COVID-19 | Albright College

COVID-19


The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are our highest priorities. Below are messages to our campus community, helpful FAQs, links to technology and health resources, and information on the Pandemic Planning Task Force and the various subgroups working to ensure the health, safety and well-being of the Albright community.

Albright College students and staff are strongly encouraged to get the COVID vaccine and report vaccination status to the Gable Health Center by uploading a vaccine card photo to the health portal. (Click here for a video tutorial)

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Masks be worn in shared public indoor spaces at Albright College, including all shared and common areas in residence halls, outside of assigned residential space. There may be some exceptions, including the Schumo Center for Fitness and Well-being, where the Community Care Compact still applies. Please remember that in any situation, an Albright employee or student may ask you to wear a mask. These rules also apply to all outside visitors including family members, contractors, and guests.

Below is an outline of commitments for all campus community members returning to campus in 2021-22. Please review the full Community Care Compact hereStudents should digitally sign the compact through the college’s Identity System, and employees should digitally sign via Dayforce. Campus community members can report violations of the Care Compact here.


Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated Albrightians commit to:

  • Participating in reentry testing and surveillance testing for COVID-19 when notified to do so, likely multiple times during the semester.
  • Wearing a mask as recommended by the CDC that covers both nose and mouth when in indoor public spaces and outdoors when in contact with others.
  • Practice three feet of social distancing on campus in all circumstances including academic, social/activities, and dining.
  • Replace shaking hands, hugs and physical touching with verbal appreciation.

ALL Albrightians commit to:

  • Strongly considering getting the COVID vaccine, barring a religious, health, moral or ethical reason for not doing so. (Exemptions based on PA Dept. of Health guidelines)
  • Report vaccination status to the Gable Health Center by uploading a photo of my vaccine card to the health portal. (See video tutorial here.)
  • When feeling unwell: contacting the Gable Health Center (610-921-7532); staying home or in personal residence hall; wearing a mask when it is necessary to leave residence hall room.
  • Utilizing hand sanitation stations often and frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cleaning frequently used personal surfaces, including tables, doorknobs, desks, light switches and computer keyboards.
  • Carefully considering the potential risk of traveling to areas of high transmission rates, and checking the latest CDC travel guidelines, abiding by testing or quarantine requirements prior to travel and upon return.
  • Providing truthful information for the purpose of contact tracing, if asked.

Campus Updates


Albright’s Current Status

Albright College will return to its regular 15-week semester in fall 2021.

The first day of classes will be held on Monday, August 16, with the vast majority of classes will be held in-person or as a hybrid, with meetings on campus. Students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving.

Albright community members will continue to follow the college’s Community Care Compact, the recommendations of the CDC and the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health, and the guidance of our own Pandemic Planning Team.

In accordance with the Community Care Compact:
Students and staff are strongly encouraged to get the COVID vaccine and report vaccination status to the Gable Health Center by uploading a photo of my vaccine card to the health portal. (Click here for a video tutorial.)

Due to substantial spread of COVID-19 in Berks County, masks must be worn in shared public indoor spaces, including all shared and common areas in residence halls, outside of assigned residential space. There may be some exceptions, including the Schumo Center for Fitness and Well-being, where the Community Care Compact still applies. Please remember that in any situation, an Albright employee or student may ask you to wear a mask. These rules also apply to all outside visitors including family members, contractors, and guests

Dining options are expanding:

The renovation of Jake’s Place will offer expanded choices in a food court format and additional and more comfortable seating, student work spaces, and pool tables. All dining locations will be fully operational, offering an array of menu items from smoothies at Peg’s Café to theme meals in the Dining Hall.

Student activities and athletics to be operational.

Our current goal will be to expand student activities and athletic competitions to the extent allowed by the CDC, the PA Dept. of Health and (for athletics) the NCAA and the MAC athletic conference. Sports teams are competing this fall and will follow the PA Dept. of Health and MAC guidelines on spectators, currently defined in our Spectator Policy.

Albright strongly recommends vaccination for all students, staff and faculty.

Once vaccinated, all Albrightians are encouraged to self-report vaccination status to the Gable Health Center. Submit a copy of the COVID-19 vaccination card showing all doses were received – two doses for Pfizer, two doses for Moderna, or one dose for Johnson and Johnson. Albright students, faculty and staff may do this by accessing Albright.studenthealthportal.com with their Lions username and password. (Click here for a video tutorial.) Select Document Upload and upload a copy of your vaccination record.

Upon return to campus in August, students, faculty and staff will be required to either provide proof of vaccination or be tested for COVID-19.

Due to substantial spread of COVID-19 in Berks County, masks must be worn in shared indoor locations, regardless of vaccination status, until further notice.

Based on current CDC guidelines, after spread rates subside, fully vaccinated individuals will not be required to wear masks in most public indoor places. However, masking and three-foot social distancing may be required in certain places or circumstances.

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated will be required to participate in reentry testing and surveillance testing for COVID-19, likely multiple times during the semester. Those who are not fully vaccinated will be required to wear masks as recommended by the CDC; continue to practice three feet of social distancing in all circumstances including academic, social/activities, and dining; and replace shaking hands, hugs and physical touching with verbal appreciation.

Following CDC guidelines, high-touch and high-traffic campus areas will be sanitized daily. In addition, sanitizer stations have been added to the entrance area of each residence hall, as well as campus common areas, high traffic areas, and in close proximity to campus bathrooms.

PPE kits that include thermometers, masks and hand sanitizer, will be provided to Albright students.


The following facilities practices have been established in partnership with the Pandemic Task Force, and are based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and PA Dept. of Health, and with guidance from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Cleaning steps:

  1. Sanitizing stations have been placed in multiple locations in all buildings.
  2. Signs with helpful reminders about maintaining health and safety have been placed around campus.
  3. Directional signs that promote social distancing have been placed in buildings to assist with traffic flow, especially in areas with narrow hallways and in restrooms.
  4. Restroom seat covers have been installed.
  5. Classroom capacity has been downsized to promote social distancing and to limit the amount of people in a room at one time.
  6. Sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer will be placed in each classroom for self-care and sanitation of desks in between classes.
  7. A deep clean and sanitation of all residential halls will occur at least once per day,  seven days a week.
  8. A deep clean and sanitation of all academic buildings’ high touch, high traffic areas will happen every business day.
    1. Areas of sanitation include, but are not limited to, restrooms, laundry rooms, common areas, light switches, railings, door knobs/handles, elevator buttons
  9. Facilities is currently exploring the feasibility of adding a second daily cleaning to the above mentioned areas.
  10. Plexiglass barriers have been placed in areas where close interactions take place as a secondary precaution to masks.
  11. Water fountains have been turned off as a precautionary measure. Bottle fill stations will continue to operate.

Ventilation steps:

While studies are still being performed and new information is presented daily as to the aerosol nature of SARS-CoV-2, the Albright facilities team has taken the following steps to be better prepared. Please remember, each building on our campus contains different units that condition the air, so work has varied between buildings to maximize safety while also considering factors such as system capabilities, air flow exchanges, ability to successfully condition all air at reasonable temperatures, as well as financial costs.

  1. Albright recycles airflow in most areas as to not have to condition fresh air consistently. This measure is done to reduce utility costs to the college. Where applicable, we have opened dampers to allow more fresh air intake into the systems to be conditioned and dispersed into the buildings to assist with air flow exchanges and increased fresh air.
  2. Albright reduces air exchange rates and conditioning of air overnight as a cost/energy saving measure. We are running all HVAC units continuously at high levels to ensure the highest amount of airflow in buildings even when not in use. This will help continue to circulate the air throughout non-operating hours.
  3. Albright replaces all filters in HVAC units per each unit’s recommendations with a cost-efficient filter. We have switched to the highest allowed Merv-rated filter in each HVAC unit where applicable. The rating on each filter does vary with each individual unit. Due to our aging systems, we did have to balance out the filter type with the unit’s ability to draw enough airflow through the filter.
  4. We will be increasing the amount of air filter changes throughout the year.
  5. We have repaired, and continue to work with vendors to continue repairing, windows in all buildings to allow access to open. This will assist in getting fresh air into rooms.
  6. In areas where we believe fresh air flow is inadequate, we are installing portable air purifiers with HEPA filters to assist in cleaning the air and to reduce risk.

Outdoor classes:

Faculty may hold socially-distant classes outdoors when possible. Plans for use of campus Adirondack chairs for outdoor classes are currently in the works.

One of Albright’s core values is connection, in which we specifically state the value of an equitable and inclusive community, within the Albright community that is comprised of a remarkable diversity of people, backgrounds and thoughts. Within this concept, we endeavor to foster strong, personal relationships and engagement with each other, college programs, the greater Reading area, and the world around us. At Albright College, we value our face-to-face interactions. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly challenged our ability to live in, work at, and enjoy our in-person community.

This Albright College Health and Safety Plan has been prepared to communicate to all Albright constituencies the plans surrounding Albright’s return to face-to-face education. This plan endeavors to address the challenges the pandemic presents to our institutional priorities and commitment to a residential, face-to-face community. Within this plan, the following goals have been put at the forefront:

  1. To live our value of a connected, inclusive and face-to-face community as best we can during a pandemic.
  2. To live our values of resilience and integrity by recognizing and honoring the collective importance of care for ourselves and others in our community so that we may all thrive and be well during this pandemic.

We recognize that, at times, these goals challenge each other and a commitment to both represents a balance. Importantly, this plan includes all of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PA DOE) requirements for a higher education health and safety plan. In addition, this plan aligns with return-to-campus guidelines presented by both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the PA DOE and PA Dept. of Health (PA DOH). For athletics, guidance from the NCAA and from the MAC athletic conference are also followed, as they become available.

Phase One
Phase Two
Phase Three

Internships are an important part of the educational experience and will continue. Students are encouraged to follow social distancing guidelines, wear masks and sanitize high-use areas frequently.

An expanded list of on-campus student jobs will be available this fall.

Conference travel is discouraged for the fall semester. Study Abroad experiences have been cancelled for the fall and interim semesters.

Currently, the U.S. Department of State is under a level 4 Global Health Advisory and is advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. This advisory is unlikely to change soon. To ensure the health and safety of our students, the college has suspended all study abroad through fall 2021. Students who have applied for study abroad should keep in contact with the study abroad program, and will be contacted as necessary by Kim Justeson, director of experiential learning, with specific information. Learn more about rapidly changing travel advisories here.

We understand some Albright College community members may feel anxious about this evolving public health situation or have concerns about friends and family living in areas currently experiencing the outbreak.

Students may contact: Gable Health and Counseling Center at 610-921-7532; College Chaplains: Rev. Dr. Mel Sensenig, msensenig@albright.edu, Rev. Ibrahim Bangura, ibangura@albright.edu, Rev. Dr. Sudha Allitt, sallitt@albright.edu

Faculty and staff may consult the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or contact Human Resources for additional guidance.

In the event of a presumptive or confirmed case of COVID-19 Albright will work with health professionals to conduct contact tracing. Those who remain socially-distant and wearing masks (such as faculty in a classroom setting) are not considered by health professionals to be close contacts. Self-tracing via the Healthy Together app is also recommended for all students, faculty and staff. Already being utilized by several states in the fight against COVID-19, this app’s data is limited to health and research efforts in fighting this pandemic. > Learn more

Albrightians on campus are asked to assess their health each day by checking for COVID-19 symptoms and self-tracing via the Healthy Together app. Albrightians who cannot access the Healthy Together app or choose not to use the app are asked to answer the following set of health screening questions:

Are you currently experiencing any of the following symptoms?

SymptomYesNo
Fever (100.4 F or greater)
Body Chills
Extreme level of fatigue
Cough
Pain/Difficulty Breathing
Shortness of Breath
Sore Throat
Body/Muscle Aches
Loss of Taste
Loss of Smell
Changes to Vision/Eye Discharge

Have you had any direct contact with anyone who lives in or has visited a place where COVID-19 is spreading and/or is an area reporting an increased number of COVID-19 cases (i.e. “hot spots”)?

Have you had any direct contact with someone that has a suspected or lab confirmed case of COVID-19?

If an employee answers ‘yes’ to any question, the employee should contact their supervisor and Albright’s Gable Health Center. Employees feeling sick or answering ‘yes’ to any question above should not come to campus.

Students should self-isolate and contact the Health Center (610-921-7532) during business hours, or contact Public Safety (610-921-7670) during non-business hours.

Albright is fully prepared to test for Coronavirus on campus, and to quarantine or isolate affected students, when necessary.

Essential personnel on campus have been fit-tested for safety equipment and are prepared to safely test, quarantine, isolate, clean residence hall rooms, gather personal materials, deliver food and technology, as well as remove trash.

Because COVID-19 is spread through direct contact or respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, students who are tested and exhibit positive signs of the virus will be isolated, and not return to their residence hall.

Roommates of affected students will be immediately notified and isolated. Their rooms in the residence hall will be fumigated and personal effects will be brought to them. Their meals will be delivered on disposable plates so that nothing is brought back to the dining area.

If students are on campus and are experiencing a fever accompanied by symptoms of lower respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath), they should call the Gable Health Center at (610)-921-7532. To help stop the spread of the Coronavirus, students must call first before stopping by. Masks are required inside the Gable Health Center.

Visitors and Events

Homecoming 2021
Homecoming will be held on campus September 24-26, 2021. All campus health and safety protocols will be followed.

Experience Events
Visit the Experience webpage for an up-to-date list of Experience Events.

Visitors
Based on current CDC guidelines, fully vaccinated individuals will not be required to wear masks in most public indoor places. However, masking and three-foot social distancing may be required in certain places or circumstances on Albright’s campus.

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated will be required to wear masks as recommended by the CDC, continue to practice three feet of social distancing in all circumstances, and replace shaking hands, hugs and physical touching with verbal appreciation.

All visitors should stay away from campus if they feel sick, have a temperature above 100.4, or have symptoms of COVID-19, which include: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.


Travel Information

The coronavirus and information pertaining to travel are constantly evolving. We strongly encourage any individual traveling to personally review the current CDC recommendations and plan accordingly.

  1. Level 3 International Travel: All college-sponsored travel to any Warning Level 3 country is prohibited for the immediate future as we continue to monitor the situation and the progress of the outbreak.

Currently, college-sponsored study abroad programs (short and long term) remain scheduled for summer and fall 2020. These programs will be reviewed on an individual basis by the ELCDC and the Gable Health and Counseling Center.

  1. All other college-related international travel: All future college-related international travel must be requested and approved by the Office of the Provost for faculty and the Gable Health and Counseling Center for staff and students, using the forms available here. If you already have travel plans in place you must complete the form so that we are aware of your travel plans.
  2. College-related domestic travel: All college-related domestic travel must be registered with the Office of the Provost for faculty and the Gable Health and Counseling Center for staff and students, using the forms available here. If you already have travel plans in place you must complete the form so that we are aware of your travel plans.
  3. Personal international or domestic travel: Any person with plans to travel to or through a Level 3 travel warning country must adhere to the college’s general policies outlined above. For all other personal travel, the college strongly encourages you to register your personal travel with the Office of the Provost for faculty and the Gable Health and Counseling Center for staff and students.

If you are returning to campus after having visited (for personal or college-related travel) an area in or outside of the United States in which a confirmed case of COVID-19 has occurred or where you have had potential exposure, please contact the Gable Health and Counseling Center. Depending on the CDC, PA Department of Health and other guidance for colleges and universities, you may be required to self-monitor away from campus for 14 days in accordance with the college’s general policies.


About Coronavirus

Coronavirus — or more specifically, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — continues to evolve in our country and around the world. Albright College’s Pandemic Planning Task Force, formed more than a decade ago to combat avian and swine flu, has been meeting regularly to develop short- and long-term contingency plans based on regularly-updated recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and PA Department of Health. Because the health and safety of all members of our campus community is our top priority, we will continue to monitor and inform the campus about changes stemming from the Coronavirus. Please return to this website regularly for the most current and reliable information from the college.

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus through an outbreak that began in Wuhan, China in December 2019. The disease spreads from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. Droplets land on objects and surfaces other people come in contact with these objects or surfaces and can catch the virus from touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People are also able to catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.

According to the World Health Organization, a pandemic is a global outbreak of a serious new illness that requires sustained transmission throughout the world.

Anyone can catch COVID-19, but people with weak or compromised immune systems, particularly older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes) appear to develop serious illness more often than others.

Vaccines are now available for free to all Americans. Find the closest vaccine location to anywhere in the country here!


COVID Vaccine General Information From PA DOH : COVID Vaccine Information

Locations

The CDC says that the symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus can include: fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and or diarrhea. A temperature above 100.4 is considered to be a fever.

  • Keep your immune system healthy by getting plenty of sleep, maintaining good nutrition, finding stress-relief and exercising.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

If you are a member of Albright’s campus community and answer “yes” to any of the following conditions, please contact the Gable Health and Counseling Center at 610-921-7532.

  • Have had a known direct exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • Have been instructed to isolate or self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Have been notified by someone that you might have been exposed to COVID-19 directly
  • Have a fever, cough or shortness of breath
  • Have visited a travel warning Level 3 country

What if …

What if I don’t feel well.

Students who feel sick should stay in their rooms and contact the Health Center (610-921-7532) during business hours. During non-business hours, students should contact Public Safety (610-921-7670).

Faculty and staff who feel sick should inform a supervisor and stay home.

A temperature above 100.4 is considered to be a fever. COVID-19 symptoms can include: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and or diarrhea.


What if Pennsylvania returns to phase red (stay-at-home protocol) orders?

If Berks County, Pennsylvania returns to phase red, Albright will revert to essential operations. At that time, students will be required to return home, or petition for shelter on campus. Classes will transition to fully online, Dining Services will offer grab-and-go meal options for students sheltering on campus, and only essential personnel necessary for the minimum maintenance of Albright’s physical plant will be allowed on campus.


What if my roommate or classmate refuses to follow health protocols?

Albright values an educative approach to sanctioning students in violation of the Code of Conduct. Students who refuse to follow health protocols outlined by the college will be held to community standards. Learn more or view reporting options here.

Employees should notify their direct supervisors regarding inappropriate social distancing or face covering use by coworkers.


What if I learn that I may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19?

If you are a member of the Albright campus community and can answer “yes” to any of the following conditions, contact the Gable Health and Counseling Center at 610-921-7532:

  • Have had a known direct exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • Have been instructed to isolate or self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Have been notified by someone that you might have been exposed to COVID-19 directly
  • Have a fever, cough or shortness of breath

What if I have an underlying medical condition that makes me more susceptible to serious illness from COVID-19, or I have an immediate family member with an underlying medical condition that makes them more susceptible to serious illness from COVID-19?

Students whose permanent residence is more than 30 miles from campus who request to live off-campus due to personal or family member high risk to serious illness from COVID-19 must submit a formal request/petition through Residential Life and have a conversation with a Residential Life staff member. Online classes will be available.

Employees who are able to telework should work with managers to continue teleworking arrangements. Employees who cannot telework should notify Emily Santos at esantos@albright.edu. Medical certification will be required in order to evaluate a request for an ADA accommodation.


Health Resources

Albright College Gable Health Center
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
CDC: Enhanced Screening Procedures
CDC: COVID-19 Symptoms
World Health Organization (WHO) 
US State Department
PA State Department
Albright Mental Health Resources