Guiding Principles

View the Spring 2021 Plan updates (Feb. 4, 2020)

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. 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 convert the semester to a fully remote environment.

No amount of planning can eliminate the risk of COVID-19. 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 – must play an active role.


Personal Hygeine and Safety Practices

Face Masks

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

  • Wear masks - for spring 2021, Susquehanna is strongly encouraging everyone to either wear a KN95 mask or double masks (e.g., nonmedical disposable mask under a cloth washable mask).
  • Acceptable face masks include KN95 masks, 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 single-layer gaiters (buffs), open-chin bandanas, face shields (when worn without masks), as well as masks with vents or exhalation valves. In winter, you can wear your scarf, ski mask or balaclava over your masks, but not as a substitute for a mask.

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

  • Indoors: Masks are required to 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, which are encouraged to be used as a second layer under a cloth mask, 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 individual 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

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.
  • Supplies, such as disinfectant wipes, tissues, paper towels, and disposable gloves will be  available for faculty, staff, and students to wipe down desks, lab equipment, and other shared objects and surfaces.
  • 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.

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.

Classrooms

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.

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:

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.

Common Spaces

  • 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 can do grab-and-go meals at Evert Dining Room, Bento Sushi, Scholarly Grounds, Starbucks and Ele's. The Hawk's Nest is open only for students.
    • Increased paper products will be used throughout campus.
  • Additional outdoor spaces for dining, academic activities and physically-distanced gatherings have been designated across campus to maximize the use of fresh, outdoor areas.

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.

Restrooms

  • 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 of 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" and the COVID19 Testing Consent form prior to arriving to campus.  Here is a preview of the forms
  • All students are required to take a COVID-19 testing the day they return to campus for the spring 2021 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 are recommended to have a seasonal flu shot. Susquehanna will have some available on campus as needed.
  • For individual and community protection, students are expected to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.
  • 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

Move In and Arrival Testing

  • Students are to complete the Campus Arrival Registrationunder Apps and Forms on the Housing Self Service site before selecting a check-in time.  Staggered move-in times are as follows:
    • Seniors and resident assistants will move in Feb. 6-7.
    • Juniors will move in Feb. 13-14.
    • Sophomores and first-year students will move in Feb. 16, 20-21
  • Students will take a COVID-19 test immediately upon their arrival to campus. This should be the same time you selected on Housing Self Service as your Move In Time. Students are not permitted to move into their residence hall room until receiving a negative test result:
    • In contrast to the fall, we will be testing students upon their arrival to campus this spring. Students’ self selected move in time will be their testing time..Early move-in will not be permitted this spring.
    • Students should be prepared to return home or have a separately packed quarantine bag with supplies needed for 10 days in quarantine should they test positive for COVID-19.
    • Testing will occur in Garrett Field House. All students should arrive directly to the Garrett/Smith parking lot and walk to Garrett for their rapid test
    • After testing, students will be directed to an individual classroom to wait for their test result. After receiving a negative test result, students will be permitted to drive to their residence hall for move-in
    • Students testing positive will be directed to return home or travel to a designated quarantine space on or off campus, and follow appropriate guidelines for the return to campus after the quarantine period is over.
    • In addition to the on-campus rapid test provided on the day of arrival, students traveling a distance are encouraged to have an additional COVID-19 PCR test taken in their hometown within 72 hours of arriving to campus. This will limit the number of students testing positive on arrival and therefore needing to either immediately quarantine or return home.

Expectations for Residence Halls, Guests, Random Testing and COVID Preparedness

  • Non-Susquehanna students are not permitted in any residence halls, townhouses, apartments, suites and small houses. This includes parents and other family members.
  • Susquehanna students studying remotely are not permitted in any residence halls, townhouses, apartments, suites and small houses.
  • Students are permitted to have one student guest in their individual room. Guests must be a resident of that building and all students must wear masks when guests are present in the room.
  • Susquehanna commuter students and residential students from other buildings may visit first floor lounges and common rooms of buildings, townhouses, apartments and suites. All students must wear masks and abide by room capacity numbers.
  • Overnight guests are not permitted.
  • Students should have a quarantine bag complete with 10-day supply of items needed ready and prominently available in the room should a student be required to quarantine outside of their room.
  • Communicating directly with family members, students should create an emergency campus evacuation plan should circumstances warrant any possible closure of residential housing.
  • For spring 2021, 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, students may be required to quarantine and take a COVID test prior to returning to campus. Students are not permitted to visit other college campuses.
  • Students needing to work are encouraged to work on campus. Additional work opportunities are available by contacting studentemployment@susqu.edu. Students are permitted to work off campus, but must register their off-campus employment prior to Feb. 8, 2021
  • Scheduled Testing Protocol. Each week, students will be scheduled to be tested twice a week with a nasal swab test. Results will be available the same day.

Commuter Student Expectations

  • Commuter students have the option of studying remotely. Commuter students who are at high risk for COVID based on living arrangement, off-campus employment, or other reasons are encouraged to study remotely and should contact VPSL@susqu.edu if they would like to take that option and have not already registered as remote learners.
  • Commuter students are able to start attending classes along with seniors on February 8 pending a negative COVID test result.
  • Commuter students can provide a negative test result from a local COVID19 PCR test within 72 hours of February 8 or register for a campus COVID test on Feb. 1 or 2. Commuter students not registered as remote learners will be sent an online form to register for a test.
  • 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, students may be required to quarantine and take a COVID test prior to returning to classes on campus. 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). 
  • Scheduled Testing Protocol. Each week, students will be scheduled to be tested twice a week with a nasal swab test. Results will be available the same day.

University Travel and Quarantine Guidelines

  • 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.

Class and Work Arrangements

Course Modalities, Modifications and Adaptations

  • Classes 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 spring 2021 are 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.

Spring 2021 Academic Calendar

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

  • Under a revised spring 2021 calendar, classes will begin remotely for all students on Monday, Jan. 25.
  • Students will be allowed to sign up to move onto campus between Feb. 6 and Feb. 21, with the first weekend (Feb. 6-7) reserved for seniors and RAs. An online reservation scheduling system will be made available for all students to sign up for move-in.
  • There will be three midweek one-day breaks.
  • Finals will be administered on campus, beginning May 6-11.

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 contacting Human Resources via email.

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 contacting Human Resources via email.
  • 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.

Students:

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 emailing humanresources@susqu.edu, 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 requires COVID-19 testing for all faculty and staff prior to returning to campus for the spring. Students should refer to the Residential Living and Commuter Students Expectation sections of this Plan for testing requirements for spring.

There will be subsequent testing as appropriate for students, faculty and staff, based on surveillance and/or symptoms of COVID-19.

Self-reporting and Monitoring for Symptoms

Students:

  • 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 symptoms, including 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 or Close Contact

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 emailing humanresources@susqu.edu.
  • Susquehanna will close off areas used by a symptomatic person, and possible persons with close contact, until cleaning and disinfecting is completed.
  • 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.

Students

Faculty and Staff

  • For faculty and staff, SU offers two Employee Assistance Programs to all faculty and staff:
    • New Direction: Visit the website and enter login code: Susquehanna. For telephone counseling and consultations, call 800-624-5544.
    • The Standard: Visit the website or call 888-293-6948 for counseling and consultations.
  • 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.