Academic Year 2022–2023: COVID-19 Pandemic Plan

For the academic year 2022–2023, Allegheny College’s pandemic plan will be based on appropriate health practices, the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, and a community of mutual care. For example, community members mask when they are feeling ill and get tested for COVID-19 when they are symptomatic. Allegheny is committed to academic quality and supporting the best possible student experience. We maintain our commitment to equity, diversity, and equal access for all community members. We are committed to providing to all the academic, social, and wellness resources available at the College. The Allegheny College Health Agency (ACHA) will continue to provide guidance to the President on mitigation strategies for our community. At any time, these policies may change based on recommendations and guidelines issued by expert governing bodies including but not limited to the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Masks

All students, employees, and guests from outside our community will make their own decisions about masking on campus. Masks will continue to be available throughout campus. If you feel ill, it is always a good idea to mask regardless of the underlying cause. Gators are respectful about each others’ mask choices.

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Vaccine Policy

Allegheny College requires all students and employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and one booster (e.g., two doses of Moderna or Pfizer and one booster or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine plus one booster). All entering students and those returning to campus after more than a one-year hiatus must upload their vaccine and booster documentation here by July 20, 2022. Per the CDC, it is recommended that those 50 years and older, and those 12 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, receive a second RNA booster.

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Vaccine Exemption Guidelines

Allegheny students and employees may apply for medical or nonmedical exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine. Those who have already been approved for an exemption do not need to reapply. Unvaccinated persons are at risk of contracting COVID-19 and becoming severely ill, as well as transmitting COVID-19 to other community members. Allegheny community members who are unvaccinated are required to participate in mandatory weekly testing for COVID-19 while on campus. For the AY 22-23, the cost will be $25/pay for bi-weekly and $50/pay for monthly employees. Failure to comply with weekly testing will result in action by Human Resources or the Dean of Students Office. Persons with vaccine exemptions will make their own decisions about masking to protect themselves or others while on campus and may participate in College-sponsored travel.

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Testing for COVID-19 — Move-in

All students are required to report for rapid COVID-19 testing on their assigned move-in day, as soon as they arrive on campus. Once they receive a negative result, they may pick up their room key and immediately join in on all campus activities. If students test positive on the day they are to move in, they will be required to isolate either at home or in campus-sponsored isolation housing.

Employees who leave campus or Meadville for an extended period of time (more than 3 days) over the summer or over the winter holidays should undergo re-entry testing before rejoining our community.

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Testing for COVID-19 — During the Semester

For vaccinated community members, there will be no in-semester surveillance testing. Testing will be available Monday through Friday (excluding holidays), on a more limited basis, for those who are symptomatic and those who have been contact traced. As mentioned above, those community members with a vaccine exemption will be required to test weekly.

Anyone in our campus community—vaccinated or unvaccinated—who travels or leaves campus for an extended period (more than 3 days) is recommended to test upon return.

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Illness Policy

Community members who develop symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to be tested as soon as possible during regular testing hours; if you have any symptoms, please wear a proper (N95/KN95-type) mask until you receive your results. Students can also seek medical care at the Winslow Health Center. If you feel ill outside of business hours, please email ACHA at healthagency@allegheny.edu.

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Students Who Test Positive for COVID-19

If a student resides in a single room, they can isolate themselves there. Food will be dropped off; students should not use shared kitchens or other shared spaces other than bathrooms while isolating. ACHA will assist with medications and other crucial needs. Students in isolation must wear an N95 mask in the bathroom except when showering and should wait until low-traffic times to use the bathroom for an extended period of time. If a student shares a bedroom with another student, the positive student will isolate at home or in a campus-sponsored isolation room.

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Employees Who Test Positive for COVID-19

Employees who test positive should report the illness to ACHA at healthagency@allegheny.edu. Employees should contact their primary care physician for medical advice and submit sick time for missed work time. Employees who test positive but are asymptomatic or who have mild symptoms may contact their supervisor to discuss possible remote work during this time.

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Returning to Campus After a Positive COVID-19 Test

Antigen tests can be a useful tool to guide isolation after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Therefore, we will accept a negative COVID-19 test after day five with the hope of returning community members to campus earlier than 10 days. Here is a timeline of how this will work:

  • Day 0 is marked by the start of symptoms or positive test result
  • Day 5: Are symptoms improving?
    • NO: continue to isolate
    • YES: nasal antigen test
      • Positive — you may test again each day until you test negative or 10 days have passed.
      • Negative — no longer contagious; may return to campus.
  • Students testing positive who choose to isolate at home can submit a negative test administered by a licensed medical professional.
  • To protect our community, if you know that you are positive for COVID-19, please do not walk into campus testing without an appointment.

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Contact Tracing, Quarantine, and Isolation

We have found that the most effective method of contact tracing is through personal outreach from those who test positive. This will be our approach for the entire campus community. Community members who test positive for COVID-19 should contact all those with whom they have spent more than 15 minutes or longer (within 6 feet) over the past 48 hours and immediately enter them into the contract tracing database. For those notified that they are a close contact, please follow the protocols outlined below.

  • If you are fully vaccinated and boosted, and without symptoms, there is no need to quarantine. Please wear a mask indoors and outdoors until you obtain a negative test result 5 days from the date of contact. If you develop symptoms, self-isolate and obtain a COVID-19 test.
  • If you are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated/boosted, you must quarantine for 5 days, which means you do not attend classes, work or any other activities. Please wear a mask indoors and outdoors until you obtain a negative test result 10 days from the date of contact. If you develop symptoms, self-isolate and obtain a COVID-19 test.

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Mitigating Disease Transmission on Campus

The “Gator Pledge” remains in place, and all community members are required to adhere to it, much like our Honor Code and Code of Conduct. We work together to create a culture of health and safety and mutual care.

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Travel

We expect high travel rates among our students and employees during Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, and Spring Break. As with the August move-in protocol, all students will be required to test upon their return to campus; all employees who travel will be expected to do the same. During the semester, we recommend that travelers test when returning to campus after travel.

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Community-Based Research, Internship, Class Project, and Volunteer Experiences

Students are welcome to participate in internships, research assistantships, class projects and volunteer positions, both on campus and in the local community. This includes work-study positions off campus, Bonner and Davies/Fahrner opportunities, as well as departmental internships, research assistant positions, and community service projects. When Allegheny students are off campus in the community, please adhere to the guidelines of the businesses or organizations that you enter.

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Visitors to Campus

Classroom visitors: Vaccinated visitors are welcome in the classroom without a COVID-19 test and are not required to be masked. Unvaccinated visitors should obtain a negative COVID-19 test before participating in classroom activities. Similarly, community members who are registered for a class or to participate in music ensembles or other course-related activities will need to follow the same protocols as our students.

Friends and family: Guests are welcome for day and overnight visits while adhering to any other residence life visitor policies. No COVID-19 test is required for vaccinated guests, nor are they required to mask (as long as masks are not temporarily required for our community). Guests who are not vaccinated should obtain a negative COVID-19 test and email the results to ACHA before visiting campus. Please advise guests to self-monitor for symptoms and to stay home if they feel ill.

Performances and events: Allegheny community members are welcome to have visitors at theatrical performances, orations, athletic events, and other activities that include an observational component. Attendees not feeling well should reconsider attending or wear a properly fitted mask while on campus.

Other visitors: The vaccine status of prospective students and their families will not be checked. Candidates for faculty or administrative positions will not have their vaccine status checked.
Pelletier Library and the Wise Center will be open to local community members. As in all other cases, visitors not feeling well or having any COVID-19 symptoms should wear a mask while on campus.

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Communication

Communicating the College’s strategy for creating and maintaining a culture of health and safety on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic is a priority. Details of our plan are included here. We will use emails to the campus community as well as social media, the College website, and the ALERTAllegheny system, as appropriate, to keep our communities up to date and informed.
Allegheny’s COVID-19 Dashboard will be updated regularly during the semester.

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