Frequently Asked Questions

Student Move-In

Is there anything we can do before leaving home to reduce the risk of bringing COVID-19 to campus?

We strongly encourage students, those they live with, and anyone traveling with them to self-isolate as much as possible for 4 or more days before coming to campus. It’s critical that students and their traveling companions not host or attend parties or gatherings, even if they are outside, for at least 4 days before traveling to campus. As you know, parties and other social gatherings with more than 10 people present a high risk of spreading COVID-19. Students and everyone traveling with them to Allegheny should also observe precautions when making stops on the trip to campus: wear face coverings, practice physical distancing, wash hands thoroughly, and use hand sanitizers.

Can students move in earlier than their scheduled time or request a different time?

Students should complete this form by August 14 to request a different move-in time.

Will the College provide shuttles to accommodate current move-in plans?

Yes, shuttles from the Pittsburgh Airport will be available, and the schedule is available here. We will do everything we can to consider all flights, but students may need to stay overnight at a hotel in Pittsburgh for a shuttle the following day, depending on their flight schedule.

Will roommates be moved in separately?

Students who wish to move in alongside their roommate(s) are permitted to do so, provided all are in agreement about quarantining together until their move-in testing results are returned. Students should wear masks and stay distant during the time they are awaiting testing results. If families have concerns about managing their risks, please contact us to discuss options.

What is the protocol for move-in for students from quarantine states?

If your home is in one of the states for which Pennsylvania is requesting a quarantine, we will ask you to stay in a single room in a separate housing unit until your test results are returned. Test results are expected within 24–48 hours, and students coming from the affected states will be able to move into their residence halls once their COVID-19 test comes back negative. Please pack a bag with what you will need for two nights, including bedding and towels, so we can move the bulk of your belongings into your residence hall room on your move-in day, and you will have what you need during the quarantine period.

Can a student from a quarantine state travel to a relative’s home not in a quarantine state to quarantine for 14 days before traveling to Meadville?

No, students need to come to campus, be tested, and quarantine on campus until they receive their test results.

Are students expected to fully move in, fully move out in November, and then fully move back in in February?

Yes, at this time we are asking that students bring minimal belongings and take things home over break. This will allow students to have their belongings with them in the event that the public health situation changes over those months and we need to close campus.

Is there anything special that students should plan to bring this year given the current situation?

Bring to campus only what you can take home with you in the event we must close the campus for a public health emergency. Outside furniture is not permitted on campus, such as refrigerators, couches, armchairs, or tables.

What if a student discovers that they failed to pack something essential a day or two after arrival and must get to a store to purchase the item? How are they supposed to get the needed item if students are expected to stay on campus?

We are asking that students remain on campus until September 15, 2020. Students can purchase items in the Merriman Bookstore, our new on-campus convenience store, Amazon, and other online retail resources. Some grocery stores also deliver directly to campus.

Will we have to wear face coverings around our roommates/in our living spaces?

According to the PA Department of Health, face coverings must be worn in all public spaces, including common areas in residence halls. Face coverings are not required inside individual bedrooms, except during the first 36–48 hours on campus pending testing results.

What should students expect during their first 48 hours on campus while awaiting COVID-19 test results?

Students arriving on campus will do the COVID-19 test and then move to their rooms. During the first 48 hours on campus, while awaiting their test results, students will minimize their contact with others as much as possible. That means keeping to their rooms as much as possible and leaving only for necessities such as using restrooms and picking up to-go food from Brooks Dining Hall. Students are also welcome to walk outside (with masks on) as long as they maintain at least 6 feet from others and do not gather in groups. Students will receive the result of their COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arrival.

Students arriving from states on the PA quarantine list will have food delivered to their building.

Can I go back home to wait on the test results rather than quarantining in the residence hall?

No, once you are tested, you need to move into the residence hall and stay there.

How will new students be able to meet others given the limited activities?

The Allegheny Bound team is working on a comprehensive Welcome Week schedule for first-year and transfer students. Please check the Allegheny Bound website for additional information. Students will not be allowed to gather in person in groups larger than 50.

Academics and Remote Learning

What if I start learning on campus but choose to finish remotely?

We are still working on the mechanics of this situation. If a student who has chosen to start the semester on campus decides of their own volition to leave during the semester — even though the campus is still open — and finishes the semester remotely, a refund of room and board is not likely.

If remote learning is mandated for all students, we would hope to refund a portion of room and board; this is not a finalized policy, however, since the situation is so fluid and ever-evolving. Students need to be aware that any such refund may also impact their financial aid; if a refund of room and board occurs, this changes the total cost of attendance, and aid will be reduced to reflect the change in cost.

I have concerns about online learning because of the experience this past spring.

Faculty have been planning for fall 2020 on the assumption that some students will be remote, some or all of the time. We are asking all faculty to let students know what instruction will look like in their specific courses. We expect all classes to be available to all students, as they otherwise would be. Now that faculty have information about student intentions, they can plan ahead and let students know what they intend.

What is the process for remote finals and other examinations?

All faculty should be in contact with students to let them know what instruction will look like in their specific courses. We expect that remote examination options will be available to students who need them. By their own vote, Allegheny students are subject to an Honor Code that allows us to hold unproctored exams remotely, just as we hold unproctored exams on campus.

Will the grading system for the fall be like the spring 2020 semester where we had the option for pass/fail?

At this point, the usual grading schemes remain in place. The CR/NC option was approved for spring 2020 only.

Campus Life

Will students be allowed to leave campus? Are students allowed to go into town to work, attend religious services, or for other activities?

We ask all students to stay on campus through September 14, a “campus quarantine” that provides a 14-day quarantine period to ensure there are no active cases of COVID-19 on campus.

During the campus quarantine period, we are requiring all residential students to remain on campus. Once the campus quarantine period is lifted, students may go into Meadville for religious services or other activities as long as the services/activities they are attending are maintaining physical distancing requirements and face coverings are being used by all.

Are there exceptions to the campus quarantine for local work?

All students will be asked to remain on campus through September 14, with no exceptions. This time is important for both the safety of our Allegheny community as well as our surrounding community. Because the goal is to reduce movement on and off campus until we are sure that there are no positive cases on campus after arrival/travel/move-in from multiple areas, we are unable to make exceptions to this as it would potentially introduce the virus during this crucial time of post-testing and campus quarantine, making the process very difficult to monitor.

What about students who work a part-time job off campus?

We recognize that students as well as staff work at jobs off campus. The goal throughout the semester (not just during the campus quarantine period) is to reduce risk of COVID-19 exposure to the campus community. The educational information shared by ACHA applies to both on and off campus. Students will be expected to maintain physical distance and cover their faces while off campus for any reason. During the campus quarantine period, we are requiring all residential students to remain on campus. Following the quarantine period, we are asking that students limit their exposure off campus. We encourage students to find work on campus where possible. More information about on-campus jobs is available on the Student Employment website.

Will there be restrictions on campus employment?

All work-study positions will be on campus this year. Please refer specific questions to Financial Aid at fao@allegheny.edu or visit the Student Employment website.

If I have a counseling or other medical appointment off-campus in the first two weeks, can I still go?

We ask that you make the appointments after September 15 if possible.

How will the campus quarantine work for commuter students?

We will be working with commuter students as a cohort with different risks than students living in the residence halls. Commuter students will be screened before classes start and again the first week of classes as part of the baseline testing associated with move-in and reopening the campus to students. After that, commuter students will be subject to screening tests throughout the semester, just like residential students. During the campus quarantine period, commuter students will be allowed to participate in in-person classes and other activities on campus. We will be sending commuter students specific messages as we get closer to the start of the semester.

Will facilities (Wise Center, Campus Center, Pelletier Library) be open for student use?

We anticipate a phased reopening of campus facilities as testing concludes. Library resources, professors’ office hours, and anything that can be accessed remotely will be available even if the buildings are closed. We are making ongoing assessments of the use of each facility on campus with appropriate mitigation and public health guidelines in place. During the period of on-campus quarantine, there may be limited facilities open.

Will parents be allowed to visit their students during the semester and take them out to eat?

We ask that families limit the potential virus exposure as much as possible. Please do not come to the area. We are hopeful that the shortened 12-week semester will make it possible for all residential students to have an uninterrupted experience.

Can families and friends visit students on campus at any point?

No. Visitors will not be permitted on campus during the fall semester, with the exception of those who accompany students during their move-in appointments.

Can other students come and hang out in my room/apartment (what’s the on-campus guest policy)?

After all residential students have received their test results, they may visit other students living on campus as long as they are able to maintain physical distancing. Students should plan to meet in spaces that are large enough to accommodate their guests maintaining 6 feet distance. Outdoor spaces and lounges are better options than student rooms where space is limited.

Students must wear face coverings and maintain physical distance when visiting students other than their roommates.

How will policies be enforced?

The Gator Pledge outlines the expectations for students and the process for enforcement.

Billing and Financial Aid

What is the difference in cost and aid between in-person and remote learning?

Standard tuition and the $250 semester fees still apply to remote learning. If a student chooses to learn remotely, room and board charges will be removed from the bill prior to the start of the semester.

Students need to be aware that studying remotely may also impact their financial aid. If room and board are not billed, this changes the total cost of attendance, and aid will be reduced to reflect the change in cost.

Are we reducing tuition for online classes?

We are not planning to reduce tuition for students who choose to learn remotely, although charges for room and board will be waived for those students. We do recognize the importance of the residential liberal arts model; however, the long-term value of an Allegheny education is more than the sum of the days one spends on campus. Your academic experience in the fall, while it will be different if you plan to live and learn remotely, will be taught by the same exceptional faculty and will be supported by the same exceptional staff. The College will maintain our small classes and personalized attention, and students will earn credits towards the same Allegheny degree.

Our faculty and staff are spending the summer preparing to deliver the world-class education for which we are known, albeit in new formats.

Will fees be prorated?

Any fees associated with an earned credit will not be prorated.

Has the due date for my bill changed?

Semester bills were due July 31, 2020. We realize decisions are still being made regarding method of study for fall 2020, so there will not be late fees assessed for late payment of the July bill.

If I decide to take a leave of absence this year because of COVID-19, how would I do so? What would be the impact on my financial aid?

Please check with the Financial Aid Office (fao@allegheny.edu) about any possible impact of a leave of absence on financial aid. Leave of absence questions can be sent to deanofstudents@allegheny.edu.

I have questions about my bill.

For billing questions, please email Financial Services at finsrv@allegheny.edu or visit the Financial Services website for answers to frequently asked questions.

With the reduced time for the fall session, will fall payment plans still be through December or will payment plans need to be paid in full by November?

The payment plans will still be set up for five monthly payments with the final payment due December 1.

Please describe meal plans and the impact of the reduced semester on pricing.

All students will receive the full 15 weeks of the original meal plan. Meal plans will be condensed over a shorter period of time. For this reason, a student may want to choose a smaller meal plan. We are not discounting meal plans but, rather, allowing students to keep a running balance from week to week and not lose meals throughout the fall semester. All students will have at minimum two weeks worth of meals preloaded onto their card on August 20. If a student is arriving later than that, they will have even more accumulated on their card. For questions about the meal plan or your bill, you can contact the Financial Services Office at finsrv@allegheny.edu.

The meal plan change form is available on the Housing Self-Service Portal.

Why am I being charged for health insurance when I have adequate coverage in the Meadville area already?

The health insurance charge may be waived if the student has adequate insurance that is valid for the Meadville area.

Each student is required to complete the insurance tab in their WebAdvisor account, and the online waiver is available through that process. If you did not complete this form, the system defaults your choice to “Accept” and the health insurance will be charged. If you have completed this form and wish to change your election, please email finsrv@allegheny.edu with your name and student ID number, and the form can be reset to allow a new choice.

What about vehicle registration?

If students pay the annual vehicle registration fee and then cannot or choose not to return for the spring 2021 semester to campus, the vehicle registration fee will be prorated to the semester on campus. If a student chooses to leave campus mid-semester and finish remotely, no proration of fees for the remainder of the semester will occur.

COVID-19 Screening

Who do students contact with their specific questions about COVID-19 screening at Allegheny?

If you have specific COVID-19 related questions, please contact us at healthagency@allegheny.edu.

Will the COVID-19 screening be done at the campus? If so, what would be the protocol if you are from out of state?

We are planning for all move in screenings to occur at Robertson Athletic Complex. Protocols for students states for which Pennsylvania is requesting a quarantine are described in the FAQ section on Move-in. Our second required testing for residential students will take place during the first three days of classes: August 31, September 1 and September 2. Commuter students will be tested on August 24.

Are there fees for COVID-19 screening?

Students, faculty, and staff will not be responsible for COVID-19 screening fees, but Allegheny College reserves the right to bill the student’s individual health insurance plan, where appropriate.

Will students who are ill be able to recuperate in an infirmary? If not, what’s the plan for them?

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 are also developing policies to allow students who want to recover at their home off campus to do so, in accordance with PA Department of Health guidelines.

Can you help me understand the reason for a stay-on-campus restriction if a COVID-19 test result is negative? What is the reason that all students must stay on campus through September 14?

Move-in screening will provide results for that moment in time, but we need to continue to monitor the health status, continue/repeat testing for our campus community, and limit our interactions throughout the Meadville community — for the protection of both our now-COVID-19-tested population and the Meadville community that has thus far experienced relatively limited spread of the disease.

The move-in day test will tell us at the moment of move-in if the student has an active COVID-19 infection. What we know about the course of infection is that the time from exposure until symptoms present (known as the incubation period) is, on average, 5 days long (the range is 2–13 days). If a person does have symptoms, they will be infectious (able to spread the virus to others) several days before symptoms occur. Some individuals will not have any symptoms at all. We, therefore, need to take these measures to protect our campus and our community.

What further complicates the COVID-19 course of infection is that after someone is exposed to the virus, there is a window of time when the virus is replicating in the lungs, but there is not enough virus present for a positive test result. It takes between 48 and 96 hours after exposure for test results to be accurate.

How is the College handling contact tracing?

Contact tracing will be handled through the Allegheny College Health Agency (ACHA).

How will potentially exposed people be notified?

Potentially exposed people will be notified by phone. ACHA will conduct contact tracing.

If we have someone with a positive COVID-19 test result, do roommates/suitemates automatically have to quarantine as well?

Yes, they will need to quarantine for 14 days or provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test.

What is the formal communication when someone goes into isolation/quarantine, including who is notified, who notifies faculty about students missing class, who notifies the Department of Health, etc.?

ACHA is responsible for notifying the health department of ill students. Students are expected to notify faculty of class absences. If a student is ill or incapacitated, please contact the Dean of Students Office for resources and support for classes. For students in quarantine, there are remote class options to continue to participate while in quarantine. Students in quarantine should notify faculty if they need to participate in class remotely, and faculty will work with them to identify remote options.

What are the criteria that are being used to mandate quarantine/isolation? For instance: flu-like symptoms, drove to a red area, boyfriend/girlfriend tested positive, etc.

If a student reports symptoms of COVID-19, they will be contacted by the ACHA, and care will be coordinated by staff of the Winslow Health Center. If a student has been in contact with a case of COVID-19, they need to quarantine for 14 days or provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test (See ACHA reopening guide, page 10).

Will the College be doing daily health screenings, and if so, how will privacy be handled?

All members of the campus community will be asked to respond daily to an app that asks about COVID-19 symptoms, travel, and exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual(s). When we introduce the app all the privacy information will be noted in the app’s privacy policy, which has been reviewed and approved by the College’s legal counsel. Allegheny College has been approved to use the app, which is designed to meet HIPAA privacy standards. Only ACHA will have access to the collected data and only then as needed to manage the health of our campus community.

What are the bathroom cleaning protocols for buildings in which COVID-19 positive students have been housed, including daily cleaning as well as deep cleaning after the students move out?

The cleaning service will clean the bathrooms used by COVID-19 positive students after the student has vacated the premises.

By whom and how frequently will medical checks of ill or quarantined students be done?

COVID-19 positive students and those in quarantine for potential exposure will have daily health checks by Amanda McLaughlin, the ACHA nurse practitioner. She will contact them by phone or in person. The Dean of Students Office will manage students in quarantine and isolation.

What is the process for a student being allowed to leave isolation post-diagnosis?

Students will work directly with the ACHA and follow CDC guidelines.

Will all students in classes of an infected student be notified and need to quarantine?

No. The CDC recommendations for when a person needs to quarantine are as follows – when you have had close contact with an infected person:

  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more.
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them).
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils.
  • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.

If students and faculty have been masked and maintained a 6-foot distance, they do not need to quarantine as it is extremely unlikely that they contracted COVID-19 from the affected person.

If a faculty member tests positive, will all students in their classes be quarantined?

No. Please see above.

Housing, Food Service, and Travel

Since Brooks will not be a buffet, will it still be a “one swipe” or will it be an allotted amount of money like McKinley’s? If it is like McKinley’s, will my meal plan just be a lump sum of money that can be spent at either Brooks or McKinley’s?

Brooks is being turned into a food court experience for our students. Brooks will feature five stations: Spoon and Fork (comfort food), Grille, Salad and Deli Marketplace, Pizza, and Bravo. Each station is a made-to-order, comprehensive meal including a selection of sides and desserts that is equivalent to one meal swipe. Students are able to use multiple swipes per visit to Brooks. In addition, the Pine Market, located in the Pine Lounge of Brooks Hall, will include meal equivalency options for students on the go. Visit the Parkhurst Dining website for more information.

If I leave mid-semester to study remotely, can I leave my items in my room?

No, when a student leaves campus they are expected to take all of their belongings with them and complete the move-out process. Anything not removed will be shipped to the student at the student’s expense.

What if students are forced to travel home and finish the semester remotely (domestic or international travel)?

Allegheny College does not assume the financial responsibility of the costs for a student to come to campus or return home. We will, however, assist students to the extent possible with travel plans should we have to close campus unexpectedly.

If my roommate decides to stay home for the fall semester, will I be given a new roommate?

Residence Life has worked to honor student requests for roommates as circumstances have changed over the past few weeks. If there is a vacancy in your room, there is a chance the space will be needed, so the room should be prepared for a possible roommate.

How does Parkhurst get information about food plans including dietary needs or requests? How does food get delivered to students in isolation/quarantine?

Students should contact Parkhurst Dining directly for nutrition and diet questions.

How will bathroom use be scheduled to avoid everyone using the facilities at once?

Our housekeeping and Residence Life staff continue to work closely with the Allegheny College Health Agency (ACHA) on guidance and practices to keep our residence halls and common areas safe and healthy.

Will shuttles be available at Thanksgiving?

Yes. The Thanksgiving break shuttle schedule will be available shortly on the shuttle website.

Can I travel outside of the state or country during the semester?

Students are discouraged from traveling to areas where there are high amounts of COVID-19 cases. Students traveling to these areas must report their travel plans to the ACHA as soon as details about travel are available using this form. Students must quarantine off-campus at their own expense for at least 14 days after traveling to these areas and complete a COVID-19 test upon return from travel. Students must provide the ACHA with proof of a negative COVID-19 test result prior to returning to campus. Students who are unable to fulfill these requirements should be prepared to learn remotely for the remainder of the semester.