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2020-2021 Plan

Fall Arrival, Orientation & Start Dates

Arrival Dates

All residential students will follow a highly-controlled, phased move-in and will be assigned a specific move-in date and time.

  • Resident Assistants return to campus on August 2 (Training August 3-9).
  • Student Orientation Leaders return on August 8 (Training August 9-12).
  • Most fall student athletes* return on August 10.
  • Marching Band students return on August 11.
  • First-year students arrive on August 13.
  • Transfer students arrive on August 13.
  • Upperclass students will arrive on August 14-16.

*Fall athletes: Your coach will contact you directly to let you know when you should arrive on campus.

See Student Life / Move-in Day for more detailed information.

Orientation for New First-Year Students and Transfer Students

New Student Orientation is on August 14-16.

This year’s Orientation will include both in-person and virtual sessions. Though we will be physically distancing, we are committed to providing an exciting, community-focused and informative Orientation program.

A detailed orientation schedule will be communicated via email by August 1.

First Day of Classes

Fall semester classes begin on Monday, August 17.

See the Academics section for more detailed information about the academic calendar.

Daily Health Self-Checks

For purposes of monitoring the health of the community and providing students with care, all students, faculty and staff will be required to complete a daily health self-check prior to leaving their residence hall or place of residence.

Students showing symptoms associated with COVID-19, or who have had close contact with a person with COVID-19, should self-isolate in their residence and contact the Wellness Center immediately. For more information see the Student Life / Wellness Center section.

Employees showing symptoms associated with COVID-19, or who have had close contact with a person with COVID-19, should NOT come to work. They must seek care from their primary health care provider and report their symptoms to their supervisor. For more information see the Information for Employees / Employees with COVID-19 Symptoms section.

CDC’s criteria will be used to inform return to work/class policies for students and employees.

For more information about the College’s plan in the event of a community member tests positive for COVID-19, see Virus Mitigation & Containment.

Face Coverings, Physical Distancing & Gatherings

In Pennsylvania, masks are required in all public indoor and outdoor spaces. Everyone on campus is required to wear a cloth face covering or mask over the nose and mouth when indoors and in the same room as others, and when outdoors if 6-foot physical distancing cannot be consistently maintained. This includes classrooms, public restrooms, open office and common spaces, hallways, meeting rooms, the library Mueller Theater and other indoor spaces.

Face coverings are also required outdoors when 6-foot physical distancing cannot be consistently maintained.

Face shields are acceptable as long as they are worn at the same time as a cloth facial covering.

Physical Distancing

Limit close contact with others and whenever possible maintain a minimum physical distance of at least 6 feet. Be particularly mindful of your distance from others in small spaces including hallways, stairwells and restrooms. When you are walking in a hallway or on the sidewalk, stay on the right side according to the direction you are heading in order to maximize distance when passing others.

To encourage appropriate distancing, we have changed the layout of many of our indoor campus spaces, including classrooms, laboratories, studios, dining rooms, offices, lounges and other common spaces.

Limiting the Size of Gatherings

Under green phase social restrictions in Pennsylvania, large gatherings of more than 250 people are prohibited. Further, for all gatherings, 6-foot distancing guidelines must be followed.

Any music concerts will be held in a venue that allows for physical distancing with no more than 250 persons attending and participating. No Celebrity Series events will be held during the fall semester.

Cleaning & Disinfecting

Prior to our return to campus, Physical Plant completed a deep cleaning of all campus buildings.

Physical Plant staff will clean learning spaces daily, and they will ensure that hand sanitizing stations are stocked throughout campus. Further, cleaning products will be available across campus (in offices, classrooms, computer labs, etc.) so that we can sanitize the equipment and furniture we use. If we all regularly sanitize public equipment and furniture (i.e., desks, tables, computers) before we use it, we can reduce our chances of exposure and spread.

Ventilation Systems

Where possible, HVAC systems that introduce fresh air into the buildings have been adjusted to produce the maximum amount of fresh air movement through the building. The setting of each unit will be adjusted daily based upon weather conditions where possible. We have also employed higher efficiency filters, adjusted the frequency of filter changes and adjusted building schedules to provide additional hours of system operations.

Individuals who work or reside in rooms with windows that open are also encouraged to increase the circulation of outside air by opening windows and closing doors, as weather conditions permit.

Travel Policies

Out-of-State Travel Advisory

Anyone who resides in or has traveled to any of the states the Pennsylvania Department of Health website has identified as having a high amount of COVID-19 cases will need to quarantine for 14 days upon their return to Pennsylvania.

Any student whose permanent address is in one of these states received an email in early July about the state quarantine mandate and Student Affairs is working with these students individually to establish a quarantine plan.

Employees are strongly encouraged to avoid travel to the states require a 14-day quarantine upon return to Pennsylvania. If such travel does occur, work supervisors should be notified, and the employee cannot return to campus until after quarantine.

Travel During the Academic Year

All members of the campus community should avoid overnight trips and plan to remain in the local area. The semester is designed so that all courses, including final exams, end before Thanksgiving.

Students will leave campus after their last final exam of the fall 2020 semester and they may not return until the spring semester.

All employee nonessential business travel requires permission of the employee’s vice president or director. In compliance with State Department guidelines, no College-sponsored international travel for employees or students is authorized at this time.

Virus Mitigation & Containment


In the event of a positive case of COVID-19, Student Affairs or Human Resources will notify campus that a community member tested positive; close contacts will receive communication with necessary instructions through the College’s contact tracing protocols. The campus will also be notified of any area closures or heightened physical distancing protocols at that time.

Short- or Long-Term Closures

If a community member tests positive for COVID-19, a building or campus area may be temporarily closed for up to two days to allow for extensive cleaning. Should multiple diagnoses occur, on the recommendation of the Department of Health or other official body, the campus may be closed for a two-week period or such period as deemed necessary to allow for self-quarantining. If this happens, academic instruction will move temporarily to virtual delivery.

Information about any closures will be shared with members of the community through the campus ReGroup ALERT system texts/calls, email, and the College website. Please take a moment to check your ReGroup system preferences and cell phone number by going to and logging in with your Westminster email and password.

Contact Tracing

The Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) has estimated that given the magnitude of COVID-19 cases in the state, that later in the phases of reopening, the PA DOH will need to partner with communities for contact tracing. Therefore, Westminster will train and utilize student workers to conduct contact tracing.

  • The online Johns Hopkins contact tracing course and CDC resources will be used for training.
  • Contact tracers will be supervised by the Director of the Wellness Center who will collaborate with the local DOH.
  • A protocol will be developed to assist with interviews and health education of cases and contacts.