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Spring 2021 COVID-19 Updates for Returning to Campus - A Message from the EVP

by Dr. Gerard J. Joyce, Executive Vice President, COVID-19 Campus Liaison Jan 15, 2021

January 15, 2021

Dear University Community,

The start of the spring 2021 semester is just a few weeks away.  As previously communicated, the first day of class for the traditional undergraduate students will begin on Monday, February 1st.   Br. Dan Wisniewski, OSFS, provost, shared the Academic Guidelines for Students or the Academic Guidelines for Faculty with you on Friday, January 8th.  Please review this document so you are prepared to reenter the learning environment.  The University has spent the winter break preparing for your return.  We learned much from the fall semester and have made enhancements to the COVID-19 policies for keeping members of the DeSales University community safe.  We will continue to comply with the guidelines for the  Center for Disease Control (CDC) , the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Preliminary Guidance for Resuming In-Person Instruction at Postsecondary Education Institutions and Adult Education Programs and, the  Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Planning Guide and Self-Assessment.  

An important enhancement added to the spring semester is an increase in COVID-19 testing.  DeSales University, in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network, will use the Spring 2021 Testing Guidelines prior to the start of classes.  Graduate students enrolled in full-time programs and students enrolled in the Accelerated BSN program will be tested prior to the start of the spring terms.  Full-time traditional day students who commute to the University on a daily basis will be tested on Friday January 29th.  Resident students will be tested on Saturday January 30th and Sunday January 31st.  Full-time traditional days student will receive a separate communication from Ms. Jennifer Bunting, Assistant Dean for Campus Life and Student Conduct, with instructions about scheduling your testing time on your assigned arrival day.  Students choosing not be tested will be prohibited from returning to campus for in-class instruction.  The University will also conduct surveillance testing on a weekly basis.     

DeSales University is limited in the number of isolation spaces available for student who test positive for COVID-19.  The updated Isolation and Quarantine Policy is designed to maximize available isolation and quarantine spaces.  Students who test positive on the day they return to campus from Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia will be required to return home to complete their isolation protocols for the first 10 days of the semester.  Full-time traditional day students, who live in a state or county outside those listed above, will be provided isolation on-campus.  If you are required to return home for an isolation period and have an extenuating circumstance that prohibits you from doing so, please send a request to Gerard.Joyce@desales.edu.  Residential students will receive a prorated Room and Board refund for their required isolation period.   These policies will also be in effect for the last two weeks of the semester.

The University will enforce COVID-19 mitigation strategies that were recommended by the CDC including: wearing a mask, staying six feet apart, and avoiding crowds.  Unfortunately, not all members of the DeSales University community followed similar guidelines in the fall.  As a campus community, we must all do our part to keep the other members of our community safe. Students experiencing COVID related symptoms during the semester will continue to utilized the COVID line at 610-282-1150.  The Office of Student Conduct has developed a COVID-19 Conduct Policy for those who do not comply.  It is our hope that your cooperation with these policies will allow for limited interruptions to your academic success.  

In closing, we look forward to your return for in-class instruction, and I want to thank all of the members of our DeSales University community for your continued cooperation.  I wish you all much success in the spring 2021 semester.

Sincerely,
Dr. Gerard J. Joyce
Executive Vice President
COVID-19 Campus Liaison