The information surrounding COVID-19 is constantly changing and evolving, and this COVID-19 playbook is a living document that will evolve and change between now and summer 2021.
Every summer we take pride in welcoming children, adults, friends, and colleagues to Allegheny College to create magical memories and provide a variety of educational opportunities. We know this summer will look and feel different from prior summers, and we also believe that participating in face-to-face experiences is needed more than ever during this challenging period of time.
Developed by the Allegheny College Health Agency, this playbook organizes COVID-19 best practices published by the CDC, as well as strategies learned as Allegheny College operated successfully in person during the past year. This playbook is meant to provide guests, families, and staff with information about how we are adapting our policies and procedures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 during in-person programs.
There is no single action that can guarantee that a person will not become infected with COVID-19. Allegheny College takes a multilayered approach to combating COVID-19 this summer. Each prevention measure has its own strengths and weaknesses. By layering multiple prevention measures on top of each other — hand sanitizing AND wearing a mask AND social distancing AND limiting time indoors AND quarantining AND getting tested before arriving at the College — there will be fewer pathways for the virus to enter and spread throughout the College.
We recognize that, regardless of the level of preparation, we cannot guarantee that COVID-19 will not be present at Allegheny College, but we are confident in our ability to run programs in a safe and meaningful way. This COVID-19 playbook shares how we plan to operate safely this summer.
Page Updated: 03/29/21
As we plan for summer 2021, we want to share our philosophy and approach for opening safely. We have two primary goals that we are working towards simultaneously:
- Ensuring the health, safety, and security of our guests, staff, and community.
- Providing a wonderful experience, including rekindling friendships and creating new relationships; being outdoors, and enjoying the Allegheny College campus.
The core assumptions listed below are the foundation upon which our COVID-19 playbook was created. As the situation regarding the pandemic and related guidance continues to evolve, we reserve the right to adjust these assumptions and the components of our playbook accordingly.
- We can operate safely. We have confidence in our ability to apply a comprehensive strategy of multilayered, nonpharmaceutical interventions in order to safely operate this summer. If at any time ACHA feels we cannot deliver on this most basic promise of keeping everyone safe, we will not hesitate to adjust plans and change protocols.
- COVID-19 vaccines will not be widely available to our guests. Based on consultation with medical experts, we do not expect a vaccine to be widely available (if at all) for children under the age of 16. We also do not anticipate the even distribution of vaccines across the geographic markets from which our guests and staff hail.
- COVID-19 will remain a public health concern well into the summer. While cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are declining, COVID-19 remains prevalent in society. National health authorities continue to estimate some return to pre-COVID normalcy in mid to late summer. We are operating under the assumption that COVID-19 will still be present in the communities we serve AND that COVID-19 could potentially be present in our community.
- Testing will be adequately available to allow for early detection of the virus in our guests and staff. Rapid testing, testing supplies, and PPE are already on campus and readily accessible.
- It takes a village. We rely on a partnership with our guests each summer, but this summer that partnership will be more important than ever, as we will be depending on our guests and their families to strictly follow all pre-arrival requirements, including but not limited to a quarantine period, COVID-19 testing, daily symptom, and temperature monitoring, and reporting of any and all health concerns.
Pre-arrival Expectation for Self-Quarantine
All guests and staff should self-quarantine beginning 10 days prior to their arrival at the College.
During the quarantine, guests, staff, and members of their household should:
- Limit physical contact with anyone outside of their household.
- Avoid attending group celebrations, other campus sites, family events, parties, etc.
- Wear a mask when interacting with individuals outside of their household.
- Stay 6 feet away from other people.
- Utilize curbside store/restaurant services.
- Wash hands with soap and water frequently.
- Limit non-essential travel.
Overnight guests: All overnight attendees and staff must obtain a PCR COVID-19 test and share the results with us prior to their arrival. Tests must be completed no earlier than five days prior to arrival at the College. Additionally, guests and staff will receive a rapid antigen test on arrival day. Only guests and staff with negative test results from both tests will be permitted to enter the College — NO EXCEPTIONS.
Day programs: Day attendees and staff will receive a rapid antigen test on arrival day and on the first day of the week of subsequent weeks. Only guests and staff with negative test results from both tests will be permitted to enter the College — NO EXCEPTIONS.
Students in residence: Students in residence are required to provide a pre-arrival PCR test from within five days prior to arrival on campus. This is not necessary for those students who do not leave campus after the end of the Spring 2021 semester. Students in residence will receive a PCR test upon arrival on campus and quarantine until that is resulted, upon which they may fully participate in campus programming. Students will then be rapid tested every other week. This is different from the academic due to a less dense student population on campus.
Employees: Employees are tested every other week while working in person. They also follow the travel policy posted on the website unless traveling for longer than two weeks. Employees who travel longer than two weeks should provide evidence of a negative PCR test taken within five days of their return to campus. Employees who will be working on campus this summer will be rapid tested every other week.
Illness: If a guest should develop symptoms of COVID-19, a rapid antigen test will be administered. We will use best practices to determine when to administer tests. Testing is not available every day. If testing is not available, the guest will quarantine until testing is available or may also leave Allegheny College if they prefer. We reserve the right to request that any member of our community be tested.
Persons who receive positive COVID-19 test results at Allegheny College must leave campus immediately. Parents and guardians, if you have a child in an overnight program, please be available to pick up your child the same day should your child test positive for COVID-19. No overnight accommodations are available for persons who test positive for COVID-19.
Roommates of a guest who tests positive will likely be asked to leave campus the same day to quarantine at home. Exceptions exist for appropriately vaccinated persons and for those who can provide documentation of a positive COVID-19 test within the last 90 days, pending review of any such documentation by ACHA.
There is no exception to any part of testing for vaccinated persons. Those who provide documentation of a positive COVID-19 test result within the last 90 days are exempt from testing.
Allegheny College does not provide medical care to guests who are not students of the College. Guests who have symptoms of illness requiring medical attention can go to Meadville Medical Center which offers 24/7 emergency care.
College staff members are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and we have encouraged them to become vaccinated as soon as they can. The vaccine will be regarded as an additional level of PPE for all adults, and we expect that those who are vaccinated to comply with all of Allegheny College’s COVID-19 policies.
Daily Health Screening
College staff will conduct daily COVID-19 screenings. Anyone reporting a symptom of COVID-19 will be tested for COVID-19.
Cleaning and Sanitization Procedures and Enhanced Hygiene
Door knobs, handles, and other commonly touched areas will be disinfected regularly. Bathrooms and shared spaces (e.g. dining halls) will be cleaned and sanitized multiple times per day, per CDC recommendations and guidelines. Allegheny College uses disinfectants that are on the CDC and EPA lists of approved products to be effective against COVID-19. The number of hand-sanitizing stations throughout the College has been increased to accommodate enhanced protocols.
Mask Wearing Policy
Everyone must be masked except when in their rooms, eating, drinking, or taking a safe mask break at an appropriate distance from others. All guests and staff will be required to wear masks inside all buildings except when they are actively eating. Masks will not be required when guests are swimming. Masks must meet CDC recommendations, covering both the nose and mouth. Gaiter masks and face shields are not acceptable replacements. Bringing extra masks and a mask-lanyard holder for the guest to wear around their neck when/if they remove their mask is strongly recommended. All masks must be legibly labeled with first and last names.
Cohort Exception to Masking Policy
For overnight camps that wish to form cohorts, groups of up to 14 guests and up to four staff may form a cohort. This cohort size is based on the CDC’s guidelines to maximize safety and maintain appropriate supervision. These persons may perform group activities, including athletics or other play, unmasked, with their cohort. Unmasked activity may take place at Robertson Athletic Complex only. This location is designated in order to avoid confusion as to masking rules by other guests and employees. If cohort pod wishes to interact with another cohort, they must do so masked. The cohort option is not available for day programs.
Thank you for reviewing the new policies and procedures in this playbook. We will be regularly updating our policies to reflect any changes made to best practice recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Lastly, we wanted to say thank you in advance for partnering with us to deliver the best possible experience for our guests and staff. The past year has presented our community with challenges that we have been able to overcome by sticking together (at a distance) and protecting each other. We cannot wait to see you this summer. Until then, stay safe and healthy.