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COVID-19 Announcements

COVID-19 preparations for fall 2021

Thursday, July 15, 2021

July is halfway over, which is a signal that the academic year is quickly approaching. We hope you’ve been enjoying a fun, renewing, and productive summer. Westminster College will be returning to fully in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 academic year, and we are strongly encouraging vaccination. This position has not changed, and the policies you can expect for fall will reflect this position. Faculty and staff have spent the summer preparing for in-person classes and services, and we are not planning for remote or hybrid learning at the level you experienced last year. We are committed to providing you with a safe living and learning environment. In fact, nearly 70% of employees have been vaccinated and this number is increasing daily.

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Reentry Testing & Quiet Phase Conclude

Thursday, January 21, 2021

At this time, we have completed the College’s Reentry Testing process. Over 1300 tests were administered with a positivity rate of 1%.  An additional 10 positive cases were identified through our pre-arrival testing requirement for students.  Pre-arrival tests were conducted at home prior to students’ return, so these numbers will not be included in our dashboard statistics.
 
Beginning Friday, January 22, the Reentry Quiet Phase will conclude and normal activity that complies with the College’s pandemic plan and our mitigation strategies may resume.
 
Now we will move into our surveillance testing protocols. A detailed email is forthcoming.
 
Please be reminded to conduct daily health checks, wash your hands regularly, wear your mask, and remain physically distanced from others.  May we, as a College community, remain healthy, well, and committed to working together toward a successful semester.

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Reentry Testing and Quiet Phase Thursday, January 14 through Thursday, January 21

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Thank you, all, for your cooperation, questions, and feedback regarding our reentry testing procedures.   Pre-arrival testing is an important part of our safe reopening, providing us with a solid assessment of the health and well-being of our campus community. Students - If you have been tested off campus and are awaiting your results, thank you. Please post those results to the Student Health Portal as you receive them. To date, only a small percentage of students have submitted their pre-arrival COVID test results and a number of those are positive. Many more students are reporting difficulty getting testing and we understand this. This is why we are requiring on campus testing as well.

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COVID-19 Response Weekly Update

Monday, January 11, 2021

Last semester we reported positive cases as we received the results from the laboratory. We learned this created much anxiety across campus. With the addition of surveillance testing this semester, we anticipate more positive results and want to share this information with the campus in such a way that supports a healthy community without creating undue stress. As such, we will send weekly updates with case counts and quarantine numbers at the same time as the COVID dashboard is updated. These messages will be sent on Monday afternoons. We hope this will be a welcome change.

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Testing Required: Not cleared to return to class until tested

Friday, January 8, 2021

You are receiving this email because you are a non-residential student who has not scheduled your testing time. Hopefully this email helps clear up our expectations.
 
Do I need to be tested before I return to campus? YES! We are asking you to have a PCR test prior to your return to campus and to upload those results to the Student Health Portal.  You will need to schedule this with a testing center near you.
 
How long before returning to campus should I be tested ? We are discovering that turnaround times for test results are much longer than anticipated. We recommend that you contact your local testing center and ask how long it will take to get your results. Then schedule far enough in advance that you can a) receive your results AND b) upload them to the Student Health Portal before you return to campus.  Ideally, your test would be no more than 5-6 days before your return.
 
Do I also need to be tested upon arrival to campus? YES! Please see the link below to schedule your testing appointment and report directly to Old 77. Your testing date is January 12 and you must use the non-residential student link to schedule.
 
What if I previously tested positive for COVID within the last 90 days? – You do not need to be tested on campus, but you do need to notify the Wellness Center and ensure your results are on file. If you were tested off campus, you’ll need to upload your positive results to the Student Health Portal.
 
TESTING REQUIRED – You are not permitted to attend class without being tested, unless you have had a positive COVID test within the last 90 days.  Tomorrow and Monday are the last days to sign up for a testing. Please do so immediately.

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Testing Appointments and Move In Details

Monday, January 4, 2021

Below is the initial email I sent before the holidays. There is a good deal of information contained and I know there is confusion. Thank you for your patience and for asking questions that help me understand what is not clear.  I’m hoping this follow up email will provide some clarity.
 

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Testing Appointments and Move In Details

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

As you know from the email sent last week, we are implementing new testing policies per PA guidelines. These testing policies begin at move-in and extend into surveillance testing throughout the semester.
Testing Appointments and Move-In will take place Thursday, January 14-Monday, January 18, 2021. The move-in process will be scheduled and staggered in order to prioritize the health and safety of our community. Please read the following information closely as the policy changes impact how we will conduct check-in appointments and move-in.
1. Pre-arrival quarantine and testing – Students are strongly encouraged to quarantine for 10-14 days prior to arrival and to get tested within 72-hours of your return. Quarantine will strengthen our ability to open strong and testing pre-arrival helps you manage your plans. Test results should be uploaded to the Student Health Portal. Students who do not provide a negative test result prior to arrival will be required to quarantine in their room on campus until a negative test result is received. Students who have had COVID within the last 90 days do not need to be tested, but must provide documentation by submitting the test result to the Student Health Portal if the testing was conducted off campus.
2. Pre-arrival symptom check – Before you leave home, check your temperature and signs of any symptoms. If you have symptoms or a temp above 100.4, stay home and contact Patrick Bussiere  (bussiepj@westminster.edu) as soon as possible to talk about your options.
3. Student Code of Conduct Addendum – Read, respond, and submit the addendum to the student code of conduct.
 
Scheduling your Testing Appointments and Move-In
* Schedule your testing appointment here https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=21015876&
* Appointments must be scheduled at least one week prior to your anticipated move in date.
 
What you can expect at testing check-in and move in
* Arrive at Old 77 for your testing appointment. If your test results are negative, you will be able to move into your residence hall. If you test positive, you will be required to isolate. Students who live within 6 hours from campus will be asked to return home to isolate. Students outside that range will isolate in Thompson House.
* Students who are not tested prior to arrival on campus will be tested using a PCR test and will be required to quarantine in their room until a negative test result is received (24-48 hours). They may leave only to pick up meals in the dining halls.
* Students who are tested within 72-hours of arrival to campus will be tested using a rapid antigen test. If the rapid test result is negative, the student will not be required to quarantine.
 
Additional Notes
* Each student will have a 30-minute window for move-in. Those who are newly moving to campus will have a 90-minute window.
* You are permitted to have 1 individual assist you. All will be required to wear a mask, follow physical distancing requirements, and sanitize their hands frequently. If anyone who is assisting you is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, they should not come to campus with you.
* In order to ensure appropriate physical distancing, you and your roommate should not plan to move-in at the same time. Please talk with your roommate about your plans prior to signing up for a check-in and testing time.
* Westminster College will not be providing any shared moving bins or dollies. Please plan accordingly.
* Your meal plan will be active and dining facilities will be open beginning January 14, 2021.
* First year & transfer students – In addition to testing, you must have all your health forms completed in order to move into the residence halls.  Please view your New Student Checklist to make sure you’ve completed all your preparation items. You will be contacted by Residence Life to schedule your move in time on Saturday, January 16.

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COVID policy updates and testing protocols

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Earlier this year, we shared the updated COVID-19 Reopening Plans for Westminster and announced new testing protocols for Spring semester. Since then, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and CDC have updated their guidelines for higher education. As such, we’ve needed to adapt our policies and will continue to do so if necessary as guidelines change. This email includes policy updates and details about our revised testing protocols.

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Quiet Phase

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

In the past few weeks, the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 around the country, including western Pennsylvania, has surged. We have also seen an increase in positive cases on our campus, though our positivity rate remains relatively low.  It is our goal to finish the semester strong, to slow the spread of the virus on our campus, and to help protect the family members, friends and loved ones you will soon be traveling to see. To that end, we are implementing a Quiet Phase, effective Wednesday, November 11 at 8 a.m.  The following strategies are designed to limit your close contacts for the next two weeks. For the remainder of the semester, students should only leave their rooms or apartments for the following:

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Adjusted Academic Calendar for Spring 2021

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Dear Titans,  Earlier this morning, the Board of Trustees approved an adjusted academic calendar for the spring 2021 semester.  The adjusted calendar mirrors much of what the College has done this fall in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Key highlights:  1. Spring classes will begin on Tuesday, January 19.  2.  Spring break has been removed to avoid potential exposure through mass exit and return.  3. Two self-care days have been added to the calendar when classes will not be held.  4. Good Friday will be observed with no classes, but classes will be held on the Thursday before and after Easter.  5. We plan to hold URAC on April 21, combining in-person and virtual events to showcase student scholarship and creativity.  6.  We plan to hold Commencement on Saturday, May 8, assuming no additional federal or commonwealth mandates that limit our ability to do so.  More information about Commencement will be sent to eligible graduates in mid-spring.

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