- Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology plans to open the Fall semester with a hybrid approach of online and in-person instruction.
- The Fall semester will begin as planned, on Monday, August 24th.
- 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.
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.
- Sophomore residents who have confirmed housing for the first 7 weeks of the Fall semester (Monday, Aug. 24 thru Tuesday, Oct. 6) will move in on Sunday, August 23.
- Freshmen residents who have confirmed housing for the second 7 weeks of the Fall semester (Monday, October 12 through Tuesday, November 24) will move in Sunday, October 11.
- Dorm room assignments, move-in time and specific instructions for residents will be mailed to each resident student the week of August 3.
- 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.
- Students will remain in housing set-ups as they are accustomed to, with a limit of one resident per room.
- No guests will be permitted (either overnight or day visitors, including visitors from other residence halls).
- Social distance measures will be marked within the buildings including students reserving shower times both in the morning and evenings.
- There will be other housing guidelines that will be shared with students prior to their arrival on campus.
- 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.
- Social distancing will be required and marked at all dining locations.
- 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.
- The first day of classes is Monday, August 24
- Classes will be held on Monday September 7 and Monday October 12
- Following Thanksgiving break, all classes will be held remotely
- The last day of classes is Wednesday, December 16, 2020
- Resident students are highly encouraged to stay on campus through the end of their term on campus
- Fall 2020 semester schedules are available on the My.Stevens portal
- 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.
- A hybrid education model for fall 2020 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.
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
- 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.
- Daily COVID-19 screenings will occur at designated locations each day for students, faculty and staff who are on campus.
- A daily wrist band will be issued that should be worn through each day to indicate participation in the daily screening.
- The College is collaborating with Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine to provide healthcare support to our students, including telemedicine and on-site care.
- 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.
- Notification of a positive test must be shared with local and state officials and the campus community will be notified by email of any contact tracing information.
- The College will only report positive cases that are self-identified. Identification suspected and reported by another individual is prohibited.
- The College will require that all members of the community comply with tracing efforts.
- Tracing provides information to ensure that members of the community are made aware of potential interaction when someone is confirmed positive with the virus.
Education and Training:
- All students and employees will participate in safety and health training, including COVID-19 specific training, to educate and familiarize them with new campus standards.
- All athletics for the fall 2020 semester have been suspended.
- Winter and spring athletics will be evaluated at a later date.
- 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.
- One face mask will be provided to all students. It is recommended that students also bring several other face coverings with them to campus.
On-Campus 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.
- We also have instituted deep cleaning protocols across campus to support a safe environment.