Allegheny College Health Agency

Allegheny College CARES Act Student Aid Report – October 9, 2020

In accordance with Section 18004(e) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act” or the “Act”), The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (“HEERF”) contained in Section 18004 of the CARES Act, and the guidance issued by the United States Department of Education, including Office of Postsecondary Education’s guidance dated May 6, 2020, Allegheny College submits this report concerning the first award Allegheny College received under the HEERF consisting of funds for Emergency Finance Aid Grants to students.

1. Acknowledgement of Funding and Certification

Allegheny College reviewed, signed and returned the U.S. Department of Educations’ Certification and Agreement for these funds on April 14, 2020. Allegheny College received a grant award notification on April 23, 2020. As required by the certification, Allegheny College will use no less than fifty percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants directly to students.

2. Funds Awarded for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students

Allegheny College received $871,541 under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act designated for distribution to students impacted by campus disruptions due to COVID-19.

3. Emergency Financial Aid Grants Distributed to Students to Date Under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act

Of the $871,541 Allegheny College received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act designated for distribution to students impacted by campus disruptions due to COVID-19, Allegheny College had distributed $729,992 as of August 20th, 2020, and an additional $29,468 as of October 10th, 2020, bringing the total to $759,460.

4. Eligible Students

Allegheny College had approximately 1,400 students in the spring semester and approximately 1,350 for the fall semester as of the date of this report that are eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 by filing a valid FAFSA for the 2019-2020 academic year and, thus, are eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

5. Eligible Students Receiving CARES Act Aid

Allegheny College has distributed funds it received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act designated for distribution to students impacted by campus disruptions due to COVID-19 to 986 students as of August 20th, 2020 and another 109 students as of October 10th, 2020, bringing the total to 1,095.

6. Distribution Method

Funds Already Distributed

In order to qualify for Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act, Allegheny College students must first be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and incur expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. Of those students that qualified, Allegheny College chose to provide an initial disbursement of Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students who qualified for needs-based room and board grants under Allegheny’s internal criteria because it determined those students were most in need those and necessarily incurred COVID-19 pandemic related expenses following the loss of on-campus room and board.

In order to calculate these students’ COVID-19 related expenses, Allegheny College used its institutional policy for estimating needs-based commuter student room and board costs for the remaining 40% of the spring semester. This calculation resulted in an Emergency Financial Aid Grant maximum award of $800 per student.

In order to distribute this grant as expeditiously as possible, beginning on April 13, 2020, Allegheny College provided Emergency Federal Aid Grant relief to students in the same manner as it had previously provided institutional need-based aid, through students’ online accounts. Because Allegheny College began providing qualifying relief funds to qualifying students prior to Allegheny College’s receipt of any CARES Act funding, in accordance with United States Department of Education guidance, Allegheny College reimbursed itself from a portion of the CARES Act funding it received in the amount it advanced to its students in accordance with the above methodology.

Funds Reserved for Future Distribution

Allegheny College has reserved $186,192 for eligible students that incur other additional expenses related to the disruption of on-campus instruction as a result of COVID-19. The reserve amount in Emergency Financial Aid Grants for students under Section 18004(a)(1) may be applied for using the Success Grant application available on the Allegheny College’s Dean of Students webpage. As of July 7, 2020 the balance in the reserve for eligible students is $150,749. Allegheny College has not finalized its distribution methodology for these funds and reserves its right to modify this report as needed.

7. Communication to Students Concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants

All students who were enrolled in the 2020 spring semester, as well as those enrolled in the 2020 fall semester, were notified of the opportunity to apply for this funding via email. Students are asked to include in the application the amount and brief description of the expense incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is used to determine an award amount. For students already issued Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1), the expense must be in addition to the expense for which they already received funds.

Update on the Health and Safety of the Community

To our campus community,

The following is an update on the health and safety of the community.

We currently have no community members with active COVID-19. We have one student in quarantine.

The first week of rapid testing at our on-campus CVS site was successful. Thank you to those who, unfortunately, waited a long time on Monday and Tuesday, and to those who worked through sign-up glitches. Despite some administrative hiccups — which have been resolved — we have been able to achieve our goal of testing approximately 60 students and employees per day. In addition to our asymptomatic surveillance, we have been able to include a few community members who reported feeling ill and were added to the testing schedule last minute. This eliminated the need to quarantine ill students and thus reduced the drain on campus resources. It also decreased the stress level of those individuals and their close contacts.

Please note that the Allegheny College COVID-19 dashboard results will lag by one to two days. CVS does internal vetting of results, so they report final numbers approximately 24 hours later. We also have to account for the human factor, as only Dr. Gabrielle Morrow has access to test results. If she is providing direct patient care or counseling persons diagnosed with COVID-19 and their families, the results may be delayed a short time longer. The ACHA aims for full transparency, so if you have a question or concern about the results or the dashboard updates, please send us an email at healthagency@allegheny.edu.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is asking all state residents, including college students, to download the new COVID Alert PA mobile app. The app provides alerts for potential exposures to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and advice for what to do if you have a potential exposure to COVID-19. The College is not requiring individuals to download the app, but we encourage everyone to sign up for this powerful new tool that can be used to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Thanks to your efforts, we are now living and learning in person for the fifth week in a row! This is due to YOUR commitment to safety. Thank you to everyone in our campus community for all you are doing. Allegheny Strong!

The team at the Allegheny College Health Agency

Rapid testing begins Monday 9/21!

Dear Allegheny community members,

This Monday (9/21), rapid testing starts at Allegheny College!

All community members will receive an email invitation over the next few weeks to schedule a rapid test through our on-line system. Testing is available by invitation only, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CVS is administering the nasal swab test, which is manufactured by Abbott. The testing location is in Edwards Hall. You will get your results within 15 minutes of the test! If you are positive, a nurse practitioner will counsel you immediately in a private area and help you make plans for isolation. We expect to test the entire Allegheny College community every 35 days.

Help keep our community safe and our college open by scheduling and showing up on time for your rapid test each time you are contacted!

We welcome your questions and suggestions at healthagency@allegheny.edu. Keep in mind that we are also providing ongoing medical care to all those in isolation and quarantine, so while we answer every e-mail personally, it may take a few days to respond.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the health and safety of the Allegheny community.

Dr. Gabrielle Morrow

Important Update from the ACHA

Dear Allegheny Students,

We are happy to report that the campus quarantine process has been observed according to plans. The most recent test results have been better than expected, and students have been great at abiding by the Gator Pledge and following face covering and distancing policies.

While we have had students test positive, we have had an unprecedented collaboration between the Allegheny College Health Agency (ACHA), College leadership, faculty, and students resulting in less than 1% of our student population with COVID-19 at any time. The current positivity rate is 0.1%.

We are now ready to end the campus-wide quarantine except for anyone who has been designated for individual quarantine by the ACHA. The ACHA has recommended and the administration has approved an end to the quarantine, effective 9 a.m. September 15.

What does this mean for each student?

This means that any student who is not currently positive nor under individual quarantine restrictions may travel off campus into the local community. Anyone doing so must follow all of the mitigation efforts you also follow on campus: always wearing a mask, keeping physical distance, washing hands, using common sense.

  • Travel to restricted states is not permitted. If traveling outside of the county, please complete the Off-Campus Travel Form.
  • Students may leave campus for appointments and shopping. Continue to use delivery and curbside options whenever possible.
  • Students may eat in restaurants only where they are able to appropriately physically distance.
  • Off-campus work is restricted to only those who rely on the income to pay for their livelihood. Please contact ACHA for more information.
  • All vehicles must be at one-half capacity, masks must be worn, and students should spread out to maximize physical distance.

Beginning September 21, we will be screening cohorts of 60 students, faculty, and staff per day, five days a week. This will enable us to identify new clusters of COVID-19 and take swift and appropriate action to isolate them, keeping the campus as safe as possible. These groups are specifically formed to represent all residence halls, athletic teams, and other easily-identified cohorts on campus. We will cycle through our entire community every 32–35 days.

While Allegheny College has shown that it was better prepared and more diligent in meeting COVID-19 prevention requirements than many other colleges and universities, if we hope to remain open for in-person living and learning through November 20, the situation will continue to require careful monitoring. Individual responsibility requirements for anyone leaving campus overnight are listed BELOW.

Important Updates and Reminders

  • Please note that, starting September 15, the Wise Center will be open for use by students, faculty, and staff only. There will be limited hours and new COVID-19 protocols in place. The Wise Center will use a reservation system for individuals working out since every space in the facility will have limited capacity. Further details about reserving a time will be shared with the campus community. Also on September 15, athletic teams will begin their first phase of training which will be closely supervised by the coaches, who have been invaluable in helping to contain the recent cluster of COVID-19 cases.
  • There can still be no gatherings, no parties, no visitors to the residence halls from off campus, or other behaviors that put the health and safety of the community at risk. In general, the only person you should be within six feet of without a face covering is your roommate.
  • A few students have rightfully asked why, after the campus quarantine ends, we are planning to bring admissions visitors to campus, including athletic recruits. We want to be clear that we are doing so under the strict guidance of our epidemiologists and medical professionals, who approved the protocols necessary to move forward with allowing visitors on a very limited scale based on guidelines set forth by the CDC. Some of those guidelines consist of health screening questionnaires, face coverings at all times, scheduled time between visitors, vastly reduced numbers of visitors permitted, and limited exposure to campus buildings. Walk-in visits are not allowed and we are not permitting students to visit from CDC restricted areas.

If you have any questions about our guidelines moving forward, take a look at the updates to the Plans to Reopen Allegheny College site. We continue to do our best to update the site, although things are moving quickly in real-time, so we appreciate your patience and attention as any changes are needed.

Sincerely,

The team at the Allegheny College Health Agency


Individual Responsibility Requirements for Students Leaving Campus Overnight

  • Students who leave campus overnight are required to quarantine in their room upon their return. If the student has a roommate, they will quarantine in a designated quarantine area, such as Edwards Hall or Allegheny Hall.
  • Upon return to campus, the student will be asked to quarantine for four days and then get a test on day five (or the next testing date after day five, as testing is not available every day). Quarantine continues until a negative result is returned or 14 days have passed.
  • Important Exception: any student traveling to a state that is currently on the Pennsylvania quarantine list is required to quarantine on campus for 14 days with no option to end quarantine early with a test.