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.
Albrightians returning to campus are asked to commit to:
- Maintaining a social distancing of at least six feet both on and off campus; replace shaking hands, hugs and physical touching with verbal appreciation.
- Utilizing hand sanitation stations and frequently washing hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Sanitizing surfaces frequently, including tables, doorknobs, desks, light switches and computer keyboards.
- Wearing a mask that covers both nose and mouth as recommended by the CDC, both inside and outside of campus buildings when within six feet of another person.
- Avoiding in-person meetings by using Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
- Considering the potential risk of traveling and avoiding unnecessary travel.
- Self-monitoring personal health each day by taking temperature, monitoring symptoms through the Healthy Together app, or other methods — paying particular attention to the development of COVID-19 symptoms.
Campus community members can report violations of the Care Compact here.
Albright’s Current Status
Mirroring the fall reentry process, each resident returning for the spring semester will be assigned a specific move-in date and time that will fall between Thursday, Feb. 11 and Sunday, Feb. 14. A letter detailing the spring move-in structure and reentry testing will be sent next week. Students who have extenuating circumstances (that must be considered before a move-in time is assigned) must contact Residential Life prior to January 28.
Interim and Spring 2021
– Interim (6 weeks, online only, optional): Jan. 4 to Feb. 12
– Spring Session 1 (7 ½ weeks): Feb. 15 to April 6
– Spring Session 2 (7 ½ weeks): April 8 to May 28
Students may register for up to two courses during Interim, and in each spring session. To be considered full time for financial aid and academic progress purposes, students must register for, and take, at least three courses across the two spring sessions. Read more in the “Interim and Spring 2021 — Sept. 11, 2020” message.
A new strain of COVID-19, originating in Great Britain, has made its way to Pennsylvania and other U.S. states this winter, and is projected to be the most dominant strain in the U.S. by March 2021. Because the strain appears to be even more highly transmissible among younger populations, British schools and colleges have been closed, and the country has again locked down, to help stop the spread.
In the U.S., the official death count reached 400,000 on Jan. 19. And more than 100,000 of those deaths occurred in just a short five week period, ending Jan. 19.
In light of this new data, it has become even more important to for colleges to diligently follow CDC and state guidelines this spring, and to remain vigilant in measures that aim to curb the spread, including properly wearing masks, social distancing and sanitization.
Like annual flu vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines help bodies to develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without actually suffering the illness. This way, your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed, significantly lowering the risk of you becoming seriously ill or dying. Vaccination does not prevent you from getting or spreading COVID-19, so wearing masks and social distancing will likely still be necessary throughout the entire spring semester. Learn more about how the vaccine works here.
Because initial supplies are limited, COVID-19 vaccines are being administered in phases. Recipients will need to take two doses, several weeks apart, in order for the vaccine to take full effect.
Pennsylvania is currently in the first of four phases (as of Jan. 25) – which involves vaccinating people most at-risk of serious illness, such as health care workers (including students actively training in health professions) and people living in long-term care facilities. Education workers, such as essential campus employees and faculty who are unable to work remotely, are currently listed among second phase recipients. See Pennsylvania’s phased vaccine distribution list here.
During phase one, vaccines are available at hospitals, health centers and pharmacies. In order to make it easier for Albrightians to receive vaccines as they become eligible, the college has applied for permission to administer vaccines at the Gable Health Center.
Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 vaccine plan is fluid and continues to be modified as decisions are made at the federal level. Therefore, phase dates are not currently available. If you’re still wondering whether you are eligible for the vaccine now, take this vaccine eligibility quiz.
Do your part to stop the spread!
In light of the new, more highly transmissible COVID strain attacking younger populations, and the expected phased approach to vaccine distribution, the commitment of all Albrightians to taking care of personal well-being and respecting the well-being of other members of the campus community, spelled out in the college’s Community Care Compact, remain top priority. If you feel sick, get tested. And if you get tested away from Albright, report your results to the Gable Health Center.
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.
- Sanitizing stations have been placed in multiple locations in all buildings.
- Signs with helpful reminders about maintaining health and safety have been placed around campus.
- 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.
- Restroom seat covers have been installed.
- Classroom capacity has been downsized to promote social distancing and to limit the amount of people in a room at one time.
- Sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer will be placed in each classroom for self-care and sanitation of desks in between classes.
- A deep clean and sanitation of all residential halls will occur at least once per day, seven days a week.
- A deep clean and sanitation of all academic buildings’ high touch, high traffic areas will happen every business day.
- Areas of sanitation include, but are not limited to, restrooms, laundry rooms, common areas, light switches, railings, door knobs/handles, elevator buttons
- Facilities is currently exploring the feasibility of adding a second daily cleaning to the above mentioned areas.
- Plexiglass barriers have been placed in areas where close interactions take place as a secondary precaution to masks.
- Water fountains have been turned off as a precautionary measure. Bottle fill stations will continue to operate.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- We will be increasing the amount of air filter changes throughout the year.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- To live our value of a connected, inclusive and face-to-face community as best we can during a pandemic.
- 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.
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.
Students may contact: Gable Health and Counseling Center at 610-921-7532; College Chaplains: Rev. Dr. Mel Sensenig, firstname.lastname@example.org, Rev. Ibrahim Bangura, email@example.com, Rev. Dr. Sudha Allitt, firstname.lastname@example.org
Faculty and staff may consult the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or contact Human Resources for additional guidance.
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?
|Fever (100.4 F or greater)|
|Extreme level of fatigue|
|Shortness of Breath|
|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, if necessary.
Essential personnel on campus have been fit-tested for safety equipment and have completed a step-by-step walk through — from students scheduling flu-testing appointments, through quarantine, isolation, room cleaning in the residence hall and personal material gathering, to food delivery, technology capability and trash removal.
Students who are tested and exhibit positive signs of the virus will not return to their room in the 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.
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, tested and isolated from others. Their residence hall room will be deep-cleaned by fit-tested essential campus staff 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.
Visitors and Events
In order to limit the number of people on our campus and the spread of the Coronavirus, all in-person student-sponsored, club-sponsored and college-sponsored events have been canceled or postponed until a later date. This includes events sponsored by the college, individual departments or offices, athletic teams, as well as student-sponsored events. This does not include virtual events.
Advising & Student Services
When possible, all meetings, including one-on-one advising sessions should take place remotely, via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. In order to maintain social distancing, many student services – such as accommodations, tutoring, the library reference desk and experiential services such as Handshake for career and internships will continue to be available online. Find upcoming online workshops, links and contact information here for campus safety, residence life, the Health Center and more.
All fall 2020 Experience events will be live virtual events presented via Zoom Webinar. Maximum participation for each virtual event is 100 students.
Only faculty and staff may submit Experience proposals. Individual students and student organizations are encouraged to work with faculty and staff on developing proposals.
A maximum of 20 Experience events will be approved for the fall semester In order to ensure running a virtual Experience program is manageable for all involved.
Students may earn a maximum of four Experience credits during the fall semester. Additional credits will be allowed for seniors graduating in December.
To receive credit for attending Experience events, students must:
1) Pre-register for each event with Albright email,
2) Be present for the entire event (based on time stamp from Zoom Webinar),
3) Complete polls/questionnaires that organizers/hosts include during and at the end of each Experience event.
Learn more on the Experience Event web page
ALL VISITORS will be required to adhere to the college’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, which include:
• Maintaining a social distance of at least six feet from anyone other than those with whom they currently reside — both on and off campus; replacing shaking hands, hugs and physical touching with verbal appreciation.
• Wearing a mask that covers both nose and mouth as recommended by the CDC, both inside and outside of campus buildings when within six feet of another person.
• Utilizing hand sanitation stations and frequently washing hands for at least 20 seconds.
• When in-person meetings are necessary, maintaining a distance of at least six feet.
• Self-monitoring personal temperature and checking for signs of COVID-19.
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.
Non-resident guests will not be permitted inside Albright residence halls. Family members visiting or picking up their students will not be allowed to enter residence halls.
Prospective students visiting campus should be accompanied by no more than two guests. For the safety of current students, tours offered by Admission Ambassadors and athletic coaches will be restricted to specific areas of the college campus. No overnight visitors will be allowed in college residence halls.
Search committees are encouraged to utilize virtual interviews for employment finalists. If on-campus interviews are necessary, finalists should follow all safety guidelines outlined above, and refrain from bringing guests, such as spouses/partners and children, to campus.
Guest speakers, recruiters and others interfacing with students are encouraged to coordinate sessions virtually. Large gatherings are discouraged, including events sponsored by the college, individual departments or offices, athletic teams, as well as student-sponsored events.
In addition to the individual visitation listed above, Albright is adhering to changing Pennsylvania guidelines regarding events and visitors. As of July 15, these guidelines state that indoor gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited and outdoor gatherings of more than 250 people are prohibited.
With the safety of Albright students and staff in mind, the college’s Pandemic Task Force will determine on a case-by-case basis if non-Albright individuals or organizations are able to utilize campus facilities for meetings or events.
• Locker rooms will be unavailable for usage at this time. If you are swimming at the pool, we request that you come dressed to swim.
• All gym and pool users will be asked to complete a new facility waiver upon their first visit back.
• During every visit to the facility, you will need your temperature taken with a contactless thermometer and complete a brief symptoms checker that can be done in person or on the Healthy Together app.
• Participants are required to wear a cloth mask within all areas of the building including the fitness center, common areas such as reception area, hallways, and restrooms. Masks are required within the pool area but can be removed upon entering the pool. If you have an underlying health issue that prevents you from exercising with a cloth covering safely, face shields will be available for purchase at the front desk for $5 and face masks for $1.
• There will be no multi-player racquetball and/or multi-player basketball at this time
• We will be operating at 50% capacity. It is recommended that you utilize our reservation app prior to your arrival to ensure that you are able to use our facility. Sign-up here
• You must reserve your spot in the pool for lap swimming since the pool capacity is very limited. Click here to reserve pool time. Pool patrons must enter and exit via the Birch Street door (pool area) and leave ID card and Silver Sneakers card at the pool desk for membership verification. All swimmers will have temperature taken with a contactless thermometer and complete a brief symptoms checker that can be done in person or on the Healthy Together app.
• You must sign-up for group fitness classes by calling the front desk at 610-929-6715. Spin classes are limited to five participants.
• Please practice excellent personal hygiene and help us keep all of you safe! You will be given a towel when you arrive. Please use it to wipe down all equipment before and after usage. Our staff will be cleaning all high-touch areas frequently, but this is an extra layer of protection. We have increased our availability of spray bottles and hand-sanitizing stations throughout the facility.
Information on Commencement for the class of 2020 can be found here.
Diplomas for School of Professional Studies students are estimated to delivered approximately August 7.
Diplomas for bachelor and master degree students were ordered following the Pass/No Pass-or-GPA grade preference period, which ended for students on June 17. These diplomas are estimated to be delivered approximately August 15.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 an Albrightian tests positive for COVID-19?
Albright successfully isolated seven students on campus during the H1N1 Pandemic Swine Flu virus in 2009, and is fully prepared to quarantine or isolate students affected with COVID-19. Essential personnel on campus have been fit-tested for safety equipment and have completed a step-by-step walk through — from students scheduling flu-testing appointments, through quarantine, isolation, residence hall room cleaning and personal material gathering, to food delivery, technology capability and trash removal.
Students who are tested and exhibit positive signs of the virus will not return to their room in the residence hall. Roommates of affected students will be immediately notified and quarantined. 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.
In the event of a presumptive or confirmed case of COVID-19 Albright will work with health professionals to conduct contact tracing. 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
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 email@example.com. Medical certification will be required in order to evaluate a request for an ADA accommodation.
What if I cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition?
A face shield may be an alternative for you. Contact the Student Accessibility and Advocacy office at 610-929-6639.
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