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Updated COVID-19 Protocols Begin Monday, August 16, 2021

by Gerard J. Joyce, Ph.D. Executive Vice President Aug 11, 2021

Dear University Community,

In a few short weeks, we will kick off the fall 2021 semester. We are excited to welcome everyone to campus, especially our largest class of first-year undergraduate students, for what we hope will be a normal university experience with a traditional academic calendar.

The best guarantee to ensure a normal—and safe! —experience on campus for the fall semester is for every community member to be vaccinated.  As we are strongly encouraging the COVID-19 vaccination, please remember: The vaccine is the safest and most effective way to protect our community from serious illness and accelerate our ability to operate with no interruption to our standard learning and living environments.  As a Catholic, Salesian university, we gently remind everyone that becoming vaccinated has been called a “moral obligation” by Pope Francis.  You can view a list of vaccine providers here.  

Additionally, we are working diligently to learn the rates of vaccination among our community; these are essential data to help us address the health of all of our members.  To this end, we ask you to honor our request with our reporting effort:

  • Students: If you haven’t already shared your vaccination status, we ask that you do so now, using this secure form
  • Faculty and staff: If you haven’t already shared your vaccination status, we ask that you do so now, using this secure form.

Community members who have not shared their vaccination status will be counted among those unvaccinated and will need to quarantine if exposed to the virus.

In light of recent recommendations from the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and in consultation with the St. Luke’s University Health Network, here is what you can expect upon returning to campus:

Updated Mandates:

  • Beginning Monday, August 16, 2021, masking is required inside all campus facilities regardless ofCOVID-19 vaccination status. 
    • You may remove your mask in residence halls and while eating/drinking in the dining areas.
    • We will evaluate our University’s masking policy the week of September 20, 2021.
  • Remote learning via Zoom will be available only for students in isolation or quarantine approved by the Wellness Center, unless experiential learning makes that modality unfeasible.
  • Students with an approved letter of accommodation from the Office of Student Accessibility will have access to recorded lectures and/or other materials in consultation with their instructors.

Expired Mandates:

  • Testing for COVID-19 is not required before returning to campus.
  • All campus facilities will return to 100% capacity.
  • Social distancing is not required indoors or outdoors.

Protocol for Symptoms and Testing:

  • Weekly surveillance testing will resume beginning the first week of the semester, regardless of vaccination status and/or prior COVID-19 infection. 
  • The Wellness Center will provide symptomatic testing for students.
    • If students experience symptoms of COVID-19:
      • Monday-Friday, 9:00AM–4:00PM: call 610-282-1100 ext. 1776 to speak with a health professional.
      • After 4:00PM and before 9:00AM on weekdays and weekends: call University Police dispatch at 610-282-1002 for further instructions.

Protocol for Residential Students needing Isolation or Quarantine:

  • If students live more than 300 miles from campus, the University will reimburse room and board on a prorated basis and will also assist them with finding suitable accommodations.
  • If students live within 300 miles of campus, the University will reimburse room and board on a prorated basis with the expectation that students return home for that period of time.  

St. Francis de Sales urges us to “take care of our health that it may serve us to serve God.” The war on COVID-19 is ever-changing; therefore, we will regularly monitor the latest COVID-19 data and guidance from the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health and update our operational procedures as needed to protect our community’s wellbeing.

We thank you for your understanding, respect, and patience – key elements of our commitment to Salesian Solidarity. 

Gerard J. Joyce, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President