffic flow into the dining areas by varying meal times.

Fall 2020 Academic Calendar

The calendar has been adjusted to help to reduce the risk of infection to allow Susquehanna to offer 13 consecutive weeks of on-campus instruction and activities.

  • Under a revised fall 2020 calendar, the semester starts one week early, with classes beginning Monday, Aug. 24.
  • There will be no midterm break.
  • On-campus instruction ends Friday, Nov. 20, at which time students will depart campus until the spring semester.
  • The last week of classes will be held remotely beginning Nov. 30.
  • Finals will be administered remotely, beginning Dec. 7.

Faculty & Staff Accommodation Requests

  • Faculty and staff with disabilities (which may include those with serious health conditions that put them at greater risk from COVID-19) may request accommodations by completing this form and returning it to Human Resources.

Flexible Work Options

  • Faculty and staff may request to work remotely (independent of any approved disability accommodations), where essential functions of the jobs are fulfilled and the student experience is not compromised, by completing this form.
  • Faculty and staff may also work with their supervisor or department head to create alternative work schedules so long as essential functions of the job are completed.

Children in the Workplace

  • For the safety of the campus community, children of faculty and staff members are not permitted to enter university buildings unless it is their residential home.
  • The current policy for Children in the Workplace, which allows for children of faculty and staff to be on campus on a limited basis with continuous supervision, is restricted to outdoors only until further notice.

Strategy for Health Conditions of the Campus Community

Attendance and Absentee Policies

Under no circumstances should somebody who is sick or has been exposed to COVID-19 attend classes, meetings, events, or report to work. 


Faculty will be flexible with student attendance policies and will be prepared to teach remotely. Faculty will post new engagement and attendance policies that accommodate both in-person and remote learning. Students will follow new course policies as indicated on the syllabus, communicating regularly with faculty members. Student employees must notify a supervisor if they are experiencing symptoms. If students become symptomatic, test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed to another who is symptomatic or positive, the university will require them to quarantine, isolate or go home to reduce the spread to other Susquehanna community members.

Faculty and Staff:        

Faculty and staff experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who have reason to believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 must stay home (i.e., telework if possible or take leave), notify Human Resources by completing this form, and follow CDC Guidelines regarding self-monitoring, isolation, quarantine, or any other restrictions or required actions. Supervisors and department heads may send faculty or staff home if employees are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

COVID-19 Testing

The university will require COVID-19 testing for all faculty, staff and students prior to returning to campus (arriving for new students). There may be a need for subsequent testing as appropriate based on surveillance and/or symptoms of COVID-19.

  • Students are required to complete testing at home prior to coming to campus.  Information on how to access the university provided testing kit will be sent to their SU email address by Vault Health. The university will cover any cost not covered by individual insurance companies. Students who test positive must follow isolation requirements before traveling to campus.
  • Faculty and staff will be tested on campus in partnership with Geisinger Medical System. 

Self-reporting and Monitoring for Symptoms


  • Students should check temperatures daily to ensure good health.
  • Students are required to remain home/in their residence hall room when sick. Students should contact the Student Health Center if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, including  but not limited to a fever over 100.4° F, cough, shortness of breath or loss of taste and/or smell.

Faculty and Staff:

  • The University is requesting all employees perform a daily, well-being self-check before coming to work.
  • Faculty and staff experiencing COVID-19 symptomsincluding but not limited to a fever over 100.4° F, cough, sore throat, muscle aches or shortness of breath or who have reason to believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 must stay home (i.e., telework if possible or take leave), notify Human Resources by completing this form and follow CDC Guidelines regarding self-monitoring, isolation, quarantine or any other restrictions or required actions. They may return to campus after being fever-free for 24 hours and free of respiratory symptoms.

Protocol for Confirmed Case , Close Contact or Wastewater Testing

Any student, faculty or staff member who tests positive will be required to follow CDC/ WHO recommended health and safety guidelines including social isolation, quarantine and enhanced personal safety behaviors.

  • If a student tests positive for COVID-19, or has close exposure to another who is symptomatic or positive, the university will require the student to quarantine, isolate, or go home to reduce the spread to other community members. Students should contact the Student Health Center immediately.
  • If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, or has close exposure to another who is symptomatic or positive, the university will require the employee to follow  CDC Guidelines regarding self-monitoring, isolation, quarantine or any other restrictions or required actions and must notify Human Resources by completing this form.
  • Susquehanna will close off areas used by a symptomatic person, and possible persons with close contact, until cleaning and disinfecting is completed.
  • In the event of a presumptive or confirmed positive wastewater test of an on-campus residence, students in that building/area will be quarantined and individually tested for COVID-19.  See residence area quarantining and follow-up COVID-19 testing.
  • Students, faculty, and staff should be prepared to provide information about physical contact with other Susquehanna community members for contact tracing.

Mental Health

Understandably, some Susquehanna community members may feel anxious about the pandemic and its impacts.

  • Faculty and staff may contact the  Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
  • Students are encouraged to ask for help when needed for physical health, mental health and emotional wellbeing. Available support services for students include the Student Health Center, Counseling Center, Center for Academic Success, Residence Life, the CARE team, Religious & Spiritual Life, The Center for Diversity & Inclusion, Public Safety and the Dean of Students Office.
  • Please also visit cdc.gov for helpful tips to manage stress and anxiety.

Strategy to Coordinate with Local Health Officials

The university will maintain regular communication with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and regional healthcare organizations to report cases on campus, follow health developments within the region, and coordinate contact tracing and mitigation efforts as appropriate.

Strategy to Communicate Accurate and Timely Information

The university will regularly update its webpages to reflect the most current information. Should significant changes in practices or protocols take place, these will be announced by email to all campus constituents.