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COVID-19 Health & Safety Information

 

The “We” in Westminster has never been more important than it is right now.

The following COVID-19 health and safety measures are in effect as of Saturday, March 12, 2022. Following the current CDC guidance, the College will use a combination of CDC's COVID-19 community level for Lawrence County, PA and the on-campus positivity rate. We continue to emphasize the fluid and responsive nature of our policies, which will be updated as we adapt to new or updated federal and state guidelines. 

Current COVID-19 Campus Level - LOW/MEDIUM 

Current community level for Lawrence County, PA
Low
Current campus COVID-19 Positivity Rate
4%

Low/Medium Level

When the Lawrence County community level is low or medium and the Westminster College positivity rate is less than 10%, we will operate using prevention steps consistent with CDC’s guidance for Low and Medium community levels:

  • Masking is optional, with the following exceptions:
    • Academic departments or individual faculty members may require students and guests to be masked while inside classrooms or other academic spaces.
    • Individual members of the campus community may require masks in their offices or departments when meeting indoors from more than 15 minutes where social distancing is not possible.
  • Masking is required in the Wellness Center.
  • Encourage vaccination.
  • Testing of symptomatic individuals.

High Level

When the Lawrence County community level is high or the Westminster College positivity rate is above 10%, we will operate using prevention steps consistent with CDC’s High community levels:

  • Masking is required indoors.
  • Encourage vaccination.
  • Testing of symptomatic individuals.

 

Spring Break Re-Entry Testing 


Regardless of COVID-19 campus level, randomized testing of students (regardless of vaccination status) will be conducted by the Wellness Center for two weeks following Spring break. Students who were positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days will be exempt from testing. Selected students will be contacted individually to schedule an appointment. No fees will be assessed for re-entry testing and testing will be by rapid antigen. After re-entry testing, we will move to testing of symptomatic individuals. 

 

Vaccination 


Vaccination is the leading prevention strategy to protect individuals from illness related to contracting the COVID-19 virus. Westminster strongly encourages students, employees and visitors to be fully vaccinated. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated when they:

  • Are within two months of having completed the primary series (one dose) of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine;
  • Are within five months of having completed the primary series (two doses) of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines; or
  • Have received a booster vaccine, if beyond the two months of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or beyond the five months of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Fully vaccinated individuals are also encouraged to receive a booster shot when they are eligible receive one.

 

Vaccination Status Reporting

Students should upload their vaccination records, including any information related to a booster shot, to the Student Health Portal. Employees should report their vaccination status to Human Resources. Individuals who do not report their vaccination status are assumed to be unvaccinated. 

 

Wearing Masks


In accordance with current CDC guidelines, indoor mask requirements are based on the COVID-19 campus level. If the campus level is High, masks are required indoors. If the campus level is Low/Medium, masks are optional in most instances, though they are required in Wellness Center and may be required by academic and administrative departments.

KN95, N95s, or 3-ply surgical masks are recommended. Masks must completely cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of the face without gaps.

 

Physical Distancing & Hygiene


Close contacts are defined as individuals who have been within 6 feet of someone infected with COVID-19 for 15 cumulative minutes over a 24-hour period, masked or unmasked. In general, CDC recommends people who are not up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccines should continue to practice physical distancing, especially if they are at higher risk of getting very sick with COVID-19.

Additionally, faculty, staff, and students should practice good handwashing hygiene and respiratory etiquette as described by the CDC.

 

On-Campus Housing


The residence halls are living spaces that seek to provide both a safe place to live and a respite from the maintenance of daily safety procedures. Residence Hall protocols are based on COVID-19 campus levels.

Low/Medium Level

  • Masking is optional.
  • COVID-19 limitations to residence hall visitation are lifted.
  • Students may visit fraternity houses under the guidelines and policies set forth by IFC and individual fraternity chapters.

High Level

  • Masking is required in residence halls, except when students are in the privacy of their own rooms.
  • Student visitation is limited to in between residence halls.
  • Non-student guests are not permitted, with the exception of Admission or Athletic-sponsored overnights.

 

Classrooms


Westminster returned to fully in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 academic year, with no plan for virtual or hybrid instruction. The academic year is proceeding along the following guidelines, with adjustments made as necessary to comply with Commonwealth and CDC recommendations:

  • When the campus COVID-19 level is Low/Medium, individual faculty will have discretion about requiring masking of all students within their classrooms, laboratories and offices.
  • In-person attendance is expected for all classes, labs, seminars, and performances, unless they are designated as Online in the schedule of classes. Faculty members will not be required or expected to provide virtual or hybrid instruction via Zoom or similar technologies, though they may do so at their own discretion.
  • Students who do not attend classes, labs or other academic activities will be held to the principles of the College’s attendance policy, as described in the Catalog. Faculty members may have additional attendance requirements that are outlined in their course syllabi.
  • As always, reasonable accommodations will be offered for students who are working with the Office of Disability Resources, noting that COVID infections and related quarantine/isolation do not require academic accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Though Pennsylvania no longer requires physical distancing, enrollment capacities for academic spaces will be based on three feet of distance between students.
  • Students who are studying abroad or participating in College-sponsored travel (e.g., conferences supported by Drinko funds, travel courses, field trips) are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated. Further, prior to making any travel plans, students should familiarize themselves with any COVID regulations or policies in place for the host site, as they will be subject to those policies.
  • Faculty, staff, students, chaperones, and family members participating in College-sponsored extended travel (multiple consecutive overnights are required to provide a negative COVID test prior to departure. The text must be taken within 72 hours if it is a PCR test OR within 24 hours if a rapid antigen test.
  • Students participating in internships, field experiences, student teaching, and clinical rotations should consult their site supervisor about COVID regulations and policies that exist at the site.

 

Communal Spaces


Communal spaces include but are not limited to, dining halls, locker rooms, McGill Library, Wallace Memorial Chapel, lobbies, lounges, and fitness centers. These spaces will operate at normal occupancy, though physical distancing is recommended whenever possible. 

 

Campus Dining


The College has worked with Sodexo, our dining partner, to provide compliant food services. All Titan cards and credit cards will be swiped by the individual cardholder. Cashiers will be protected by acrylic shields. Food may be ordered at kiosks to reduce the number of guests in lines. An online ordering program is available so that students may order ahead for pickup. 

 

Events and Gatherings


Crowded settings still present a risk of transmission as they bring together people from different communities. Event planners may require participants to mask regardless of the campus COVID-19 level, and should communicate this in advance of the event. 

 

Travel & Transportation


Faculty, staff, students, chaperones, and family members participating in College-sponsored extended travel (multiple consecutive overnights) are required to provide a negative COVID test prior to departure. The text must be taken within 72 hours if it is a PCR test OR within 24 hours if a rapid antigen test. The testing requirement to travel applies to student organizations, athletic teams, off-campus study, course- or program-related field trips or travel components, and Drinko-funded activity.

Additionally, students who are participating in College-sponsored travel are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated. Faculty may require vaccination for domestic travel, and all College-sponsored trips will comply with destination site requirements, which may include a vaccine requirement for participants.

Study abroad and international travel are subject to destination policies and CDC guidance. Effective August 25, 2021, the CDC statement on travel instructs individuals not to travel internationally unless fully vaccinated. International travel that is initiated under the August 25, 2021 guidance will follow the guidance even when the CDC policies are updated.

Student organization-sponsored travel should follow the CDC travel guidelines.

The Campus Shuttle has resumed services and will be operational for all students.

Out of concern for our employees and those with whom they come in contact, employees must have proof of vaccination on file with Human Resources or have an approved exemption prior to beginning College-sponsored travel. Employees should follow the CDC travel guidelines related to travel for personal travel.

 

Titan Athletics


The development of Athletic policies for student-athletes and game day events will comply with the NCAA Sport Science Institute, the President’s Athletic Conference, and other College policies. NCAA Guidelines are expected to be short-term and will be updated regularly. 

 

Masking Related to Varsity Athletic Activity When COVID-19 Campus Level is High

  • Training/Competition - No mask requirement.
  • Team Travel - Universal masking required.
  • Team Meetings - Universal masking required for indoor meetings.
  • Training Room - Universal masking required. 

Extended Travel COVID Protocol 

The Extended Athletic Travel COVID Protocol applies to all athletics-related travel (e.g., any trip involving a multiple-night stay). To be eligible for extended travel with an athletic team, athletes and their parents/guardians must complete and return the Extended Athletic Travel Agreement form acknowledging their understanding of and plans to comply with the Protocol.

 

Daily Health Checks


Regardless of their vaccination status, all members of the campus community should monitor their health daily, using the free COVID Alert PA app (available through the App Store or Google Play) or using CDC’s Symptoms of COVID-19.

The COVID Alert PA app is available through the Google Play Store of Apple App Store. In the app, you can opt-in to receive alerts if you have had a potential exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. More information about the app is available on the COVID Alert PA page.

Any person with new or unexplained symptoms of COVID-19 must isolate and be evaluated for COVID-19 testing, regardless of vaccination status.

 

COVID-19 Testing


 

Reentry Testing (Spring Break)

Regardless of COVID-19 campus level, randomized testing of students (regardless of vaccination status) will be conducted by the Wellness Center for two weeks following Spring break. Students who were positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days will be exempt from testing. Selected students will be contacted individually to schedule an appointment. No fees will be assessed for re-entry testing and testing will be by rapid antigen. After re-entry testing, we will move to testing of symptomatic individuals.

 

Diagnostic Testing

Employees and students who have signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should receive diagnostic testing. The Wellness Center will conduct diagnostic testing for students who are symptomatic. Appointments are required for testing. Students should contact the Wellness Center immediately if they become symptomatic. Employees should contact their primary care physician or other COVID testing site for diagnostic testing.  

 

Contact Tracing


The Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) has estimated that given the magnitude of COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth, it will need to partner with communities for contact tracing during the phases of reopening. The number of individuals needed to perform contact tracing will vary depending on multiple factors, including the daily number of cases and burden of outbreaks, the number of contacts identified, how quickly individuals are isolated and contacts notified and quarantined, and the willingness and acceptance of the community to adhere to recommended public health measures. Members of the campus community are required to cooperate with the contact tracing protocols.

 

Isolation and Quarantine


Isolation is the term used to separate individuals who are ill with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, have tested positive, or are presumed positive and awaiting test results.

Quarantine is a term used to separate individuals who have been identified as close contacts of an individual who has tested positive to see if they become sick.

 

Exposure to COVID-19 (Close Contact/Quarantine)


The College will follow CDC guidance related to quarantine periods for individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19. See the CDC’s website for current information. As of this policy update on January 9, 2022, the CDC recommends the following:

Individuals Who Are NOT Up-to-Date on COVID-19 Vaccination OR Are Unvaccinated

  • Quarantine for 5 days.
  • Get tested at at least 5 days after last exposure.
  • For days 6-10, wear a well-fitted mask any time you are around others.

Individuals Who Are Up-to-Date with Vaccination OR Had Confirmed COVID-19 within the Past 90 Days

  • Do not need to quarantine unless symptoms develop.
  • Get tested at at least 5 days after last exposure.
  • Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others.

Additional Information for Students

Unvaccinated students will be asked to quarantine at home, if possible. In the event that a student cannot return home for quarantine, they will be moved to a designated quarantine room on campus. Students who are quarantining at home can be tested at any off-campus testing facility and must upload their negative test to the Student Health Portal to be cleared to return to campus after day 7. Students are not eligible for refunds of housing or meal plans as a result of quarantine or isolation.

Fully vaccinated students must have proof of vaccination on record with the Wellness Center.

Additional Information for Employees

Unvaccinated employees who have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and should not report to campus. If remote work is not possible, employees may use Temporary COVID-19 Pandemic Leave and should contact Human Resources for more information. Employees should be tested off-campus. 

 

Positive for COVID-19


The College will follow CDC guidance related to quarantine periods for individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19. See the CDC’s website for current information. As of this policy update on January 9, 2022, the CDC recommends the following:

Individuals Who Test Positive for COVID-19 or Who Are Probable for COVID-19

  • Isolate for at least 5 days.
  • Get tested on day 5.
  • Isolation can end after 5 full days if your antigen test is negative AND either you are fever-free for 24 hours and your symptoms are improving OR you did not have COVID symptoms.
  • Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others.

Additional Information for Students

Students who have COVID-19 will be asked to remain on-campus to avoid exposing their family members at home. During isolation, they will reside in designated residence hall rooms with private bathrooms. Signage with telehealth and dining instructions, important campus contact information, and check out instructions will be provided in each room. Campus custodial staff will disinfect and sanitize each room after use.

Additional Information for Employees

Employees who test positive should notify Human Resources so that case investigation and contact tracing can be conducted. They should inform their supervisor. If remote work is not possible, employees may use Temporary COVID-19 Pandemic Leave and should contact Human Resources for more information.  

 

Cleaning & Disinfecting


Physical Plant will continue to provide daily cleaning of classrooms, bathrooms, and public spaces. Physical Plant will disinfect areas when high transmission of COVID-19 occurs or when a space has been occupied by a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Where sanitation stations have been provided, a shared responsibility for cleaning and disinfecting spaces between uses is encouraged.

 

Contact Us


If you have questions or concerns about the information and requirements related to these health & safety measures, or if you need to report non-compliance, please email us at healthycampus@westminster.edu.