Hilary L. Link – President

Fall 2021 Planning Update

To the Allegheny College community:

For 206 years, Allegheny College has been a residential liberal arts college offering students the opportunity to learn in the classroom from engaged faculty. In fall 2021, we plan fully to return to this mission.

During the academic year 2021–2022, all classes will be held on campus and in person. While we have had to adapt to the pandemic with remote learning options beginning in March 2020, students and faculty alike have made it clear that in-person learning and the residential campus experience are far more effective for the engaged hands-on learning that is a hallmark of an Allegheny education. Therefore, beginning fall 2021, unless unexpected health conditions should mandate otherwise, we expect that no remote classes will be offered. Residence halls will return to regular occupancy. Athletic practice and competition will proceed per NCAA and ACHA guidelines. Beginning August 1, 2021, all administrative offices will be fully staffed, in person.

We will continue to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission on campus with directed strategies following the most current public health recommendations. After extensive consultation with our local and national experts, however, we have confidence that we can educate our students in person, safely, beginning in the fall. Our track record speaks to our ability to succeed: we have seen no transmission of the virus from employee to student, or student to employee. No Allegheny community member has had to quarantine based on classroom interactions. Additionally, all employees have been offered the vaccine; it is our expectation that by August the majority of our students will also have been offered the opportunity to be vaccinated.

More detailed information will follow, as well as a document including FAQs. In the meantime, we hope you are as excited and proud to receive this message as we are to send it. We are confident in making this announcement due to the College’s success to date in keeping our community safe while remaining open for in-person living and learning. This success is a result of the incredible efforts, dedication, and at times personal sacrifices of our students, our faculty, our staff, our families, and so many others. We thank you for all you do each and every day to make our campus and our College safer and better. Go Gators!

With all best wishes,

President Link and her Cabinet

Cabinet members:

  • Ian Binnington, Dean of Curriculum and Registrar
  • Ron Cole, Provost and Dean of the College
  • Kristin Dukes, Dean for Institutional Diversity
  • Ellen Johnson, Incoming Vice President for Enrollment Management
  • Jennifer Padlan, Director of Human Resources, Payroll and Title IX Deputy
  • Bill Ross, Director of Athletics and Recreation
  • Meg Ryan, Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management
  • Susan Salton, Strategic Communications Advisor
  • Matt Stinson, Vice President for Institutional Advancement
  • April Thompson, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
  • Linda Wetsell, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Finance and Administration

Important follow-up on switching to on-campus living and learning

Dear Allegheny College Students:

We are writing to follow up on the message that went out yesterday, from Deans Thompson and Binnington, about the deadline to switch to remote learning. We wanted to clarify that if you are currently signed up for remote learning and want to switch to on-campus living and learning, it is still possible to do so, until February 4.

We know that it is challenging to decide whether to be remote or in-person, and we wanted to provide you a little more context to help you in making the decision. As noted in Deans Thompson and Binnington’s email, students currently signed up for in-person, who want to change their residency status to remote, should email spring2021@allegheny.edu.

  1. Before 5:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern time on Thursday, February 4, students may switch to remote without penalty, fee, or charge.
  2. Between 5:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern time on Thursday, February 4 and the time they move in, students may switch to remote and will be charged a $600 cancellation fee. Room charges left after the $600 is deducted and all board charges will be refunded.
  3. After a student moves in, they may switch to remote and will be charged a $600 cancellation fee. They will receive a prorated refund of room and board (not tuition and fees) through the 60% mark of the semester.
  4. After the 60% mark of the semester, students may switch to remote and will receive no refund of room or board and will not owe any additional fees as a result of moving out.

A large number of students who were remote in the fall have selected to live and learn on campus instead in the spring. As some students are currently still weighing their options, we wanted to alert you to our updated and enhanced COVID dashboard, which shows the COVID positivity rate on campus (currently 0.42%), compared to that of Crawford County (currently 12.9%) the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (currently 10.5%) and the U.S. (currently 11.9%). Our ACHA advisory board — including epidemiologists and microbiologists in California and in Erie, PA — is confident that the surge is declining in Crawford County and that Allegheny College remains one of the safest possible places to live and learn this spring.

To that end, students who are currently signed up to be remote, who may have changed their minds and wish to live and learn on campus, should similarly email spring2021@allegheny.edu by February 4 to arrange for at-home testing prior to move-in. For students who make this switch, billing for room and board will be reinstated.

Whether you plan to be with us in-person or joining us remotely, we are all excited for the spring Module 2 semester to start. We wish you all the best, and we look forward to welcoming you back to campus soon.


President Link and ACHA

Important Update — Plans for the Spring Semester

Dear Allegheny College Campus Community,

I hope you’re having a healthy, safe, and restorative break with family and friends. As we celebrate the arrival of 2021, I wanted to send you an update so that you have a clear picture of plans for the upcoming spring semester. This update has critical information that you need to know as you plan for January and February. We will be following up with more detailed emails about some of the topics mentioned here, so please keep an eye on your email in the days and weeks to come.

  • Module 1—fully remote—will start as planned on January 19, 2021, and will run through February 11. Module 2 classes will start, face-to-face as planned, on February 23, 2021. Students were asked to confirm at the end of last semester if they will be living and learning on campus during Module 2; if plans have changed since you submitted your survey, please contact us ASAP at fall2020@allegheny.edu. The Allegheny College Health Agency continues to watch guidance from the county and state; at present, our plans are on track to begin in-person classes on February 23, 2021, as planned. We will of course communicate to you immediately if we need to change plans based on CDC or government mandates or action.

    You will be receiving an email to register for an at-home COVID-19 test kit two weeks before you return to campus. Our many experts continue to emphasize that an essential key to a successful semester is testing for everyone—students, faculty, and staff — before they arrive on campus. For that reason, for spring we will require proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test selected by the College just before arrival. Look for an email from Inspire Diagnostics and read it carefully. You will need to register for the test and enter the best mailing address to receive the test during the two weeks before you return to campus. If you have medical insurance, please enter that information. If you do not have medical insurance or if for some reason your insurance company rejects the claim, Allegheny College will cover the expense. Please carefully read as well the instructions that come with the test, which will tell you the best date to take the test. Timing is critical for the testing to ensure maximum effectiveness.

  • Students will be able to move into on-campus residences on February 18 and 19. As in the fall, all students (including commuter students, as well as all faculty and staff) will be required to take an additional COVID-19 PCR test on campus during these two days. Allegheny College will continue to operate with proper physical distancing and masking protocols in place. Therefore, as in fall, we need students to stick to their assigned move-in time to avoid congestion. Students will receive information about scheduling their move-in time as soon as possible. Based on our success in the fall, a second, in-person COVID-19 PCR test will also be required for all students on February 25 and February 26. We will, again, have an on-campus quarantine; this is tentatively scheduled to end March 4, but we will not finalize the date until we confirm there is no campus spread of COVID.

  • I am pleased to announce that Allegheny College will be doing even more testing during the spring semester, to ensure the health, safety, and success of our community. We’re investing in this additional testing to make sure we once again complete the semester face-to-face. Such testing will be mandatory for those individuals who will be on campus, a practice that will help maintain a safe on-campus experience for all. We wish to ensure that all of our students can maintain their academic progress and have a productive semester. As always, ACHA and Dr. Morrow are available for questions and concerns. Email them at healthagency@allegheny.edu or gmorrow@allegheny.edu.

  • We have formed a Vaccine Task Force that will be partnering with local medical and public health authorities to educate our community and—as soon as possible—to make vaccines available. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

As always, our community’s health, safety, and well-being are our highest priority, along with ensuring that nothing disrupts our students’ ability to achieve their academic goals and earn their degrees on time. Thank you all for your continued dedication and resolve and, above all, for the kindness and respect you’ve displayed toward all members of the Allegheny College family. I’m proud to be a part of our amazing campus community.

I look forward to a wonderful semester ahead. In the meantime, I wish you and your loved ones a coming year filled with good health, happiness, success, and so much that is good, including vaccines for all!

President Link

From President Link — Important Information

Dear Allegheny Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As part of our ongoing effort to keep you informed about our campus reopening, and to respond to questions we have received in the past two days, we write with updated information regarding the COVID situation on campus. To be clear, in general we are doing amazingly well, and we have a very low infection rate (24 total positives out of 3,356). Because we are doing everything in our power to keep the campus safe and healthy and open for in-person living and learning for those who wish, we are taking additional steps today to give us the confidence that we can isolate cases and eliminate community spread.

Because we uncovered, during last week’s tests, a cluster of positives among a connected group of students, and because we have understood that this arose due to travel off campus, effective immediately, and until we have evidence through testing that we have contained our cluster situation, we are adding the precaution of extending the on-campus quarantine period until further notice. This means students may not leave campus for any reason — including, for example, trips to area businesses, jobs, or any other off-campus locations. While this is disappointing for all of us, given the current status of our clustering, we believe that this is the best way to maintain safety for the entire community.

Additionally, given the clustering and ongoing reported violations of the Gator Pledge, effective immediately, we will no longer give warnings to those students who are found to have violated the pledge. This does not mean that every report leads to action; but should a report uncover a true violation of the Pledge, students in violation will be expected to leave campus and continue their courses remotely from home. While the overwhelming majority of students are taking the health guidelines seriously, unfortunately, there are already a few students who have disrespected these guidelines and violated the Gator Pledge; they are being held accountable through the student conduct process and being removed from campus. It is unfortunate that a handful of students have negatively impacted the experience for the majority of students who have adhered to the guidelines in the strictest possible way. We must reiterate that there can 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 facial covering is your roommate.

There is simply no room for non-compliance, and our response throughout the semester has been and will continue to be quick and firm, with no room for leniency. We urge families to remind your students to comply; if not, they risk jeopardizing the on-campus experience for every single Allegheny student and our faculty and staff.

A few students have rightfully asked why, after the campus quarantine ends, we are planning to bring admissions visitors to campus, including athletic recruits, when we are doing everything in our power to protect the safety of our campus community. We want to be clear that we are only doing so when the campus quarantine ends, and that we are doing so under the strict guidance of our epidemiologists and medical professionals. The Office of Admissions convened a committee over the summer made up of faculty, staff, and students to create a plan to safely host in-person visitors on campus. With approval from ACHA, the committee examined and implemented the protocols necessary to move forward with allowing visitors on a very limited scale based on guidelines set forth by the CDC and ACHA. 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.

Thank you for doing everything you can to help keep the Allegheny and Meadville communities as safe as possible.

Hilary L. Link, President
Gabrielle Morrow, M.D., Allegheny College Health Agency

Return to Campus Update — August 6

Dear Students,

I thank you for your patience as our reopening plan evolves rapidly during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The continuing increase in COVID cases across the country and heightened domestic and international travel restrictions have required a daily — at times hourly — re-evaluation of our campus move-in plans. We know that there have been delays in our communications to you and understand this has been frustrating and has impacted your ability to finalize your plans for fall semester. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience, which is due to the unprecedented and dynamic circumstances this global pandemic presents. We pledge to you that everything we are doing is toward creating the safest possible environment on campus, and toward making the fall semester start as smoothly as possible. Classes will still begin as planned on August 31 for all students, and your professors are all excited to begin coursework with you. We are looking forward to you joining us for the start of the academic year, whether you plan to live and learn on campus or remotely.

The increase of cases in different areas of the country, and almost daily changes in availability of testing, have led us to update our move-in to a phased plan that includes high-accuracy PCR testing for COVID-19 to screen all students upon arrival and for continued monitoring during the fall semester. These tests are done by nasal swab with results returned within 48 hours, allowing us to identify and isolate cases of asymptomatic infection before in-person classes begin. Campus move-in will now begin August 20, and students will be contacted in the next two days with definitive details about their scheduled move-in date and process. Please wait for further details before finalizing your travel plans, because move-in slots will be scheduled to provide spacing among residence halls. We also know that there are special circumstances for some of our international students, and we will be reaching out to those students separately.

All students will be required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival. Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be moved to isolation housing, where they will have regular check-ins by health professionals and will be provided with food and other necessities until they recover. We all need to work together and responsibly on robust preventative measures, and we are looking to you to play an essential, active role in keeping our community safe. As circumstances evolve, our plans may continue to evolve as well.

We anticipate you will have questions and so we have arranged a Zoom meeting for students and families on Monday, August 10, from 7 to 8 pm (EDT). The link for joining the call will be sent tomorrow. We also encourage you to refer to our COVID-19 Plans & Resources site for details and updates.

With best wishes,

President Hilary L. Link

Return to Campus Update – July 27, 2020

Dear Students,

We’re sharing our most recent updates and reminders about our return to campus for the fall semester. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we address the complex work of ensuring a safe environment for our students, faculty, staff, and the broader community. We also encourage you to visit our newly updated reopening website for the latest information.

Read full July 27th update

Return to Campus Weekly Update – July 8, 2020

Hilary L. Link – President
July 8, 2020 at 2:06pm

Dear Students,

This is my second weekly update to keep you and your families informed about fall semester details and planning for your arrival at Allegheny College. I encourage you to carefully read each update because health guidelines and data continue to evolve, and consequently, information and additional guidelines will be provided throughout the summer.

Read full July 8th update

From President Link – Return to Campus Information – July 1, 2020

Hilary L. Link – President
July 1, 2020 at 2:56pm

Dear Students,

The recent weather has given us a glimpse of seasonal summer temperatures and the vibrant blue skies enjoyed during the summer months in Meadville. As we look forward to fall, I’m sure you have questions about joining us on campus. It is our intention to send a weekly update to keep you and your families informed about fall semester details and planning for your arrival at Allegheny College.

Read full July 1st update

Allegheny College Planning to Open for On-Campus Living and Learning in Fall 2020 – May 28, 2020

Hilary L. Link – President
May 28, 2020 at 12:02pm

Dear Members of the Allegheny College Community,

Allegheny College plans to welcome our students, faculty, staff, and administrators back to campus in several months for the fall 2020 semester. It is our intention to fully reopen for on-campus living and learning accompanied by, and subject to, ongoing guidance from Pennsylvania state and federal officials and public health, epidemiological, and medical experts.

Returning to fall on-campus living and learning is guided by the following core principles:

  • Prioritizing the health and physical and emotional safety of our campus community, while also recognizing the risks associated with reopening
  • Creating meaningful partnerships to protect the health and safety of and ensure the short- and long-term resilience of our local community
  • Maintaining our commitment to equity and diversity and to equal access for all students to the academic, social, and wellness (physical and emotional) resources available at the College
  • Community engagement, transparency, and open communications
  • Maintenance of the strong community ethos for which Allegheny is known. All members of our community will be asked to participate in mitigation and containment strategies — testing, isolation, tracing, behavioral and travel modifications — that prioritize the health and well-being of themselves and the entire community.

In mid-April, the Senior Leadership Team adopted a planning, operational, and implementation organizational structure to address the feasibility of resuming on-campus living and learning. This structure serves as the framework for conducting due diligence on the feasibility of reopening the campus. We have formed 12 groups to focus on specific operational functions of the College to ensure that we are prepared for a return to campus in the fall. These groups are charged with determining what needs to happen within their operational area for the campus to open safely, are led by a member of the Administrative Executive Committee (AEC), and include diverse representation of campus stakeholders (students, faculty, staff, and administrators) that form implementation teams. Operational groups also consult extensively with additional members of the campus community, as needed. The groups and their leads are:

  • Health and Safety Equipment Needs: April Thompson, Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students
  • Campus Facilities: Linda Wetsell, Vice President of Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer
  • Employees/Staffing: Jen Padlan, Director of Human Resources
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access: Kristin Dukes, Dean for Institutional Diversity
  • Academics: Ron Cole, Provost and Dean of the College
  • Student Life: April Thompson, Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students
  • Athletics: Bill Ross, Director of Athletics and Recreation
  • Admissions: Cornell LeSane, Senior Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions
  • On-Campus Events: Phil Foxman, Associate Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs
  • Communication Strategy: Susan Salton, Vice President for College Relations
  • Technology/Safety Projects: Rick Holmgren, Vice President for Information Services & Assessment
  • Budget Planning: Linda Wetsell, Vice President of Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer

These operational groups will be in regular communication with each other and will be implementing plans for distributing personal protective equipment; physical distancing and safety in residences, classrooms, dining halls, and offices; guidelines for employee return to work and accommodations for ongoing remote work; and technology needs in learning spaces and elsewhere across campus, among a range of other items.

We will continue to work throughout the summer and to update our community as details of our Return to Campus Plan are finalized. Circumstances and guidance surrounding COVID-19 continue to remain fluid, and thus we need to continually adapt our expectations and procedures. To guide us in this complex planning, we have formed the Allegheny College Health Agency (ACHA), which we will formally introduce to you in the coming days. The ACHA is co-directed by Professor Becky Dawson and Dr. Gabrielle Morrow. They will be sending out a number of health policies and protocols in the coming days, and they are already guiding our Return to Work plan effective July 1, when faculty, staff, and administrators return to campus after an extended period of working remotely. The ACHA will oversee extensive testing, contact tracing, and mitigation strategies for our community, and the agency will communicate frequently with the community in the coming weeks and months.

Changes to campus facilities to meet physical distancing and best practice de-densification guidelines, combined with other operational changes designed to help protect the health and safety of our campus and the Meadville community, are actions we must take to reduce the risk and exposure to the virus, prepare the College for the potential of any diagnosed on-campus cases, and plan for the possibility of a state and/or national resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

As the world grows in complexity, it needs the creative problem-solvers that Allegheny prepares — multidimensional thinkers who consider different viewpoints, integrate knowledge across disciplines, and collaborate across vastly different backgrounds and perspectives. These are the exact skills needed to solve the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic — which cuts across perspectives and expertise in community and societal health, equity and social justice, economics, and more — and are the same skills we have adopted to develop our Return to Campus plan.

The ongoing connection our community has sustained during these past few months continues to inspire me and provides great hope for our future. Allegheny College will continue to deliver on its mission to provide a distinctive academic experience to all our students. I appreciate your continued patience and supportive understanding as we work to provide a safe and productive fall semester for our community.

President Hilary Link

Governor’s Stay at Home Order Expanded To Include Crawford County – March 31, 2020

Hilary L. Link – President
March 31, 2020 at 4:53pm

At 2 p.m. today, Governor Wolf expanded the Stay at Home Order to include Crawford County. The order now includes these 33 counties: Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Cameron, Carbon, Centre, Chester, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Forest, Franklin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, Somerset, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland and York counties.

Individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following allowable individual activities and allowable essential travel:

  • Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, or the health and safety of their family or household members (including pets), such as obtaining medicine or medical supplies, visiting a healthcare professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home
  • Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves, for their family or household members, or as part of volunteer efforts, or to deliver those services or supplies to others to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running if they maintain social distancing
  • Performing work providing essential products and services at a life-sustaining business
  • Caring for a family member or pet in another household
  • Any travel related to the provision of or access to the above-mentioned individual activities or life-sustaining business activities
  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons
  • Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services
  • Travel to return to a place of residence from an outside jurisdiction
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order
  • Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the commonwealth
  • Anyone performing life-sustaining travel does not need paperwork to prove the reason for travel.

As a reminder, and given the Governor’s announcement, students and families may not return to campus to pick up their belongings.

We understand students’ desire to retrieve personal belongings, but given the state guidance and our need to protect the community, we are not allowing students who have left campus/gone home to re-enter residential spaces. If you have life-sustaining items that are needed from your room, please contact the Dean of Students Office (deanofstudents@allegheny.edu). For select items, a staff member may be able to go to the room and retrieve the item to be shipped to you; or if you have an emergency need for the item, we can have it left at a drop-off point outside of our residential spaces so you do not come into contact with other students, staff, or residential spaces. We are strongly committed to providing the safest possible environment for the staff and students who have no choice but to be on campus through this. Once the state guidance has been updated to permit business beyond life-sustaining activities, we will provide details about dates and times to retrieve belongings. Until that time, please for the safety of everyone follow Governor Wolf’s guidance to stay calm, stay safe, and STAY HOME.

I ask all members of our community to please adhere to the Governor’s and Crawford County’s orders and community mitigation measures that are aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Thank you for your resilience, understanding, and patience during this extremely challenging time.

Hilary L. Link