Welcome back to Penn State DuBois, we are excited to start the new fall 2020 semester with you!
The safety, health, and well being of our Penn State DuBois community is our number one priorty. Penn State has taken a robust public-health- and science-based approach to inform how it will manage social distancing, limit the size of events, and provide learning environments that are as safe as reasonably possible. Penn State will meet or exceed the expectations for colleges and universities that have been outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for returning students to campus.
In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health guidelines, wearing face masks and adhering to social distancing practices, including maintaining six feet of physical distance between another person, are critical components in helping to maintain the health and safety of the entire campus community. Students, faculty and staff are expected to practice social distancing and wear face masks in classrooms, labs, offices, dining and retail facilities, public spaces, and while walking and traveling on campuses.
Fall 2020 Schedule Update
|Monday, August 24, 2020||First Day of Classes|
|Monday, September 7, 2020||Labor Day - Classes WILL be held|
|Friday, November 20, 2020||Last Day of IN PERSON instruction|
|Monday, November 30, 2020||Remote instruction and finals|
|Friday, December 18, 2020||Last Day of Fall 2020 Semester|
General Q & A:
When we come back to campus, what do we need to do to be prepared?
The health and well-being of the Penn State community is the University’s first priority as we look forward to welcoming the community back to our campuses. As announced June 14, Penn State will begin to have students and employees return to campuses in phases with significant prevention and public health procedures in place to help maintain the health and safety of our students, employees and local communities.
Specific to public health, as part of a “new normal” for returning to campus, all students, faculty and staff members will be expected to take personal actions to help protect themselves and others on campus — the success of the University’s plans will be largely dependent on everyone doing their part. While on campus, students, employees and visitors are expected to wear face masks or coverings, practice social distancing, practice hand hygiene by frequently washing and sanitizing, follow protocols for covering coughs and sneezes, stay home if sick, and clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces. The University will employ enhanced cleaning and sanitation, hygiene stations, plexiglass, signage and various other measures to provide for physical distancing and other health and safety needs.
Additional guidance for members of the University will continue to be provided at https://virusinfo.psu.edu/, which will be updated regularly with the latest information and guidance as we all work together toward a safe return.
Since March, more than 250 individuals serving on 16 task groups and subcommittees have been preparing for a coordinated return to on-campus working, learning and living for students and employees across each of the University’s campuses. Penn State has taken a robust public-health- and science-based approach to inform how it will manage social distancing, limit the size of events, and provide learning environments that are as safe as reasonably possible. Penn State will meet or exceed the expectations for colleges and universities that have been outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for returning students and employees to campus.
University leadership and the task groups will work with governance and advisory bodies, including the University Faculty Senate and the University Staff Advisory Council, to work through the details of course delivery, classroom and workplace safety, and other aspects of the return to campus.
Will there be a mandatory quarantine before coming back to campus?
The University is asking students, prior to returning, if they have exhibited COVID-like symptoms or have reason to believe they were exposed to COVID-19, to self-quarantine and seek testing in consultation with their health care provider. Further, as a precaution, the University encourages all students who can to self-quarantine prior to arrival. It is in everyone’s best interest that students arrive after taking precautionary steps, to reduce the likelihood of community exposure. The University may have further guidance, depending on developments with COVID-19.
How does Penn State plan to manage the risk of inviting students back to campuses who could potentially reintroduce COVID-19?
Maintaining the health and safety of the campus and local communities is the top priority driving Penn State’s decision-making and policy changes as it relates to the pandemic. The University is asking students, prior to returning to campus, if they have exhibited COVID-like symptoms or have reason to believe they were exposed to COVID-19, to self-quarantine and seek testing in consultation with their health care provider. Further, as a precaution, the University encourages all students who can to self-quarantine prior to arrival.
Penn State also will encourage flu vaccination for all students before the onset of flu season, or certainly before the start of the spring semester, with an eye toward addressing the complicated season that is likely to include flu along with COVID-19, and to reducing as much as possible, a demand for health facilities in order to maintain capacity for the severely ill.
All actions being implemented are based on guidance from Penn State health experts and scientists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, among others. The University will meet or exceed the expectations for colleges and universities outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for returning students and employees to campus.
What should I do if I am struggling with the transition back to campus or someone I know seems to be in distress?
This is understandable and there are resources available for both students and employees who are struggling and who need support with the transition back to campus. Students can contact their academic advisers for guidance. The Red Folder initiative is a guide to help faculty, staff and others who interact with students to recognize, respond effectively to, and refer distressed students at Penn State. Students at Commonwealth Campuses can contact the CAPS office at their campus location. When CAPS is closed, both the Penn State Crisis Line (877-229-6400) and the Crisis Text Line (text “LIONS” to 741741) are still available 24/7 for students at all campuses who are in crisis or need support. Faculty and staff who are in distress are encouraged to contact the Employee Assistance Program, a free, confidential resource to be used as a first line of defense for personal or work-related concerns for yourself or your family.
Masks and Social Distancing
Do we need to wear masks and maintain social distancing when we return to campus?
In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health guidelines, wearing face masks and adhering to social distancing practices, including maintaining six feet of physical distance between another person, are critical components in helping to maintain the health and safety of the entire campus community. Students, employees and visitors are expected to practice social distancing and wear face masks/coverings in classrooms, labs, offices, dining and retail facilities, public spaces, and while walking and traveling on campuses.
To aid in this effort, the University purchased 500,000 masks to be distributed across all campuses for people who need them. In addition, distance markers, directional arrows, signs and other visual cues will be installed in high-traffic areas, classrooms, common areas, study spaces and other shared locations, which also will be reconfigured with social-distancing principles in mind. Tables, chairs and lounge furniture will be rearranged and/or blocked for use in some locations, and posting of maximum occupancy and do-not-congregate signs for most areas will become the norm, and in accordance with the governor’s higher education guidance.
Are there penalties for faculty, staff and students who do not follow health guidance related to working and being on campus?
To help prevent the spread of coronavirus and support a healthy return to living and taking classes on campus, all students and employees have a personal and collective responsibility to follow guidelines from the University, which are aligned with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health. For example, students and employees will be expected to wear masks and practice social distancing in classrooms, labs, offices, dining and retail facilities, public spaces, and while walking and traveling on campus.
University policies are under review due to these new circumstances, where we must rely on everyone to fulfill their social obligation to keep the community healthy. While we expect high levels of compliance, non-adherence to these guidelines in a way that elevates exposure and risk for others in the community will be addressed in a manner consistent with how other violations of University guidelines and policies are managed.
Will Penn State be testing students and employees for coronavirus?
The University is employing strategies to create an effective detection and management system for all of its campuses, including testing and contact tracing to monitor and react to trends in data at the community and national levels.
A robust testing and contact-tracing program will test symptomatic individuals and conduct asymptomatic testing on individuals who are identified in the contact-tracing process. Penn State will hire additional staff to serve as contact tracers as needed to support all campuses and plans to enhance access to early health-care consultation and treatment. Contact-tracing supports virus case detection and is designed to help prevent future outbreaks. The University also is building capacity to isolate and quarantine impacted individuals, including support for isolated persons, to facilitate proper medical care.
These efforts will meet or exceed the expectations for colleges and universities that have been spelled out by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for returning students and employees to campus and will include processes for testing students, faculty and staff. Additional details are forthcoming.
There is a national shortage of tests. How do you know that you will have them in August and throughout the fall?
Penn State’s plans for resuming on-campus activities align with the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s guidelines for colleges and universities, and the University will meet or, where possible, exceed, all of the expectations of Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration. In line with public health guidance, the University is working through details over the summer to support our student and employee populations across all campuses. Additional details of testing plans will be provided in the near future as they are finalized.
Future Planning and the Community
Is there a plan in case the virus flares up again? After students are back, what would be the trigger for having students vacate campuses again?
Penn State is prepared to be nimble and responsive. All classes that are planned to have in-person meetings will have contingency plans for reverting to remote instruction modalities if circumstances require.
A number of factors may lead to additional distancing measures or adjustments to campus-based residential course delivery. Penn State will be monitoring the local rates of transmission for the disease in communities surrounding its campuses, as well as trends around the country and globe, to continue informing decision-making. Any recorded upticks will be analyzed and, as needed, decisions will be made on a campus-by-campus basis taking into consideration guidance from public health officials.
What if my campus is located in or near an area of the state with high transmission rates for COVID-19?
Penn State will begin to have students and employees return to campuses in phases and will have significant prevention and public health procedures and strategies in place to support the health and safety of students, employees and local communities – the top priority in resuming on-campus activities. Given Pennsylvania’s county-by-county phased pandemic management plan, the status of each Penn State campus may vary, particularly for those that may be located in an area of the commonwealth where various restrictions are in place due to the number of COVID-19 cases in that region.
Can you describe the measures Penn State is taking with local communities to prevent the spread of the virus? For example, what is the University doing to minimize off-campus large gatherings?
To allow in-residence instruction and activities to continue and to uphold the health and safety of campus and local communities, students will be urged to take personal responsibility and follow health guidelines, including wearing masks, adhering to physical distancing practices, washing hands, and covering coughs and sneezes. In addition to providing education and support directly to students and other student organizations, Penn State will collaborate and coordinate with local government officials, landlords and local employers to share resources and to encourage students to follow expectations for off-campus behavior. In addition, University policies are under review due to these new circumstances, where we must rely on everyone to fulfill their social obligation to keep the community as healthy as possible. Based on the governor’s guidelines advising against large gatherings, and out of respect for the risks to the broader University community, large gatherings are discouraged.
What will our return look like for course instruction? Will instruction be in person, remote or a hybrid model?
There will be changes to the academic schedule focused on enhancing safety, minimizing travel and lowering the risk of spread of the virus. To meet these goals, the fall semester will begin on the originally scheduled date of Monday, Aug. 24, and campus-based residential instruction will end Friday, Nov. 20, with the remainder of the semester—including finals—being delivered remotely and/or online when classes resume after Thanksgiving break on Nov. 30. To minimize travel and lower the risk of spreading coronavirus on campuses, classes will be held on Labor Day (Sept. 7). The semester will end following finals on Dec. 18, as originally planned.
Delivery of the curriculum will occur through a highly flexible mix of in-person, remote and online instruction throughout the semester, with all classes of more than 100 students delivered online and/or remotely, in line with the governor’s requirements for higher education. Most classes will be scheduled through synchronous delivery (faculty member is present at same time as students). This is based on strong evidence of greater academic success by establishing robust learning communities and environments. Campuses and academic units will determine how to deliver smaller classes, following University guidance.
Faculty are expected to be flexible in their interpretation and management of in-person class attendance so that sick students can stay home, and the University will work with immunocompromised and other at-risk students to develop appropriate accommodations. For students who are unable to return to any campus this fall, there are flexible options so that they can continue to make progress toward their degrees.
Penn State is focused on supporting students and helping them to meet their desired educational outcomes no matter the method of delivery, and advisers will be available to assist students on crafting their individual class schedules and curricula options.
Is Penn State making any formal changes to classroom attendance policy to encourage students who are ill or may have symptoms to avoid class?
The health of the Penn State community is our top priority, and we must all do our part in preventing the possible spread of coronavirus. Faculty are expected to be flexible in their interpretation of class attendance policies. Sick students are expected to stay home and call their health care provider. In-residence courses will be delivered in a flexible format to allow students who miss class due to quarantine or illness to continue to make critical academic progress. Penn State urges faculty, staff, and students to contact their health care provider if they have a cough, respiratory symptoms, a fever or have concerns related to COVID-19.
Do we need to maintain social distancing during class?
Yes, social distancing will be expected for all in-person activities on campus this fall, including in classes and labs, as a means to reduce possible virus transmission and to reduce the potential disruption to students’ learning by needing to quarantine close contacts. When in class, both students and instructors should maintain a distance of six feet (about two arm lengths) between one another. The task groups continue to review all of Penn State’s more than 1,700 classrooms, seminar rooms and labs across all instructional campuses to accommodate for social distancing requirements. Changes will be communicated for those that have already registered, and opportunities to work with advisers will be made available. Some non-classroom spaces will be repurposed for instruction and every class that meets in person will allow for appropriate social distancing. Additional measures — for example, assigned seating and monitoring of attendance to help facilitate contact tracing will be deployed as considered necessary. To serve as a reminder to all, distance markers, directional arrows, signage and other visual cues will be installed in high-traffic areas, and classrooms, common areas, study spaces and other shared locations across the campuses.
What if our classrooms do not permit for proper social distancing?
The task groups continue to review all of Penn State’s more than 1,700 classrooms, seminar rooms and labs across all instructional campuses to accommodate for social distancing requirements. Based on a variety of factors, for example the needs and size of a class, classes will be reassigned to larger rooms to accommodate social distancing requirements. Changes will be communicated for those that have already registered, and opportunities to work with advisers will be made available.
Studies of Penn State classrooms are continuing across the campuses to revise room layouts; establish a distanced space for instructors; and to identify room capacities and potential alternative spaces for classes to take place. These efforts, along with the flexible educational model, delivering some classes remotely and/or online, will allow the University to lower classroom population density, allow for social distancing and meet both educational and safety goals.
Will there be a limit on the number of people in a classroom? What is that limit and how will it be enforced?
As part of a flexible delivery model, large enrollment courses with 100 or more students will be delivered online and/or remotely, per federal and state guidance. Campuses and colleges will have the latitude to decide how best to deliver courses with smaller enrollments. To enable social distancing, as needed, desks and seating in classrooms will be marked if they should not be used. If they were not equipped already, all classrooms on campus are being equipped for remote instruction via Zoom and other technologies.
What does a “return to research” look like?
On-campus research activities have resumed using a phased approach. As part of the return to on-campus research, unit-specific processes and protocols have been developed to prioritize the health and well-being of researchers, faculty, staff, students and the community. The return to on-campus research will be gradual, and all researchers who are able should continue to work remotely. The specifics of returning to on-campus research will look different for each college, campus, institute or unit. Investigators with questions regarding the specifics of returning to on-campus research activity should contact their dean, chancellor or institute director. Guidance for return-to-research plans are updated regularly and can be found at https://www.research.psu.edu/COVID_return_research.
- ILL/I Want It - The Interlibrary Loan system will start again and Penn State DuBois will be added as a delivery option to the I Want It button.
- Curbside Delivery - Sign up for a curbside delivery time at https://libraries.psu.edu/services/borrow-renew/curbside-pickup-service or call 375-4756. The pickup location will be a marked parking space near the library.
August 24-November 20
- The library is open to the campus community Monday through Friday 8 am to 4 pm.
- Curbside Delivery will continue to be an option for the entire semester.
- Book shelves within the library will be covered with caution tape and only Library staff will have access.
- All materials will be ordered through the I Want It button, even those from DuBois. Library Staff will retrieve them while wearing gloves. Materials touched with bare hands will require a 96-hour quarantine.
- The stacks are also closed in order to have access to digitized materials through our HathiTrust membership. Penn State University Libraries is a member contributor to the digital content held in the HathiTrust repository. We have access to the digital copy of our resources in HathiTrust, if the print copy does not circulate. A HathiTrust button will appear in place of the I Want It button in the catalog when the digital access is available.
- Print materials on Course Reserve must be quarantined for 96 hours upon return. This will severely limit the number of users per item.
- Please consider placing an article, book chapter, or e-book on E-reserve. More details can be found at https://libraries.psu.edu/services/course-reserves/using-electronic-reserves
- Library instruction will be conducted by Emily Zimmerman through Zoom, unless another method is requested.
- Please request instruction at https://libraries.psu.edu/about/departments/library-learning-services/library-instruction-request-form
- Research assistance is available through chat and email through the Ask a Librarian service https://libraries.psu.edu/ask
- Individual reference assistance is also available by contacting a librarian
- Open and Affordable Educational Resources (OAER) - Explore free or low cost alternatives to your required course texts
For Library help, please contact:
|(814) 375-4756||Bonnie Imler
|Michele Joseph [email protected]|