COVID Updates

 

Click on the links below to jump to each section:

Overview       Planning          Housing & Dining        Travel        Academics        On Campus Activities        Health & Safety        Helpful LinkS        CAMPUS VISITORS        Alternate Operations Scenario        EMPLOYEES       

FALL 2020 Overview:
  • Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology plans to open the Fall semester with a hybrid approach of online and in-person instruction.
  • The Spring semester will begin on Tuesday, January 19th, with the second session of the Spring semester to begin on Monday, March 15.
  • Campus housing will be provided with social distancing measures in place for students while their programs are meeting on campus.
  • Dining options will be provided with social distancing adjustments and grab and go meals.
  • The health and well-being of our community is our priority and implementation of safety efforts will be put in place to ensure health of students, faculty and staff, and their families.
Planning

Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology educates students in a very different context from most, if not all, colleges. Its mission is two-fold. First, to provide the opportunity for individuals who are under-represented and under-resourced to change the circumstances of their lives by obtaining a college degree resulting in an in-demand job at a family-sustaining wage in one or two years, to break the cycle of poverty many of our students have experienced, and to give back to the communities in which they live. Second, to support the critical technical, manufacturing and construction workforce needs in Pennsylvania.

Founded in 1905 by bequest from the will of Thaddeus Stevens, US Congressman, Pennsylvania attorney, and abolitionist, the College continues to provide no-cost education to under-resourced students, and is traditionally one of the lowest priced institutions in Pennsylvania for those who pay tuition. The College has one of the highest job placement rates in the state with an overall placement of 99% for the Class of 2019.

While the mission of the College has not changed since its inception, the trajectory of student success continues to arc upwards. The result is an ever-increasing demand for an education at TSCT by students and an equally urgent demand by industry to hire TSCT graduates. 

The realization of a highly infectious COVID-19 outbreak at our College would be detrimental to the entire Lancaster community, especially to the TSCT student population, their families and our employees. Unlike most other community colleges in our region, TSCT provides housing as part of our mission, so this Health and Safety/Preparedness Plan gives considerable weight to the safety of communal living for our students.

Notable in our decision making for Fall 2020 is that a decision to hold even minimal in lab/shop learning will require the provision of campus housing based on our student demographics and our mission to serve individuals across the Commonwealth. Distance learning, while admittedly challenging to students and faculty, can be accessed by all students; whereas if students are required to be on-site for lab/shop learning, the College must provide safe housing for its students, or accept that students outside of a commutable distance, or who are transportation-challenged, will be denied equitable access to an education at TSCT this Fall.

This plan was developed at the direction of the PA Department of Education, but is internalized to the College as a demonstration of our commitment to provide a safe and healthy learning environment, and to reducing the risk of miscommunications that may encompass the chaotic nature of an outbreak of any highly contagious, lethal virus.   

This plan outlines TSCT’s strategy in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from a pandemic, specifically COVID-19, in a collective, community approach.  It serves as a guide for the safe reopening of College locations, and the resumption of learning at TSCT. 

The intent of this Health and Safety Plan is to provide guidelines for the re-opening of all TSCT programs and activities. The plan will achieve the following goals: 

  • Maximize the protection of lives while minimizing educational and social disruption;
  • Enable Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology to continue to safely operate and provide services as normally and effectively as possible with minimal academic and economic losses;
  • Align re-opening and mitigation strategies with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s direction and guidance.

This plan coordinates federal, state, and local agencies; 

  • Continue the essential core operations of Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in the event of increased staff/student absences and/or isolation or quarantine due to exposure to Coronavirus;
  • Establish and maintain a coordinated command system to enable effective, timely, and sensitive decision making regarding continuity of student learning needs to remain the core value and focal point;
  • Develop a communications plan to ensure that students, parents, and staff receive timely and accurate information regarding TSCT Coronavirus strategies, and mitigation and self-care strategies;
  • Prepare and provide resources for mental health/crisis service needs of faculty, staff, students and families.

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Housing & Dining
Move-In: 
  • Students who have confirmed housing for the first 7 weeks of the Spring semester (January 19 through March 12) will move in on Sunday, January 17.
  • There will be a limit of one individual permitted to assist with student move-in.
  • All individuals will be screened upon entrance to the campus, and are expected to bring a mask for move-in day.
  • Individuals who are identified to be at risk will not be permitted to move-in until the risk has been assessed by Health Services or the student’s personal physician. This includes residents who have traveled to states with high levels of COVID-19 infections. These students will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon return.
  • Dorm room assignments, move-in time and specific instructions for residents will be posted to the portal.
Housing: 
  • Students will remain in housing set-ups as they are accustomed to, with a limit of one resident per room.
  • Social distance measures will be marked within the buildings including students reserving shower times both in the morning and evenings.
  • Campus common areas and game rooms will be closed.
  • No room changes will occur unless initiated by the College.
  • Students should limit the amount of personal belongings brought to campus to one vehicle load so they can evacuate campus if necessary.
  • Students will relocate within 24-hours if the College is required to close the campus, including dormitories, which includes removal of all personal items.
  • No guests will be permitted (either overnight or day visitors, including visitors from other residence halls).
  • Students will follow cleaning regulations in dorm restrooms including spray/wipe high touch areas used. Residential Life staff will train and reinforce the resident’ role in maintaining a clean environment in the dorm setting. 
  • Social distance measures will be marked within the buildings including students reserving shower and laundry times in the morning and evenings.
  • Residential students will be asked to review and sign a housing addendum with guidelines and procedures specific to living in campus housing prior to move- in.
Dining: 
  • Dining Services will be provided by Omni Dining.  Omni is committed to offering high-quality dining services with a priority focus on health and safety.
  • Meal plan options will include 5 day, 7 day or pay as you go.
  • Grab and go meals will be available.
  • Brunch and dinner will be available at the Jones Dining Hall on the main campus.
  • Social distancing will be required and marked at all dining locations.
  • Seating will be available at the Jones Cafeteria and the Orange Street Café. Seating will ensure social distancing.
  • Omni staff will disinfect and sanitize tables and chairs. Security will monitor and maintain health and safety protocols. Masks must be worn until students are seated.
  • Remote commissaries will be set up at the Greiner and Greenfield locations.  

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Travel  
Overview
  • Resident students are highly encouraged to stay on campus during the term of their residency.
  • Minimizing non-essential travel supports student safety by reducing potential exposure to the virus.
  • College-sponsored travel is suspended.
  • All incoming students are required to complete a pre-arrival screening that asks students to self-report travel outside of Pennsylvania within the 2 weeks prior to the start of the semester. Students who indicate travel will be contacted by Health Services for further discussion. Students who have traveled to states with high levels of COVID-19 infection rates will be required to quarantine for 14-days upon return to PA. 
Out-of-State Travel

On July 2, 2020, the Department of Health announced a recommendation for domestic travelers returning from designated states to quarantine for 14 calendar days upon return to Pennsylvania. A list of states to which the quarantine recommendation applies (designated states) can be found on the PA DOH Travelers Information website. The list will be updated regularly as nationwide COVID-19 data is updated.

Quarantine is a term used by medical professionals. A person is quarantined because that person might have been exposed to COVID-19 and needs to stay away from others to protect those persons from possible infection.  Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms.  People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department

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Academics
Academic Calendar: 
  • The first day of classes is Tuesday, January 19th.
  • Resident students are highly encouraged to stay on campus through the end of their term on campus
  • Spring 2020 semester schedules will be available on the My.Stevens portal
Student Engagement/Support:
  • Academic Support Services will be available virtually via Zoom, phone or email by student preference during the Spring 2020 semester. A link to these services is found on the My.Stevens portal.
  • Services include:
    • Academic Advising and Coaching
    • Academic Seminars – live sessions and voice narrated PowerPoints posted
    • English and Math Lab – Professional Tutoring
    • Learning and Testing Accommodations
    • Library Services and Electronic Databases
    • Peer Tutoring Support
    • PreMajor Support
    • Study Groups
    • Study Individually with an Academic Coach
  • Counseling Support Services will also be available virtually via Zoom, phone and email by student preference. A link to these services is found on the My.Stevens portal.
  • Technology requests will be coordinated by the Dean of Academic Affairs. Students in need of technology and/or internet access may request to borrow a computer, hot spot or other equipment by completing the electronic request form on the College’s website, which will be available prior to the start of classes.
Attendance Policy:

Since regular attendance is important for success at Stevens, a strict attendance policy is maintained to ensure student success.  Each faculty member keeps his/her own attendance records.  Students are required to comply with the attendance policy specific to each class as well as related stipulations cited below.

The following are recognized as legitimate excuses to miss class: 

  • Death in the immediate family
  • Hospitalization
  • Illness verified by a doctor’s excuses
  • College activities as approved by the Dean of Student Services, Dean of Academic Affairs, Vice-President for Academic Affairs and circumstances verified by a campus counselor

Students who have two unexcused absences from a course will receiving a warning letter.  Once a student has had five unexcused absences from a course, will be liable for dismissal from the class and/or the College. 

For courses that meet once a week, students will receive a warning letter after one unexcused absence and are liable for dismissal after three unexcused absences. 

For courses that are offered remotely, this policy will be applied in a different manner.  Instruction in remote classes can be synchronous or asynchronous.  For instruction that occurs synchronously, the attendance policy will be the same as stated above.  For courses that are asynchronous or blended between synchronous or asynchronous the attendance policy is stated below. 

Faculty that notice students failing to engage, turn in work, participate in real-time instruction and are not responding to communication will report this to the Dean of Academic Affairs.  The Dean will issue a warning letter to the student.  Once a warning letter is issued and the student still fails to engage, the student will be liable for dismissal from the course and/or the college.  The college will attempt to communicate with the student and provide resources and support that is needed to avoid dismissal. 

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On-Campus Activities & Recreation
Spring Athletics: 
  • All athletics for the  spring 2020 semester have been suspended.
Clubs, Organizations & Events:
  • Social activities and events will be offered virtually throughout the semester.
  • Student clubs will launch in a virtual format. Information will be provided to students after the start of the semester. 
Recreational Facilities:
  • The Multipurpose Activity Center (MAC) Fitness Center is not open at this time in order to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19. 

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Health & Safety:
Social Distancing: 
  • For the safety and well-being of our faculty and students, classrooms and other spaces on campus have been reconfigured to provide appropriate social distances within these spaces. This mitigation is based on a thorough review by Marotta/Main Architects in conjunction with faculty.
  • Labs, shops and offices have been assessed for capacity based on each room’s square footage and a required 6’ perimeter between each student, and between faculty and students, in order to meet recommended safe distancing guidelines. 
  • Each instructor may identify expanded protocols or guidelines specific to their lab or shop that exceed the basic guidelines set for the College. Students are expected to abide by these procedures to ensure a safe and sanitary work environment.
  • Masks will be required and are not a substitute for 6' distancing. Face shields are not a substitute for a mask, but may be worn in addition to a mask. Gaiters are not permitted as a substitute for a mask. 
  • PVC barriers will be installed as needed. Shields will be added between sinks in campus restrooms. Sinks may be blocked off in order to promote proper social distance.
  • A hybrid education model has been developed to limit the number of students on campus and in shops at any one time while maximizing hands-on shop/lab learning.  
  • All general education and premajor programming, will be delivered on-line. Social distancing signage and markers will be in place throughout campus buildings.
  • Social distancing signage and markers will be in place throughout campus buildings. 
  • Entrances and exits have been marked to reduce traffic flow coming in and out of office buildings, shops/labs and dormitories.
  • Unidirectional traffic flow will be created to address social distancing in hallways, stairwells and ramps. Signage will reinforce this flow to reduce the potential for congestion as students move about in campus facilities.
  • Individual classes must follow scheduled start and stop times in order to limit occupancy in hallways.
  • Smoking gazebos, patio areas, bus stops, and other outdoor areas will be organized according to CDC Guidelines. Hand sanitizing units will be installed throughout campus.
  • To limit contact between people, common spaces will be closed or restricted with limited access. This includes meetings rooms, unused classrooms, and recreation rooms in the dormitories and other campus buildings. This includes the Women’s Center in the Mellor building, and the Schwalm Center, which will be closed to limit close contact among students and staff.
 PPE: 
  • Face masks are required to be worn by all students, faculty and staff on all College campuses and locations, with the exception of a medically documented accommodation. This includes inside all College buildings, and outside when on the college campus and other locations.
  • If a student is alone inside their residence hall room, it may be removed.
  • Employees alone in their office may also remove their face covering.
  • An exception will be made while eating.
  • According to the CDC, appropriate use of face masks or coverings is critical in minimizing risks to others near you. You could potentially spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • The mask or cloth face covering is not meant as a substitute for social distancing, and a face shield is not accepted as a substitute for a face mask. Gaiters are not accepted. 
  • One face mask will be provided to all students. It is recommended that students also bring several other face coverings with them to campus.
Cleaning & Safety Measures: 
  • New campus signage and safety markers will be installed to remind students, faculty and staff  to social distance while on campus and to practice good personal hygiene habits such as frequent hand washing, coughing or sneezing into elbows instead of hands, longer periods in between classes, and hand-sanitizing stations. Faculty, residential life and all members of the College community  will reinforce these measures as the best way to limit transmission of the virus and stay on campus for the semester. 
  • Custodial Department will be trained on cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting, and ventilation protocols weekly, monthly, quarterly and as often as needed. Staff will be trained by supervisors and vendors following CDC recommended policies and best practices.
  • The College has developed protocols to clean and disinfect throughout each day, including more frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-traffic areas and high-touch surfaces. Cleaning and sanitizing will take place according to sanitation schedules per recommended CDC guidelines.
  • Following the extended campus closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, custodial services conducted a deep cleaning of campus offices, dormitories, classrooms, and labs, including common areas, stairwells, showers, restrooms, and other spaces. All campus vehicles were cleaned and disinfected.
  • Water and ventilation systems will be closely monitored and regulated in accordance with DOH and related regulatory guidelines.
Testing/Monitoring:  
  • The PA Department of Health and the CDC recommend against universal testing at institutions of higher education.
  • Strict compliance/adherence to mitigation efforts-face mask, social distancing, hand hygiene, and disinfecting/cleaning-in combination, is the most effective way to mitigate the spread.
  • Daily COVID-19 screenings will occur at designated locations each day for students, faculty and staff who are on campus.
Tracking/Tracing: 
  • The college will follow the guidelines of the CDC and PA DOH regarding tracking and tracing. 
  • Any student testing positive for COVID-19 will not be publicly identified and the College will follow its FERPA and HIPPA requirements which guarantees privacy.
  • Thaddeus Stevens College will maintain a daily record of all faculty, students, and staff who are on campus each day to allow for prompt notification to all individual in the event of a potential exposure to COVID-19. In the event of a positive COVID-19 test result on campus, Health Services will immediately notify the Pennsylvania Department of Education to begin contact tracing.
  • The College will only report positive cases that are self-identified. Identification suspected and reported by another individual  is prohibited. 
  • Students must provide information necessary for contact tracing when requested.
  • Important components of this process on the College campus include:
    • Tracking access to campus: Faculty will maintain strict attendance records and will enter those records into the College’s Jenzabar system. This information will be used in the case of a positive virus case to support the DOH efforts to identify individuals who may be at risk of exposure. Staff who are able to work remotely will continue to do so; however to maintain full support of our students some staff may be on site during certain hours. Therefore, all college offices will also maintain a daily log of staff who are physically on site, including date and time.
    • Monitoring for symptoms: In addition to daily COVID-19 screenings, students, faculty and staff are asked to report if they witness someone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19. These may appear suddenly, so an infected individual may pass through the daily morning screening before the symptoms become apparent. Anyone who become ill should immediately notify their instructor or supervisor, or directly contact Health Services.
    • Re-entry to campus: Students, faculty and staff who have been denied access to campus because they failed the daily screening must provide medical documentation verifying that they have consulted with a medical provider and that they do not have COVID-19 before they will be permitted back on campus.
Containment, Isolation and Quarantine:

Students will isolate and/or quarantine based on the College’s Health Plan and/or direction from the Department of Health contract tracing.

  • Quarantine is indicated for individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and need to stay away from others to protect them from possible infection. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department. Residential students who have been exposed and directed to quarantine will be moved to a private room in a designated dorm on the main campus.
  • Isolation is indicated for individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and need to isolate from others to protect them from possible infection. Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be moved to a private isolation room in a designated dorm on the main campus until arrangements can be made to transition the student to his or her home, or to the appropriate level of medical care.
Education and Awareness: 

The success of the College’s reopening plan will depend on the behavior of every member of the Thaddeus Stevens College community. Understanding how the novel coronavirus spreads, and why learning about and adhering to prevention strategies is of utmost importance. In addition to initial education and training that will be provided to students, faculty and staff at the start of the fall 2020 semester, the College has developed a comprehensive ongoing awareness campaign to reinforce these prevention strategies across the campus.

Education and Training will include:

  • Initial training – a series of training sessions tailored to faculty, students, staff, and specific departments will be held in the week leading up to opening. These sessions will be led by TSCT Health Services. Information is based on the latest guidance provided by the Department of Health, the CDC, and the PA Department of Education.
  • Department-specific training will also be conducted on an ongoing basis as needed.
  • Custodial staff will be trained on cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting, and ventilation protocols weekly, monthly, quarterly and as often as needed. Staff will be trained by supervisors and vendors following CDC recommended policies and best practices.
  • Residential students will undergo a review of guidelines specific to residential living, conducted by Residential Life staff. All students will be instructed to review an online training module and to submit confirmation of their commitment to those guidelines by signing and submitting a Student Responsibility Statement.
Monitoring and Surveillance


To support the goal of opening and operating the College in a hands-on hybrid scenario, the College has identified a number of monitoring and surveillance strategies for early identification of positive COVID cases and patterns of spread at the College.
This tracking and surveillance will be coordinated by the Health Services office, and reported to the President’s office and the President’s cabinet.

  • This information, in conjunction with community COVID trends, and information including absenteeism trends, faculty feedback, and counseling services will allow the College to make decisions about the college’s hybrid operating status.
  • Daily Screening: Daily COVID-19 screenings will occur at designated locations each day for students who are on campus. Screenings will include a temperature check and symptom/exposure questions. The College plans to offer a symptom tracker app https://www.livesafemobile.com/
    • Students will be required to answer a series of questions about their potential contact with anyone who has the virus, as well as any symptoms they may have experience in the past 24 hours.
    • Students who have passed the initial health screening will show the confirming email to their instructor, who will conduct a temperate screen using an infrared, touchless thermometer. If less than 100.4 degrees, the student will be permitted to enter the classroom.
    • Housing insecure/unsafe students residing at Orange St who do not have in-person classes will participate in the temperature check portion of the screening during designated hours at the Health Services office at Orange Street.
    • Anyone who does not pass the initial health screening or the temperature check will not be permitted to enter the building.
    • Students will be referred to Health Services to be assessed, and may be tested on site.
    • A commuter student will be asked to return home for follow up care by a personal physician.
    • The college will activate the Housing Safety plan for a residential student. Housing students who need to be quarantined will report to the isolation dorm while plans for referring to appropriate care and/or returning home are made.
    • Residential students will conduct a COVID-19 symptom self-screening on Saturdays and Sundays.
    • Staff and faculty will conduct a COVID symptom self-screening each day, utilizing the app.
    • This approach is aligned with guidance by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  • Health Services: The College’s Health Services will be available 24/7 through office hours and on call service.
    • On site point of service testing will be available and administered based on assessment of the student by the Health Services staff.
    • Advanced testing is available if the test is negative but symptoms indicate the need for further testing.
  • Individual Responsibility: All students, faculty, and staff should self-assess their medical condition daily, looking for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. If an individual becomes ill or tests positive for COVID-19, they must self-report immediately to the College Health Services, and take precautions to isolate, seek immediate medical treatment and/or testing.
  • The College will follow PA Department of Health and the CDC recommendations for higher education stating that strict compliance/adherence to mitigation efforts including facemasks, social distancing, hand hygiene, and disinfecting/cleaning-in combination, is the most effecting way to mitigate the spread.
  • Students have been advised of these requirements in order to participate in on campus education, and have signed a “Student Responsibility Statement” affirming their acceptance of these expectations. Students who refuse to comply may asked to leave the campus.

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Campus Visitors

At this time, Thaddeus Stevens College is restricting campus visits.

  • All visitors must contact the College 24 hours prior to their campus visit.
  • Visitors will be screened upon arrival to ensure compliance with CDC guidelines.
  • Before entering campus, visitors must meet with designated personnel.
  • Approved visitors will be expected to wear a mask.
  • On campus tours are currently suspended until further notice.
  • Students are not permitted to have guests in the resident halls.

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Alternate Operations Scenario:

In the event that the campus is required to switch to distance learning for a period of time, students should limit the amount of personal belongings brought to campus to one vehicle load so they can evacuate campus if necessary. 

  • Residential students will relocate within 24-hours if the College is required to close the campus, including dormitories, which includes removal of all personal items.
  • In alignment with mission of Thaddeus Stevens College, students who are housing insecure or housing unsafe will be permitted to remain on campus in the event of a closure.
  • Residential Life staff will make every effort to relocate these students to a safe, secure housing environment off campus in the case of an extended shut down in order to better meet the emotional needs of these students.
  • Residential students will be asked to complete a pre-campus arrival survey that includes a COVID symptom and exposure screening, and provides the students to self-identify any pre-existing conditions that raise the risk of COVID-19 complications or express other concerns. Student health services will reach out to these students who identify risks or exposures to further discuss.
Shut-Down Contingency

Pivot Points

  • The decision to pivot from the hybrid model to an all on-line model for a period of time will depend on factors that are specific to the College, as well as external factors.
  • Internal factors include trends in positive COVID-19 infections on campus, impact on other students and faculty in the case of quarantine, ability to contain COVID-19 infections to one location, and degree of compliance with containment efforts.
  • Factors external to the College include strain on local healthcare infrastructure, an increase in community transmission, testing capacity, and recommendations or directives by local, state and federal government.
  • The residential student’s Safety Plan will guide Residential Life with a plan to ensure all students have safe, secure housing in the event of a campus closure.
  • The College will continue to monitor these factors closely.
Employee Resources

Employees should reference the following guide as the College returns to the workplace, along with the supporting documents. Click the links below to access the documents.

Helpful Links

Institutional CARES Quarterly Report

Health and Safety/Reopening Plan

GUIDANCE FOR QUARANTINE

Request IT Support

SPRING 2021 HYBRID SCHEDULE