Plans to Reopen Allegheny College

Allegheny College welcomes our community back to campus for the fall 2020 semester. We are fully reopening for on-campus living and learning accompanied by, and subject to, ongoing guidance from the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education, federal agencies, pandemic and disaster management experts, and public health, epidemiological, scientific and medical experts.

As we return to campus, the College will:

  1. Prioritize the health and physical and emotional safety of our campus community, while also recognizing the risks associated with reopening
  2. Create meaningful partnerships to protect the health and safety of and ensure the resilience of our local community
  3. Maintain our commitment to equity and diversity and to equal access for all students to the academic, social and wellness resources available at the College
  4. Prioritize community engagement, transparency and open communications
  5. Maintain a strong community ethos.

Changes to campus facilities and our day-to-day behaviors will help to reduce the spread of disease on our campus and within the Meadville community. Our understanding of COVID-19 is evolving, and recommendations are ever changing. Our plans for keeping the campus community safe will be updated as new information becomes available.

This Page Updated: 09/05/20


Jump to Sections Below

Allegheny College Health Agency (ACHA)

Testing • Mitigation • Communication

Guidelines for Students and Employees

Screening • Distancing • Face Coverings • Handwashing • Cleaning • Dining • Travel • Community • Visitors

Resources for Delivering Courses
Fall 2020

Complete Plan

The information on this page is an at-a-glance overview of our full Plans to Reopen Allegheny College.

Download Full Plan (PDF)
Revised • Effective 09/05/20

Previous Version: Version 1: 07/07/20

Allegheny College Health Agency (ACHA)

Circumstances and guidance surrounding COVID-19 remain fluid and complex. To guide the College through the complexities of higher education during a pandemic, we have formed the Allegheny College Health Agency (ACHA).

The ACHA provides guidance to the President on testing, contact tracing and mitigation strategies for our community. Membership in the ACHA has evolved as we have moved from planning to implementation; membership will continue to be fluid as our knowledge of the virus evolves and different priorities emerge in how the campus adapts.

To create a sustainable culture of safety and health at Allegheny College in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACHA will oversee:

1. Testing the Entire Campus Community

We will be using PCR and antigen testing in three ways throughout the semester:

as a move-in baseline

for screening

for diagnosis

2. Mitigating Disease Transmission on Campus

Mitigation strategies will be used across campus:

physical distancing

face coverings


reducing the amount of “shared air” between individuals and groups

reorganizing the campus environment

3. Providing Consistent and Clear Education and Communications

Our communication strategy will aim to address the concerns and needs of three specific audiences:

1. Students and parents

2. Campus employees

3. Broader community that is home to the College

4. Monitoring Allegheny’s COVID-19 Dashboard and Continuously Assessing the Indicators for Closure

Throughout the semester, ACHA will continue to monitor the health of our community, using such tools as the dashboard and the Indicators for Closure.

Guidelines for Students and Employees

All members of the Allegheny community (students, faculty, staff and administrators) are REQUIRED to comply with the policies, protocols and guidelines detailed below.

1. Daily Health Screening

Every member of the campus community will be asked to answer the following questions every day.

In the past 24 hours have you experienced any of the symptoms of COVID-19?

  • coughing or shortness of breath
  • fever or chills
  • new, unexplained muscle or body aches
  • new loss of smell or taste
  • new, unexplained tiredness or fatigue
  • sore throat
  • diarrhea

In the past 24 hours have you been in direct contact with an individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?

Have you traveled internationally or domestically to an area under stay-at-home orders in the past 14 days?

Data will be used solely for the purposes of ensuring community health. People who answer in the affirmative will be cued to discuss this with a healthcare professional (students, to the Winslow Health Center; employees, to your healthcare practitioner).

You do not need to report to your supervisor any specific health or personal information; you can simply confirm with your supervisor that you answered yes to one or more of the questions on the daily health check. Please then follow up with Jennifer Padlan, Director of Human Resources, for questions (

2. Physical Distancing

As a community, we will strive to maintain physical distancing throughout campus. Our goal is to keep at least six feet of space between individuals whenever feasible.

Six feet of physical distance is needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

If workspaces cannot accommodate this spacing, then alternative solutions will be sought (e.g., alternate work days on campus, alternative work locations).

Avoid congregating in or around common areas.

Only one person at a time should occupy an elevator.

No events or gatherings can have more than 50 people in outdoor spaces.

All events need to be organized in such a way that physical distancing and face covering requirements are met.

As a community, we are committed to maintaining physical distance and creating a large “public zone” on campus. As humans, we are relational beings, and we need one another now more than ever. This pandemic does not require us to cut social ties or decrease social interactions. We seek to support social interactions with each other while maintaining the physical space that is required to decrease disease spread.

View Detailed Event and Gathering Guidance

3. Face Coverings

All employees and students must wear face coverings when on campus in the presence of others and in public settings (on and off campus), especially when six feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Appropriate use of face coverings is essential to decrease the spread of disease.

Face coverings are only effective if we all participate: “My face covering protects you; your face covering protects me.”

Face coverings must be worn by students and faculty in all classes.

A student will not be allowed to participate in a class without a proper face covering.

4. Frequent Handwashing

All members of the community should wash their hands frequently throughout the day. Proper washing technique and the amount of time spent washing are most important.

Individuals should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

No special soap is needed to wash away the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

When soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) should be used. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout campus.

5. Frequent Cleaning and Maintaining a Healthy Campus Environment

We will be undertaking frequent cleaning and disinfecting of often-touched surfaces, including door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains, hand railings, bathroom stalls, and dining tables.

Cleaning will occur at least daily or more frequently, as needed.

Use of shared objects in classes and labs should be limited as much as possible or cleaned between uses.

The entire community will need to participate in cleaning and disinfecting shared spaces.

Students and instructors will be asked to wipe down tables/desks before classes with disinfectant wipes provided by the College.

6. Dining Services

In coordination with Parkhurst, dining services at Allegheny College have been reimagined and redesigned to decrease disease spread and to protect students and employees in our dining halls.

All meals are being served through takeaway service at least through the campus quarantine. Students will potentially be able to eat in at Brooks Dining Hall or McKinley’s with spaces reformatted to accommodate physical distancing.

Disposable/compostable food service items (e.g., utensils and dishes) should be used where possible.

Meals at McKinley’s will be available through a new online ordering system throughout the 2020–21 academic year.

All of the self-service options at Brooks will be eliminated; plated meals will be served, and buffets will be discontinued.

Both dining halls will extend their hours of operation and rearrange seating to encourage physical distancing.

7. Travel

Students are expected to remain on campus throughout the campus quarantine period, and College employees are asked to limit their travel to other communities in a “green phase” (i.e. not under stay-at-home orders).

Once the College has completed the initial quarantine phase, students will be encouraged to stay on campus and use carry-out and delivery services available through local restaurants.

If students need to make trips off campus, they will be expected to adhere to the College’s guidance related to physical distancing and face coverings.

Employees will be allowed to travel domestically as long as they do not travel to a destination with a stay-at-home order.

If employees travel internationally, they may be required to quarantine for 14 days before returning to work on campus; they should contact ACHA for guidance about returning to campus.

Employees who travel often as part of their job are encouraged to do so with precautions.

ACHA Travel Policy

Updated 09/22/20

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.

The student will be asked to quarantine for four days upon return 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.

If the student has only gone home to their family and not attended any group events (funerals and weddings are examples of group events), AND the student attests that they were 100% safe and wore masks and physically distanced while at home, even within their household, then no quarantine is necessary.

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.

8. Community-based Research, Internship, Class Project and Volunteer Experiences

In an effort to protect both the Allegheny and Meadville communities in the midst of the pandemic, all embedded opportunities — such as internships, research assistantships, class projects, and volunteer positions — sponsored by the College will have to be completed remotely until a safe vaccine is available widely.

9. Visitors to Campus

Given that COVID-19 is easily transmitted from person-to-person and that our goal for this academic year is to provide a safe, residential liberal arts educational experience for our students, the number of visitors to campus will be limited.

Prospective students visiting campus should be accompanied by no more than two adults visiting the campus with the prospective student.

Parents/family members who come to campus to visit or pick up their students will not be allowed to enter the residence halls.

Candidates interviewing for positions at the College will not be allowed to bring partners or children to the campus interview.

Individuals who would normally come to campus, such as guest speakers or recruiters associated with Career Education, should be encouraged to coordinate virtual speaking and recruiting activities.

No overnight visitors will be allowed in College residence halls.

To limit potential exposure we are closing Allegheny facilities to the public.

All visitors to campus will be required to adhere to the health and safety protocols in place.

10. Isolation & Quarantine

Vocabulary reminder:
a person who did not test positive but might have COVID-19, so are staying alone.

a person who tested positive for COVID-19 and, whether sick or not, are staying alone.

If we have a COVID-positive student who is asymptomatic, they can return to campus 10 days after their test date, pending a medical evaluation by the COVID medical team (to vet their asymptomatic status). If we have a COVID-positive student who is symptomatic, they can be around others 10 days since symptoms appeared AND 24 hours with no fever AND other COVID symptoms are improving, again to be vetted by us.

Unfortunately, per the CDC, close contacts of COVID-positive students need to quarantine for 14 days after their last contact with the person who has COVID, if they have had close contact.

Close contact:
a person who was within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more, hugged or kissed, shared eating or drinking utensils, or if they sneezed, coughed, or otherwise got respiratory droplets on the student.

There is no option to shorten this by testing negative again.

The reason that it is longer for the close contact than the COVID-positive person is because of the course of infectiousness:

  • Days 0–4: person is infected but does not always shed enough virus to make a test positive.
  • Days 5–14: person sheds virus and will likely have a positive COVID test.
  • Day 15+: person is done shedding virus and is no longer contagious.

The COVID-positive student is on days 5–15+ when they get tested, so they need to isolate only for 10 more days until they are no longer contagious.

Unfortunately, the close contact is on days 0–4, so these students have a full 14 days in quarantine.