Health Alerts | Albright College

Health Alerts

Dear Albright students and families,

Now that we’ve settled into Fall Session 2, we would like to share some updates, and thank our Albright community for taking to heart the college’s Community Care Compact. We see many Albrightians across campus taking measures to reduce the risk of unknowingly spreading the virus to friends, family and others. So on behalf of the entire Pandemic Task Force, thank you for all that you are doing!

Following are some important updates about the COVID dashboard and positive cases, travel restrictions, study spaces and athletic facilities, and the COVID Alert PA app. Please read this email in its entirety. As a college community, our ability to remain together on campus and in-person is dependent on all of us doing our part to stay healthy and well.

Current dashboard and travel information

The Gable Health Center has identified seven total cases among Albright community members since August; three have already recovered. Students who have tested positive are placed in isolation and individuals identified through contact tracing are placed in quarantine. As a reminder, students are discouraged from traveling to high risk locations while living on campus. A list of high risk states is available here. Anyone returning to campus after visiting a high risk area should self-quarantine, for14 days before returning to campus, even if asymptomatic. Albright coronavirus data, as well as statistics for the Berks County community, the state, the country and the world are available at any time on the college’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Reserving independent study space

In recent weeks, some resident-students have expressed limited ability to participate in online classes from residence hall rooms, given the activities of roommates. In response, the college has identified spaces that students may reserve to more readily participate in classes, undisturbed. These spaces and reservation contact information can be found here, along with a list of open study spaces that are available during fall session 2. The full listing can also be accessed via a red “study hours and independent study rooms” button on the Current Students webpage.

Sport performance space added to Camp Building

Since August, Albright student-athletes have been following NCAA guidelines for team resocialization and return to play. To help maintain social distancing during training and practice as the weather turns colder, the college has opened temporary space and added weight training equipment in the Camp Building for student-athletes to work with sports performance coaches.

Although this space alleviates some constraints in the Schumo Center, allowing for non-athletes and community members to continue accessing the fitness center – Bollman Gym and the Scholl LifeSports Center are to be utilized only for scheduled varsity athletic practices and Schumo classes at this time.

Pennsylvania COVID-19 exposure alert app

Available in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, Pennsylvania’s free COVID Alert PA app anonymously alerts app users who should quarantine or isolate due to possible exposure to the coronavirus. The app runs in the background, utilizing Bluetooth as well as Apple and Google’s Exposure Notification System to ensure that users remain completely anonymous. Although the app does not take the place of self-monitoring via the Healthy Together app, all Albrightians – whether on or off campus – are asked to download the app and turn on exposure notifications. Learn more about the COVID Alert PA app here.

And as a reminder, Albrightians returning to campus have pledged to:

  • Maintain a social distancing of at least six feet both on and off campus; replace shaking hands, hugs and physical touching with verbal appreciation.
  • Utilize hand sanitation stations and frequently washing hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • Sanitize surfaces frequently, including tables, doorknobs, desks, light switches and computer keyboards.
    Wear 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.
  • Avoid in-person meetings by using Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
  • Consider the potential risk of traveling and avoiding unnecessary travel.
  • Self-monitor 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.

Again, we are so proud of the Albright community’s PAWsome efforts to stave off COVID-19.

Our ability to remain on campus and hold in-person classes is dependent upon the continued health of our community. We must adhere to the guidelines set forth through the Community Care Compact. Please be aware that if we see a spike in coronavirus cases on campus, the privilege of remaining on campus is threatened. We must remain vigilant and make smart choices regarding our activities so that we may finish the second session together.

Please continue to #MaskYourMane and encourage others to do the same, as we ROAR together this fall.

Be safe and well,

Samantha J. Wesner, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC
Senior Vice President of Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer

Dear Albright students,As you end the fourth week of classes, we wanted to share with you some plans for the interim and spring 2021 sessions.

During these past six months, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges to the members of the Albright community. Many of your professors and staff mentors have been working hard to develop plans that support flexibility for faculty and students, provide an exceptional educational experience, and keep our Lion community healthy and well.

Each of us, and each of you, have made the commitment to the health of self and others through the Community Care Compact. In addition, changing the current fall academic schedule to two, 7 ½ week sessions with a combination of in-person, online and hybrid courses has proven beneficial by depopulating campus, keeping contact groups small, and ultimately, limiting the number of positive COVID-19 cases on our campus. Slowing the spread of the virus and diligent contact tracing is of utmost importance in determining our ability to continue the in-person residential college environment that we all value. We know you want to be on campus and we want you to be here! Small contact groups and combinations of face-to-face and online courses assists us in achieving these goals.

There are still many uncertainties with this pandemic. In order for us to plan through those uncertainties, the academic schedule for interim and spring 2021 will be structured as follows:

Interim (6 weeks, online only, optional): January 4 to February 12
Spring Session 1 (7 ½ weeks): February 15 to April 6
Spring Session 2 (7 ½ weeks): April 7 to May 28

You 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, you must register for and take at least three courses across the two spring sessions.

This schedule provides you with the following opportunities:

Two courses for the price of one during interim. Typically, course registration is limited to one course. With the extension of a six-week interim, you may opt to take two courses for the regular interim tuition of $800. If you wish to retake a course, get your Foundations courses completed, tackle a course needed to graduate, or if you wish to get ahead, this is an excellent opportunity to do so. This year, interim and spring course registration will occur simultaneously, allowing you to work with your advisor to plan your course selection both for interim and for spring.

Institutional support for the interim fee is available. Recognizing the impact of the pandemic on the employment and financial situations of our students and families, Albright has made available institutional aid to support your attendance during interim. This institutional support will be available through an application process. Details will be provided prior to course registration.

On-campus housing. Although all interim courses will be online, on-campus housing will be available for students enrolled in classes or who are participating in official college business, such as in-season athletics. Details regarding the application process for on-campus housing during the interim session will be made available prior to course registration. Rockland Hall and affinity housing will remain open for residents, with additional precautions in place due to COVID-19. Please stay tuned to your email for more.

Though the pandemic still presents challenges for our living and learning community, we are focused on supporting your success, as well as the health and well-being of this entire community. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to any of us.

Best regards,

Karen A. Campbell, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Samantha J. Wesner, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC
Senior Vice President of Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer

Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., ’82
President and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dear Albright community,

As we end the second week of classes since returning for the 2020-2021 academic year, we’d like to say thank you for your continued commitment to our Community Care Compact and to doing your part to keep our community healthy and safe during this challenging time.

Albright’s Gable Health Center has been testing symptomatic patients since our return to campus. We write today to inform you that one positive case of COVID-19 has been identified on campus among the student body. The student, who was not enrolled in any in-person classes, is being cared for and isolated on campus according to Centers for Disease Control guidelines, and is doing well with minimal symptoms experienced. The student’s roommates have been quarantined and we are working on contact tracing in partnership with Co-County Wellness, the organization identified by the PA Dept. of Health to conduct contact tracing for Berks County.

Having successfully isolated seven students on campus during the H1N1 Pandemic Swine Flu virus in 2009, Albright has been fully prepared to quarantine and/or isolate students during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has established and practiced procedures in place for mitigating and containing the spread of the virus on our campus, which are outlined on the COVID-19 webpage. To date, we have successfully isolated/quarantined 16 students. The students’ residence is being deep-cleaned by fit-tested essential campus personnel, personal effects are being brought to the students in quarantine and isolation, and meals are being delivered on disposable plates so that nothing is brought back to the dining area.

To ensure transparency in our communication and to keep our community up-to-date on the status of tests on campus, a COVID-19 dashboard has been created with information specific to Albright College along with data from Berks County, across the state, the country and the globe.

We are also pleased to share with you some news that will make testing on our campus even more efficient, which will further limit the spread of the virus. While COVID-19 tests are currently being conducted on campus, they must be sent to local hospital laboratories to secure test results, which can take two to ten days to receive. Albright College is currently awaiting the shipment of a rapid point of care testing machine, which will allow the Gable Health Center to offer same-day test results on campus. We expect to have the machine on campus the beginning of September.

We are grateful to all students, staff and faculty who continue to assess their health each day by checking for COVID-19 symptoms and self-tracing via the Healthy Together app or the set of health screening questions available on the Albright website. Monitoring symptoms daily and intentionally committing to social distancing, mask wearing, washing and sanitizing of hands, limiting travel to and from campus, and meeting virtually are critical to helping us limit the spread of the coronavirus on our campus.

And a big thank you to the Pandemic Task Force, which has been meeting regularly since January 2020 and has been continually monitoring and carefully reviewing the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and from Pennsylvania State health officials. The work of this hard-working, cross-campus team comprised of staff, faculty and students has been instrumental in Albright’s ability to plan, pivot and respond quickly to the needs presented by this pandemic. All decisions that have been made and continue to be made are done so using the best data available and are guided by Albright’s priority to protect the health, safety and well-being of our entire community.

As the weekend approaches, please be safe and stay well. We are all in this together!

Warm regards,

Samantha J. Wesner, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC
Senior Vice President of Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer

Joshua B. Williamson, M.D.
College Physician

Dear Fellow Albrightians,

As we approach the new school year and the re-opening of Albright’s classrooms to in-person instruction during this pandemic, facilities would like to share with you the practices that are being implemented to ensure a healthy and safe environment for our community. All of these 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 (see attached).

It is also important to remember that we all share a responsibility to maintain the health and safety of ourselves and those around us as stated in the Community Care Compact. Please remember to wear your face mask or shield; stay home if you are not feeling well or showing any symptoms – you are encouraged to assess your health daily using the Healthy Together app; stay home if you have had contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19; maintain social distancing; adhere to capacity limits; wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer if washing is unavailable.

To help keep the Albright community healthy and safe, facilities has implemented the following:

  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.

What about ventilation in our buildings?

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.

Can we hold classes outdoors?

The short answer is YES! Plans for use of the Adirondack chairs on our campus for outdoor classes are currently in the works. More information about reserving these outdoor spaces will be coming soon.

Facilities will continue to monitor the needs of our campus and will make changes weekly as new information is presented to ensure the health and safety of our community. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us, or visit the frequently updated Return to Campus page on the Albright website.

Thank you,

Jeffrey L. Strader

Acting Vice President, Finance and Strategic Partnerships

Chuck Murphy

Director of Facilities Services & Operations

Dear students and families,At Albright College, we understand and value the feelings of connection that come from the face-to-face interaction of our residential community. In order to ensure the health of this important community as we grow closer to returning to campus, we must come together to address each new challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At this time, we ask you to be mindful of the risk assessment of COVID-19, for areas around the country and globe in which you are living, travelling to and travelling through (perhaps while vacationing) this summer.

Consistent with Pennsylvania Department of Health recommendations, students who are currently living, travelling to or travelling through high risk areas are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days, even if asymptomatic, before joining Albright’s on-campus community in August.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health offers a list of high risk states here. But because the list of high risk areas is fluid, online tools are valuable for assessment. This interactive map is updated each day with data on high risk locations around the country, showing state and county hot spots. Many other online tools are collecting and sharing COVID-19 data and can be useful in determining if you are living in or visiting high risk areas, as well.

We hope that all of our Albright Lions will join together in intentionally and purposefully living our core values of resilience and integrity as we return to campus this year, by recognizing and honoring the collective importance of care for ourselves and others in our community.

We hope that you and your family are well and safe in these trying times, and are looking forward to living and learning with Albright College this fall.

Go Lions,

Samantha J. Wesner, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC
Senior Vice President of Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer

Joshua B. Williamson, M.D.
College Physician

Dear Albrightians,We hope that you, your family and your loved ones are healthy and well and enjoying the summer. As promised, we write today with an update about plans for the upcoming fall semester, which begins on Monday, August 17.

Albright’s college-wide Pandemic Planning Task Force (PPTF), which originally formed during the avian flu in 2008, has been meeting twice weekly since January, continually monitoring and carefully reviewing the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and from Pennsylvania State health officials. With the health and safety of Albright’s community at the forefront, the PPTF and its sub-committees, which are comprised of faculty, staff and students, have been working to develop flexible plans for the fall semester.

The goal has been to create a path forward which prioritizes the health of our community, maintains flexibility and delivers an exceptional education to our students. We are grateful to the many faculty, staff, and students who have dedicated themselves to develop a plan which meets our goal, and which also aligns with a pandemic and guidelines that evolve at an amazing rate. As we begin to implement this plan as a Pride of Lions, we will all need to roar together in order to truly be successful this fall.

Following is information about Albright’s staged return for employees, revised academic schedule for fall 2020, as well as details about housing, dining, athletics and important health and cleaning protocols. Additional details and other information such as personal protective equipment, off-campus experiences, events, bookstore and mailroom operations, and much more may be found on the Return to Campus webpage on the Albright website. This webpage will be updated regularly so please check back often.

Employees Staged Return to Campus
Since March, the number of employees working on campus has been limited to emergency essential personnel only while Berks County remained in red phase. As the county moved from red to yellow phase, all custodial, maintenance and grounds crew members returned to full-time campus work on Monday, June 8 — allowing for the readying of our residence halls, facilities and grounds for our early August start.

As Berks County enters the green phase of the state’s reopening plan, a staged return to campus is being initiated. This staged plan, which will begin on Monday, July 6, enables the college to bring back various groups of employees at different intervals, ensuring strict adherence to social distancing and sanitizing guidelines. Yesterday, this first group and other leaders met with some members of the Pandemic Response team to discuss requirements and answer questions. Supervisors in each area will be communicating with staff members regarding this staged plan. A teleworking policy is also being developed to provide that option for those who need to work away from campus.

Academic Schedule
Classes for traditional undergraduate students will be conducted in two, seven and a half week sessions, instead of one 15-week semester. Students will take two classes during each session. Upon successful course completion, students will still earn four course credits over the full fall semester. This plan allows faculty and students to be flexible and creative as we continue to monitor the pandemic and guard against resurgence.

In the residential college program, approximately one third of Albright classes will be held in-person, one third will be fully online, and one third will be a hybrid of on-campus and online experiences. Lab and studio classes in particular will include on-campus components. Taking fewer classes at a time allows students and faculty to focus more deeply on each topic, while also cutting down on the number of people to which students and faculty are regularly exposed.

Classes for our students in the School of Professional Studies will continue online for fall 2020.

For a full academic calendar, please visit www.albright.edu/academic/academic-calendars/.

Course drop/add period for returning students
Returning students will still be registered for the same classes they originally signed up to pursue this fall. However, to accommodate the change to seven and a half week sessions, course sessions and times will be updated and will require review in Self Service.

During the add/drop period in early July, changes may be made in Self Service to resolve conflicts, sessions or replace cancelled courses. Advisors and the registrar’s office will be available to answer questions through this process.

Dining
Students will be able to order “to-go” meals from the Student Center Dining Hall via GrubHub, or dine-in with limited seating capacity. In keeping with CDC recommendations, directional signage and floor decals will control flow, and seats will be arranged or removed to encourage social distancing.

Jake’s Place and Peg’s Café will offer mobile order and pick-up only. Condiments will be provided with orders instead of self-serve. Floor graphics will be used for social distancing in Rockland Market.

Housing
Albright will be utilizing a “family” housing model in traditional residence halls (the Quad), grouping students with the peers they will naturally contact most often. For instance, incoming student-athletes will be housed by their athletic teammates and other incoming students will be housed with similar peer groups and classmates. This grouping will not be applied to single rooms, affinity housing, apartments, or suite style living, as these areas are for returning students and are generally self-selected based on peer groups. Roommate pairing requests for first-year students will be honored within these peer groupings.

Returning students will continue to be able to select housing, beginning July 7. Specific, phased move-in details will be emailed to all resident-students. Residential policies and procedures are continuously being evaluated to support the well-being of the residential community. Any changes will be communicated prior to students’ arrival to campus in the fall.

Health & Cleaning Protocols
Following CDC guidelines, high traffic campus areas will be sanitized nightly. In addition, sanitizer stations are located at the entrance area of each residence hall, as well as in campus common areas, high traffic areas, and in close proximity to campus bathrooms. Please use hand sanitizer or wash your hands often!

The Pandemic Response Team is developing Community Health Guidelines, which will be shared with everyone in the community when it is ready.

Athletics
Albright’s athletic directors Rick Ferry and Janice Luck have been meeting regularly with the athletic directors from the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC). To date, a recommendation about fall sports is about to be made to the college presidents and a decision is expected by mid-July. We will inform you of this decision when the MAC makes its announcement.

Throughout this pandemic, the Albright College community has shown an amazing can-do spirit, moving forward and tackling every challenge with resiliency and pride. As the pandemic continues to present uncertainties, we must continue to move forward, providing a balance between campus well-being and flexibility. The plan may be modified, as the pandemic and the guidelines from the CDC and the state continue to evolve. If, later this month, we determine that it is not safe to bring students, faculty and staff back to campus for in-person instruction, the scheduling that has been planned will allow us to quickly pivot to online learning.

We know, because we’ve heard from so many of you — you want to be back in our face-to-face community. We do, too! Our goal is to be back together on campus where all Lions may thrive and roar together. We hope you continue to stay healthy, safe and well, and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., ’82
President and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Karen A. Campbell, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Samantha J. Wesner, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC
Senior Vice President of Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer

Dear Albright students,

We hope that you and your families are healthy, safe and well during these very difficult and challenging times.

Today we are delighted to share with you some good news about the distribution of funds through the federal CARES Act. In May, Albright College received financial assistance to distribute to students who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare expenses.

Guided by Albright’s priority for fair and equitable distribution and our desire to provide funds to as many Albright students as possible, a formula was developed to determine distribution. As of Wednesday, June 10, immediate, base-level funds have been made available to all full-time and part-time students.

For those students who are enrolled at Albright College less than half-time and experienced additional educational expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, an application process has been developed and is available on the Albright website.

How will I receive my CARES Act grant?

CARES Act funds were posted to student accounts on Wednesday, June 10. Distribution of the funds will begin on Friday, June 12, and will continue until all refunds are issued. Your funds will be issued either as a direct deposit, if you have enrolled in eRefund, or as a paper check to be mailed to the home address on record. 

We understand that you may have questions about this refund, and you are welcome to email covidadjustments@albright.edu with those questions. We kindly ask that you have patience with our response as our first priority is the timely dissemination of your refund.

What may these funds be used for?

Students may use the funds for educational costs, for any expenses related to disruption of campus operations as noted above or to make a payment through Albright student accounts for any additional course materials or other education expenses.

Some families have generously indicated an interest in paying it forward by donating their CARES Act funds to support other students who may be in need at this time. If you would like your CARES Act funds to be donated to Albright’s Lifting Up Lions initiative or to the Advancing Lives scholarship fund, please send an email to COVID19adjustments@albright.edu, and we will be in contact with you.

What if I need more financial assistance?

We also know that some students and families were financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic more than others, so there is a portion of CARES Act funds that will be made available on a need basis. A web-based application process, which is based on data received from the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA), is available on the Albright website so that you may request additional funds.

All of us at Albright College recognize the difficulties that the pandemic has created for many of our students and families, and we continue to work hard to provide support for all of our students.

As we enthusiastically plan for the fall 2020 semester, we do so with the hope that we will be back on campus again, and at the same time, we know we must remain flexible given the uncertainties that still exist with the pandemic. Please continue to check your email throughout the summer for important updates about our return to campus. Information about the fall 2020 semester and other FAQs about Albright’s response to COVID-19 may be found on the Albright website: www.albright.edu/coronavirus.

A happy and healthy summer to each of you!

Warm Regards,

Karen A. Campbell, Ph.D.

Acting President and Provost

Samantha J. Wesner, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC
Senior Vice President of Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer

Jeffrey L. Strader, CPA

Acting Vice President for Finance and Strategic Partnerships

Good morning, faculty and staff –

As you know, the Pandemic Planning Task Force, comprised of both administrators and faculty representatives, has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic as it plans for the fall 2020 semester and what we hope will be our return to campus. All of the decisions being made during this time are being guided by our priority to ensure the health and safety of our community, and to remain as flexible as possible given the uncertainties that still exist with the pandemic.

As communicated last week, our new academic schedule for the 2020-2021 year – four, seven and a half week sessions within two semesters – will allow more opportunity for social distancing in classes and will enable strict attention to sanitizing in between classes. In addition to this change to the academic schedule, and in keeping with our commitment to prioritizing the health of our community, Albright College will begin its first seven and a half week session two weeks early. Whether we are on-campus or online, classes will begin on Monday, August 17. Because our hope is that we will be on campus, beginning classes early allows for classes in both sessions to be completed by November 24, which puts us just before Thanksgiving, and the beginning of the regular flu season. Students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving, so exams for session 2, after Thanksgiving, on December 1 and 2, will be conducted remotely. This adjustment will help to reduce the risk of infection associated with students returning to campus following break travel. A list of important fall dates follows this message.

As we continue to plan, we do so with the hope that we will be back on campus having in-person classes, though we know that it is essential that we remain as flexible as we can should the risks of viral spread be too high as our start date nears. If, in the month of July, we determine that it is not safe to bring our community back to campus for in-person instruction, this scheduling will allow us to quickly pivot to online learning, and we will be communicating with you regularly between now and then.

As of June 5, Pennsylvania will move into the yellow phase of Governor Tom Wolf’s plan for reopening the state.

So what does this mean for us?

Being in the yellow phase allows for additional essential personnel to be on campus. Throughout the pandemic, although Albright was able to keep everyone employed, the number of employees working on campus has been limited to emergency essential personnel only. Custodial and maintenance crews have been rotating shifts during this time to limit the number of staff on campus. As of Monday, June 8, all custodial, maintenance and grounds crew members will return to full-time work on campus, which will allow for the readying of our residence halls, facilities and grounds for our early August start.

Teleworking will continue for the majority of our employees. As Berks County nears the green phase of the state’s reopening plan, a staged return to campus will be initiated. That staged plan, which will enable the college to bring back various groups of employees at different intervals, ensuring strict adherence to social distancing and sanitizing guidelines, will be shared in the coming weeks. We are working closely with the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania (AICUP) to determine how the state’s plan for reopening applies to institutions of higher education.

Thank you for all you are doing and continue to do for Albright College as we work together to navigate this unchartered time in our history. We will continue to communicate with you as circumstances evolve related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the Albright College community, including campus operations. And given the uncertainties that still exist, we will continue to explore ways to enhance the delivery of our academic program in remote settings, should we need to pivot to that plan.

Please look for another update regarding confirmation of our final plans for the fall semester by no later than July 15, 2020.

In the meantime, please stay healthy and safely enjoy your summer.

Karen A. Campbell, Ph.D.

Acting President and Provost

Samantha J. Wesner, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC
Senior Vice President of Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer

Revised Fall 2020 Academic Calendar:

  • Move-in dates and times will be assigned at a later date, taking into consideration then-applicable social distancing guidance
  • August 17 – Fall session 1 classes begin at 8 a.m.
  • October 2 – Fall session 1 classes end
  • October 5-6 – Final exams
  • October 7 – Fall session 2 classes begin at 8 a.m.
  • November 24 – Fall session 2 classes end
  • November 30 – Reading Day
  • December 1-2 – Final exams
  • Move-out dates and times will be assigned at a later date, taking into consideration then-applicable social distancing guidance

Karen A. Campbell, Ph.D.

Acting President

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dean of the Faculty

A message from Acting President Campbell, Senior Vice President Wesner, and Acting Vice President Strader

Dear Albright students, parents and families –

Thank you again for your patience and understanding as we worked through the many complexities associated with the calculation of fair and equitable room and/or board adjustments for our students.  We are pleased to share that these adjustments have been finalized and will be credited to the accounts of all eligible students tomorrow, Wednesday, May 6. As stated in our April 27 message, the Student Accounts office will be communicating with students about these adjustments this week. An email notification will be sent from LionPay tomorrow to let you know that an updated statement of account is available for viewing. All students, as well as those individuals authorized by the student to access the account, will receive this message.

As a reminder, if there was an outstanding balance on the student account, any adjustment was applied directly to that unpaid balance first.  Additionally, if spring 2020 room and/or board charges were funded by Albright financial aid, either directly (e.g. Davis, tuition exchange, RA stipend), or indirectly through supplemental aid awarded in response to financial aid appeals (e.g. Stabler, Collins, Advancing Lives), the financial aid award was reduced in direct correlation up to a maximum of the room and/or board adjustment, so that the student’s account is not negatively impacted and this aid is available to meet student needs in future years. In these circumstances, no credit balance is available for refund.

The net result of all adjustments will be reflected on the May 6, 2020, eBill statement of account. If this statement shows a credit balance, the student may elect to receive a refund of the eligible credit balance by direct deposit or check by completing the Student Account Refund Request Form at studentedocs.albright.edu. To avoid any delay in receiving the refund, students are encouraged to enroll in the direct deposit feature (eRefund) on LionPay. The process to enroll is simple – log into LionPay via selfservice.albright.edu and click on “Sign Up” on the overview page or under your profile. Students may also elect to leave the credit on the account to apply to the fall 2020 semester simply by not requesting a refund at this time.

All of us at Albright College recognize the difficulties that the pandemic has created for many of our students and families, and we continue to work hard to provide support for all of our students. We know that many of you continue to have questions, and not just about room and board adjustments; so, we wanted to again take this time to answer as many questions as we are currently able to answer, and to provide clarification of answers previously provided.

How were the room adjustments determined?

As previously described, each student who resided on campus during the spring semester received an adjustment based on the prorated number of days from March 23 (or later, if the student departed at a later date), through May 15 (or May 31, for students who resided in Rockland Hall). Students who remain in the residence halls will not receive an adjustment for room.

How were the board adjustments determined?

Each student who held a Gold, Silver or Bronze meal plan during the spring semester received an adjustment based on the prorated number of days from date of departure used for the room adjustment, through May 15.  Each student who held a block meal plan received an adjustment for the number of unused meals as of the date of departure.  Students who remain in the residence halls will not receive an adjustment for board. These students were provided three carry-out meals a day and snacks regardless of meal plan.

How were the dates for room and/or board adjustments determined?

Regular classes were scheduled to resume on March 23 following Spring Break. As such, this date marks the first date that room and board was no longer provided in accordance with the Residential and Food Service contracts. Albright College’s residence halls and dining facility were scheduled to remain open until the last day of final examinations, which is May 15.  This represents the last day for the provision of room (other than for those residing in Rockland Hall) and all meal plans. The residential contract permits students to reside in Rockland Hall through May 31.

What about the students who remain on campus?

Students who remain in the residence halls will not receive an adjustment for room and board because they are continuing to use housing, dining and other resources such as Albright’s Care Corner, which provides toiletries and other needed essentials. However, we understand that these students also have additional financial needs and we are working to provide other support.

Were the room and/or board adjustments reduced in any manner?

No, while we understand that some institutions have reduced room and/or board adjustments to cover ongoing fixed operating costs associated with these services, Albright is providing the full amount of the adjustments based on the above-defined methodology.

Can I appeal my adjustment if I am not satisfied?

After painstaking review of the ever-shifting authoritative guidance and consideration of various computational alternatives, we are confident that we have chosen a calculation that has resulted in the most fair and equitable adjustments for our students. These adjustments are considered final. There is no appeal process for adjustment amounts.

Will spring 2020 tuition also be adjusted?

No, tuition and fees for the spring 2020 semester will not be adjusted. All teaching, academic and other support services, and even many of our Experience events, are being provided via various alternative methods. Our move to online courses was done in a manner that preserves the same academic rigor and course objectives as when the courses are delivered on campus, and all online coursework meets the academic standards for Albright College. The faculty effort and resources required to deliver the coursework are the same, and in some cases greater, when they are delivered online as when they are delivered in person.

What about the CARES Act? Who is eligible and how are adjustments being made and applied?

The federal CARES Act provides additional financial assistance for colleges to provide direct emergency cash grants to students who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Regulation of the student aid portion of the CARES Act funding was recently communicated by the Department of Education. Albright College is in the process of securing this funding, is working to develop a formula for equitable and fair distribution that follows governmental guidelines, and is evaluating provisions of the CARES Act which may be used to address items such as retaking a class. We will continue to keep you updated about this funding and how it will be distributed to Albright students.

Can I use my credit to help someone in need?

On a related note, some families have generously indicated an interest in waiving this credit adjustment in order to support another student who may be in need at this time. If you would like your credit to be donated to Albright’s Lifting Up Lions initiative or to the Advancing Lives scholarship fund, please indicate this on your response form or please send an email to COVID19adjustments@albright.edu, and we will be in contact with you.

Where can I find answers to other questions related to Albright’s response to COVID-19?

Updates and resources about Albright’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including information about returning to campus to collect belongings from residence halls, plans for commencement, and more, can be found on the Albright website: www.albright.edu/coronavirus.

Additional questions related to room and board adjustments or the federal CARES Act may be emailed to COVID19adjustments@albright.edu.

Thank you again for your patience as we have worked through this process. Best wishes and good luck in this last week of classes!

 

Sincerely,

Karen A. Campbell, Ph.D.

Acting President and Provost

Samantha J. Wesner, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC
Senior Vice President of Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer

Jeffrey L. Strader, CPA

Acting Vice President for Finance and Strategic Partnerships

The Pennsylvania Department of Health recently issued new orders to which all current Albright residents and emergency essential personnel must adhere moving forward. In compliance with these orders, the following policies/procedures will take effect at the college at 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 19.

Masks were delivered to your residence hall door yesterday afternoon. These masks were provided by fashion faculty, Paula Trimpey, for your personal campus use. In calling for all Pennsylvanians to wear masks, Governor Wolf asked residents to reserve surgical and medical mask for health care workers and first responders. Learn more about these masks here and the CDC recommendations for mask use/care here.

In addition to maintaining six feet of distance from others, all residents and emergency essential personnel must wear a mask at all times when in a public campus space or campus place of business. This includes Roessner Hall, the dining hall, campus center, and residential common areas. Please understand that anyone who does not wear a mask in these areas may be referred to Community Standards.

Per the orders issued by the Department of Health, you will no longer be permitted in the dining hall without a mask. In order to limit your exposure to others, the dining hall offers the option of ordering your meals in advance to pick up at the register. If you prefer this option, complete the order form and submit to albrightdining@gmail.com at least one meal period prior to pick up.

The ELCDC has partnered with Public Safety and Spring Valley Church to provide additional food options for students via the college’s Care Corner. Please refer to student email for a list of available personal care and food items. The food provided by Spring Valley Church is of limited quantity and may not be restocked. To request these care and food items, please email elcdc@albright.edu so that a staff member can directly coordinate your order pick up.

We would like to thank you for your understanding and cooperation with the orders issued from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and for taking care of yourself, one another, and our emergency essential personnel on campus. Please reach out to our offices if you have questions regarding these new regulations.

Sincerely,

Gable Health and Counseling Center

Residential Life

Dear Albright students, parents and families,

Many of you have had questions about adjustments for room and board that may result in refunds since the decision was made to shift the remainder of the semester online due to Governor Tom Wolf’s orders in response to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we have been working through the complexities of this situation to make the best decisions we can for our students and families.

Albright College will be providing adjustments for room and board, the amount of which will be prorated from March 23 (or later, if the student departed the residence halls at a later date), through May 15, the last day of final exams (or May 31, for students who resided in Rockland Hall). The Residential and Food Service Contract allows Albright to deduct a fee for early termination; however, given the circumstances of the contract termination, this fee will be waived. Students who remain in the residence halls will not receive an adjustment because they are continuing to use housing, dining and other resources such as Albright’s Care Corner, which provides toiletries and other needed essentials. However, we understand that these students also have additional financial needs and we are working to provide other support.

The process of adjusting room and board is complicated and it differs for each student depending on the status of the student account, the type of financial aid each student has, and when each student left campus. Different financial aid types have requirements for refund distribution. Additionally, regulations from the Department of Education regarding federal funding and federal financial aid continue to change, which impacts how refunds, if applicable, are calculated and dispersed. So, we ask for your patience as we work to calculate adjustments properly for each individual student.

All of this work must be done on a student-by-student basis and may take several more weeks to complete. Students and families whose adjustment results in a refund that does not need to be paid back to a loan or grant will be given the choice of a cash refund or a credit to the fall 2020 semester. If there is currently an outstanding balance on the student account, any refund will be applied directly to that unpaid balance first.

We understand that this is a difficult time for all of our students and families and that the COVID-19 pandemic has created personal and professional challenges for many. Albright is committed to working through the details of room and board adjustments and refunds efficiently. At the same time, we want to ensure that this process is fair and equitable to all of our students, and that our work aligns with governmental regulations.

We also wanted to provide some preliminary information about another program that you may have recently learned about – the federal CARES act, which provides additional financial assistance to colleges for students. Please note that the room and board adjustments are Albright-issued, and are not part of the student financial aid grants that Albright will be providing through the federal CARES act. These are two separate and distinct programs. Regulation of the student aid portion of the CARES act funding was distributed last Thursday and it is complicated. Now that we have the regulations, we are working to develop a formula for equitable and fair distribution that follows governmental guidelines, and we are evaluating provisions of the CARES act, which may be used to address items such as retaking a class. We will be communicating with you about this funding as soon as we have more information to share.

As a reminder, updates and resources about Albright’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including FAQs, can be found on the Albright website: www.albright.edu/coronavirus. If you have additional questions, please email COVID19adjustments@albright.edu.

We hope that you, your families and those who most matter to you are healthy and well.

Sincerely,

Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., ’82
President and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Samantha J. Wesner, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC
Senior Vice President of Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer

Jeffrey L. Strader, CPA
Acting Vice President for Finance and Strategic Partnerships

Dear Albright Students. Happy Spirit Day!

I’m sure that this version of Spirit Day wasn’t what you had ever imagined, adhering to social-distancing protocols whether on-campus or at home! I hope that in any location you can still feel the Albright spirit and support of your Albright family as we work our way through this challenging semester. Most importantly, I hope that you are feeling safe, and that your family is also safe and secure.

I know that this switch to learning online is challenging, both academically and because of the distance that it places between students and professors and advisors and friends.  Even though we have so many ways of keeping in touch virtually (I learned about NetFlix parties just yesterday!), it’s not exactly what we signed up for in coming to Albright as either a student or a professor.  It was my experience with the students during my interview at Albright that brought me here, because those interactions set Albright apart from all the other schools that I had visited!  Walking around campus is beautiful, as Dr. Pankratz captured in his photos today, but I will admit that I cried a little bit when I was on campus for some work today.  It’s pretty lonely without all of you here!

I hope you are adjusting to learning online, and I’d really like to know how that is going and how we all might help make it better.  The faculty are also adjusting to a teaching format for which they had  not prepared.  We all came to Albright for the opportunity to interact with students face-to-face, to hear your stories, to get to know you, and to help you find success in our classes.  Doing this virtually is a huge challenge.  We’re just glad that we had at least half the semester to start to form that relationship with you!  Please let us know how we can help to improve your experiences in our courses by giving us some feedback through this survey.  We still have time to make adjustments, but we need to know what is working and what doesn’t work for you in order to make those adjustments meaningful.  Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts about your courses and what you find to be helpful and what you still need to help you find academic success.

We are still “here” for you, in many ways.  Online tutoring is available and the writing center services are available to all students.  If you are experiencing the stress of handling class work, “family life”, and juggling other challenges imposed by this pandemic, please reach out to our counseling center.  And please try to be patient with our faculty.  Remember that they share the same concerns that you have for their family members and their own personal health at this time.  Don’t be afraid to just send an email, asking for help if something seems confusing in what they have posted for your class.  They are trying to help you complete your courses to the best of your (and their) ability … we just need to work through this together. Let that Albright spirit of caring and compassion rise to the surface!

Please let me know if I can help in any way, first by completing the survey, but also just by reaching out.  I really do miss you all, and I’m happy to help!

Go Lions!

Karen A. Campbell, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dean of the Faculty
P. Kenneth Nase Chair of Biology

Dear Albrightians,

We have made it through our first week of online classes and our first full week of working remotely – and we made it together! This is not an easy time for any of us and there are many hard decisions that are being made every day as this pandemic continues to evolve. We write today to share decisions that, though likely not unexpected, are still very difficult to accept because we are a community that values our time together on campus.

As we’ve communicated previously, the college’s Pandemic Planning Task Force has been carefully reviewing the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, and from Pennsylvania State health officials. Given the current situation, and based on the recommendation of the Pandemic Planning Task Force, the decision has been made to continue to deliver classes online throughout the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.

The team did not come to this decision lightly. Taking into account CDC and state recommendations, as well as current coronavirus trends across the country and the globe, it is clear that asking students to return to campus before the end of the semester from areas that have been heavily impacted by the coronavirus – including surrounding counties in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey – would put many people at risk.

We also wanted to remove some of the uncertainty for students and faculty, who can now finalize and move forward with their plans and coursework over the remainder of the semester.

What about commencement?

In addition, and given the ongoing pandemic and its evolution, the commencement team has made their recommendation, which we have accepted. It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that Albright’s class of 2020 commencement ceremony will not be held on May 17.

Although we all hope to be back to normal as soon as possible, it is important at this time that we consider the safety, planning and travel needs of Albright’s graduates and families, and to keep with Governor Tom Wolf’s directives for social distancing and closure of physical locations around the state of Pennsylvania, such as Santander Arena.

Do not worry – even without the pomp and circumstance of commencement, you still are a graduate of Albright College. Commencement is truly “ceremonial” and does not affect the college’s ability to confer degrees. Diplomas will be mailed to class of 2020 graduates as soon as they are available.

We recognize the fact that our seniors have worked hard and deserve to celebrate their achievements among family and friends. And, we wish to celebrate with you all!  Therefore, the college’s Commencement Committee, consisting of faculty, students and staff, is carefully considering a range of later dates for in-person celebrations – as well as a number of creative ways to celebrate student accomplishments virtually. Finalized plans will be announced with enough notice for graduates and their families to participate, if they wish to do so.

Students with innovative ideas or suggestions of dates on which to honor the class of 2020 are encouraged to contact Kathy L. Cafoncelli ’99, chair of the Commencement Committee, at kcafoncelli@albright.edu, and/or Commencement Committee student representatives, Faith Guzzo ’20 and Allison Ulaky ’20, at faith.guzzo001@albright.edu or allison.ulaky001@albright.edu, respectively.

Will I get a refund for room and board? How can I get the things in my room?

The decision to remain online, of course, leads to the question that many of you have already asked, “Will there be refunds for room and board?” We are currently evaluating how best to handle refunds, and because some students left campus before others, we are assessing how to make it fair to all parties. We will be communicating with students and families soon on how we plan to move forward. Additionally, we know that many are concerned about being able to gather belongings from the residence halls. Though we are abiding by the governor’s current orders, we will continue to assess the coronavirus situation and when it has been determined that it is safe for students to return to campus, we will make arrangements for students to return to their rooms to collect their things. In the meantime, know that your belongings are safely locked in your rooms and are not being disturbed.

We know that this news is disappointing. We are a community that values our time together and celebrating one another’s accomplishments. Please know that although our interactions are taking on a different form right now, we continue to celebrate our special community of Albrightians.

Please take time to care for yourself and celebrate every accomplishment. Speak on the phone and video chat with friends and family, post your positive moments on social media and tag Albright College, and look forward to better times ahead when we can all be together again.

With best wishes for a successful (online) semester,

Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., ’82

President and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Karen A. Campbell, Ph.D.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Samantha J. Wesner, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC
Senior Vice President of Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer

Dear Fellow Albrightians,

Here we are, at the third day of virtual classes, almost one week since the Pennsylvania governor declared all non-life-sustaining business to close operations. Since then, I’ve watched faculty come together to support virtual teaching, student groups self-organize into study and “keeping in touch” groups, staff develop approaches to work from home, and trustees engage in our call to reach out to senators to support higher education in the COVID-19 bill that the US Senate passed last night.

What I’ve learned is that, like the strong community we are, we are coming together to meet this challenge. And, even though we miss the face-to-face interactions, I know we will come out on the other side a stronger community than when we started.

In this past week, I’ve realized even more how valuable our community is, one of which I am so grateful to be a part. I’d like to invite each one of you to reflect and think about how valuable our Albright community is.

To Albright Students: Give your professors positive feedback – let them know what works. Your professors love teaching you in the classroom! For many of them, this is their first foray into online teaching – and it’s not the way they want to teach. Teaching virtually is rarely perfect – from crashing videos, to sound not working, to pixelated screens – laugh with them, and thank them for their effort to help you continue your education.

To Albright Faculty: Some of your students are learning online for the first time – this is not what they came to Albright for either! For many, virtual learning may be much less compatible with the way they learn. Give them positive feedback for engaging online. Share with them things that you have learned that help other students.

To Albright Staff: Working from home is not easy – many of you have children, partners and pets who are also at home and you’re balancing your workload while making sure your children engage in their own online learning. Remember to breathe. Take the dog for a walk. Stay in daily contact with your teams and managers. Use technology to connect virtually and keep those “water cooler” conversations going.

To Essential Personnel: Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is not an easy time for anyone, and you are in jobs that require your continued service to and support of our students who are still in residence. Your dedication and commitment to our community is commendable. I invite everyone in our community to reach out to Albright’s essential personnel – in residence life, public safety, the Gable Health Center, the cafeteria, and those in facilities maintenance and custodial services – and thank them. Remember that not all heroes wear capes.

Everyone, please be diligent in observing the CDC’s recommendations and in keeping yourselves and your families healthy and well.

In the last several weeks, each of our lives have been upended – we’ve had disruptions to our classes, our work, and our learning. It seems like the continuous news cycle brings ever worsening news, heightening our anxieties and fears. We are currently living through a time much like the Great Depression and World War II – a crisis that will in many ways define a “before” and an “after.”  Keep a journal of your time, your learning, your feelings, and your impressions – like the pandemic of 1918, this will be a time to be remembered in history.

As Albrightians – a pride of Lions – it is important to remember that you are not alone. We are all in this together and we will get through it together. Face-to-face interactions and a strong community are what we value at Albright College. As the pandemic prevents us from that experience, it becomes ever more important to build that community virtually. I will continue to be in contact with you during this time as will other community members, to inform you of operational details and to share words of encouragement – we could all use some words of encouragement as we navigate this situation together.

While we are living through circumstances unlike anything seen in generations, this too shall pass, and we will take from our experiences the strength we will use to heal our college, our society and our world. Continue your good and important work and learning – it matters.

Stay safe, healthy and well, and know that Albright College is there for you. I look forward to our return to campus and to our daily in-person interactions when this pandemic wanes.

Warm regards,

Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., ‘82

President and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dear Albright students and families –

I wanted to clarify some important information from last evening’s message regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement to close the physical locations of all non-life-sustaining businesses by tomorrow, Saturday, March 21.

If you did not elect to remain on campus during Spring Break and you are currently at your home residence, you are not to come back to campus to gather your things at this time. Commuter students are also not allowed to come to campus. The governor’s order restricts you from doing so. Only those students who chose to remain on campus during Spring Break must now vacate their residence halls or petition to stay on campus. Albright College is moving into the mode of “community food and housing, emergency, and other relief services,” which counts as an essential business. This allows Albright College the ability to keep residence halls open for those students who are unable to go home, feel unsafe going home, have no home to go to, or those who have food or shelter insecurities.

Students who are approved to remain on campus will not be allowed to leave campus and will be held accountable to Community Standards if they do. And the dining hall will remain open for carry-out of three meals a day regardless of how many meals a student has signed up for. Carry-out meals will begin with dinner on Saturday evening.

I know this is a confusing time and that it is imposing fear and anxiety on many. Please understand that we don’t have all of the answers right now and are continually monitoring this situation as it unfolds. If we remain in an online learning environment for the remainder of the semester, arrangements will be made to have all students return to campus to clear out their rooms at a later date. We will keep you informed as we know more.

In the meantime, I wish you health, wellness, and the best of luck as you begin your online learning experiences.

If you have any questions, please send them to studentlife-reply@albright.edu.

My best to you,

Dr. Wesner

Samantha J. Wesner, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC
Senior Vice President of Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer
O: 610-921-7611 | F: 610-921-7590
swesner@albright.edu

Dear Albright students and families –

This has been a trying time for all of us as we adapt to the changes that the unprecedented public health situation of the novel coronavirus has presented. This evening, Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close physical locations until further notice, effective Saturday, March 21, to slow the spread of COVID-19. Higher education was specifically listed as a non-essential business in the list of businesses.

What does this means for Albright College?

Albright College is moving into the mode of “community food and housing, emergency, and other relief services,” which counts as an essential business. Online classes and telework for those who are able to work from home will continue as planned. Online classes are scheduled to begin on Monday, March 23.

What does this mean for students who are currently on campus?

As of noon on Saturday, residence halls will remain open only to those students who are unable to go home, feel unsafe going home, have no home to go to, or those who have food or shelter insecurities. Students who are currently on campus may petition to stay on campus by completing the “COVID-19 Petition for Residency” form on the MyHousing student portal: https://housing.albright.edu. This petition must be complete by 3 p.m. on Friday, March 20. Late submissions will not be considered and all submissions are subject to approval.

Students who are approved to remain on campus will not be allowed to leave campus and will be held accountable to Community Standards if they do. And the dining hall will remain open for carry-out of three meals a day regardless of how many meals a student has signed up for. Carry-out meals will begin with dinner on Saturday evening.

Students who are not approved to remain on campus will need to vacate residential space by no later than noon on Saturday, March 21. Students vacating residence halls are encouraged to make arrangements to leave campus immediately to comply with the directives of Governor Wolf, and to move out as many items as possible. Following departure from residence halls, students must complete the “Residence Hall Departure Form” on the MyHousing student portal: https://housing.albright.edu.

Residential Life staff will be available tomorrow, Friday, March 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to answer any questions you may have and to provide assistance. Please email reslife@albright.edu or call 610-921-7641.

What does this mean for our community?

This was not an easy message to either compose or send, and I know that it is not an easy message to hear.  This new government order will likely evoke even more fear and anxiety.  But, know that we are a stronger community standing together than we are apart — we are a pride of lions, even if we must be so from distant locations for a while.

We are urging Albrightians to continue taking all precautions recommended by the CDC. Keep a six-foot distance between yourself and other people; avoid contact with those who are sick; wash your hands often for 20 seconds, using soap and water; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; cover coughs and sneezes; and clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces on a daily basis.

As this situation continues to evolve, President Fetrow, my Cabinet colleagues and I are working through the many questions that have already been presented and doing all we can to continue to support the success of our students while addressing the health and safety needs of our community. If you have questions, please send them to studentlife-reply@albright.edu.

My thoughts are with each of you as well as your families as we continue to navigate this unprecedented and emergent situation together. Be safe. Be well. Take care of each other. When this is over, we will emerge a strong community.

Warm regards,

Dr. Wesner

Samantha J. Wesner, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC
Senior Vice President of Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer
O: 610-921-7611 | F: 610-921-7590
swesner@albright.edu

Dear Albright students, parents and families,

The Coronavirus and COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared that the Coronavirus is officially a pandemic. Today, Governor Wolf held a press conference announcing that the state ordered the closure of all pre-kindergarten through graduate-level schools in Montgomery County (Pa.) for the next two weeks. The presidents of the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) made a decision that no athletic competitions would be held for the next two weeks, effective Monday, March 16. And cases of confirmed COVID-19 have reached more than 1,300 in the U.S., and eight counties in Pennsylvania have been impacted.

We are continually monitoring this situation and we are very aware that many of our students may be unable to successfully continue in their coursework from home, while others do not have homes to which they can return. Yet, the health and safety of our students, staff and faculty are our highest priority.

Therefore, Albright is creating options to fit our varied student population’s need. Beginning on March 23, all Albright classes will be instructed online. However, we encourage students to stay on campus — especially those who do not have reliable internet access, those whose home environments may not be conducive to online study, and those who are unable to go home.

Students who remain on-campus during Spring Break must complete the Spring Break Stay Form no later than noon on Friday, March 13. Please login to aLink to complete this form. Fees associated with break stays will not apply for this break period and meal plans will be active. Grab-and-go bags will be available for students who stay on campus but do not wish to eat meals in the Dining Hall.

Students who decide to leave campus over Spring Break must take everything they need to continue their studies online, including but not limited to laptops and related technology, and all course materials. Students who decide to leave campus over Spring Break will not be allowed to return to campus following break and will be expected to continue studies online until the college reevaluates the situation. At this time, the earliest students would be allowed to return to campus is Sunday, April 5. This includes residents of Rockland Hall and affinity housing as well.

What about School of Professional Studies (SPS) students?

Because SPS students do not live on campus and are working in classes under different conditions, specific arrangements are being made on a class-by-class basis.

The Pandemic Planning Task Force will continue to monitor this evolving situation and we will be communicating with you on a regular basis. Please visit Albright.edu/coronavirus for more information, or to review all college updates and policies pertaining to Coronavirus.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Karen Campbell

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of the Faculty

Dr. Samantha Wesner

Senior Vice President for Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer

Dear Albright community,

The Albright College Pandemic Planning Task Force has been meeting regularly and is continually monitoring the spread of novel Coronavirus and COVID-19 in order to develop short- and long-term contingency plans. With Spring Break just around the corner, and with an abundance of caution for the health and well-being of our community, Alternative Spring Break trips, athletic team trips to Florida and South Carolina, and a faculty-led trip to Madrid during Spring Break have been cancelled. As this situation continues to evolve, decisions regarding other events and activities both on- and off-campus are being discussed and will be communicated.

Travel Guidelines

Please note that all college-related domestic or 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. Additionally, in order to ensure the health and safety of our community, we also strongly encourage 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, using the forms available here. 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.

Spend Spring Break on Campus

Students, were your travel plans for Spring Break cancelled? Is your home state currently under a state of emergency? Although this Coronavirus is very new, it is not the first novel virus Albright has faced. In addition to staffing its own physician on campus, the college has been working closely with national and local health care experts and is well-prepared to quarantine or isolate students, if necessary. Plan to stay on campus during Spring Break and help us lower the risk of spread.

Students who remain on-campus during Spring Break must complete the Spring Break Stay Form no later than noon on Friday, March 13. Please login to aLink to complete this form. Fees associated with break stays will not apply for this break period and meal plans will be active. We ask that students remaining on-campus avoid traveling to high-risk areas.

Be Prepared

As Spring Break approaches, and given this dynamic situation, please be prepared for disruptions in services that we usually take for granted. For example, keep academic supplies (laptops, books, etc.) with you, even during overnight travel. Think about what you would need if you were notified that you were exposed to COVID-19 and your ability to travel, on or off campus, became restricted.

Stay Up to Date

Please be sure to visit the Albright website for the most current and reliable information from the college, and we will continue to update the community via email as well. On the web, you will find the college’s travel policies, forms to register your upcoming travel plans, FAQs, community messages and links to health resources.

Please take care of yourselves, stay healthy and be well.

Sincerely,

Dr. Karen Campbell

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of the Faculty

Dr. Samantha Wesner

Senior Vice President for Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer

Dear Albright,
COVID-19 news continues to break rapidly. Albright staff and administration continue to adjust our responses to the evolving outbreak.
As  we approach spring break, I wanted to remind students and staff to be prepared for disruptions in services we usually take for granted.  Please remember to keep academic supplies (for example: lap-tops and books) with you, even during overnight travel.  We all need to be prepared.  Think about what you would need if you were notified that you were exposed to COVID-19 and your ability to travel, on and off campus, became restricted.  
We are already screening patients for recent travel prior to appointments at the Gable Health Center.  We will REQUIRE phone appointments (instead of accommodating walk-in appointments) from this point forward to facilitate social distancing from ill students.
From the Pennsylvania Department of Health:

PA COVID-19 Update – March 10, 2020

Last updated 9:45 a.m.

  • To date, there are 11 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.
  • Counties impacted to date include:
    • Delaware (1)
    • Monroe (1)
    • Montgomery (8)
    • Wayne (1)

Symptoms of the COVID-19 can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold:

  • Through the air by coughing or sneezing;
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it;
  • Occasionally, fecal contamination.

Prevention:

  • Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
  • Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.

The CDC does not recommend wearing masks or respirators outside of workplaces settings (in the community).  Most often, spread of respiratory viruses from person-to-person happens among close contacts (within 6 feet).

Yours,

Dr Williamson

College Physician, Albright College

Dear Albright Community,

Coronavirus, or more specifically, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), continues to be an evolving situation, and we want to keep you informed about initiatives to prepare for and respond to this issue. The Albright College Pandemic Planning Task Force has been meeting regularly and is continually monitoring the situation in order to develop short- and long-term contingency plans.

With spring break just around the corner, below is important information about travel notices from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Albright College travel policiesPlease note, though this email is lengthy, it is important that you read it in its entirety.

Though the number of coronavirus and COVID-19 cases is changing rapidly, as of March 9, more than 500 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been identified in the United States. It is important to note that there have been no reported or suspected cases at Albright College or in the Reading community.

To date, the work of the Pandemic Planning Task Force remains primarily preventative in nature to maintain the health and safety of our campus community. Given this dynamic situation, please be sure to visit the Albright website for the most current and reliable information from the college, and we will update the community via email as well.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Travel Notices

According to the CDC, travel notices “inform travelers and clinicians about current health issues that impact travelers’ health, like disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, and natural disasters, in specific international destinations.”

As of March 8, 2020, the notices are as follows:

Warning Level 3 (Red): Avoid all non-essential travel to the following destinations. The outbreak is of high risk to travelers and no precautions are available to protect against the identified increased risk.

              Italy – COVID-19

              Iran – COVID-19

              South Korea – COVID-19

              China – COVID-19

              Venezuela – Health Infrastructure Breakdown

Alert Level 2 (Yellow): Practice enhanced precautions for this destination. The travel health notice describes additional precautions added, or defines a specific at-risk population.

              Japan – COVID-19

Watch Level 1 (Green): Practice usual precautions for this destination, as described in the travel health notice and/or on the destination page. This includes being up-to-date on all recommended vaccines and practicing appropriate mosquito avoidance.

              Hong Kong – Coronavirus

 

Albright College Travel Policies

In addition, following guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC, Albright College has developed policies applicable to all members of the campus community. These policies are similar to those implemented at colleges and universities across the country.

If you are planning travel during spring break, please keep these policies in mind:

General Policy

Any person who has traveled to or through a country with a Level 3 travel warning must notify the college and remain away from campus for 14 days from the date of departure from the affected area. During this time, you should monitor your health and maintain a daily log, twice daily recording your temperature and presence or absence of cough and shortness of breath. Following this 14-day period, students and employees should contact the Gable Health Center to schedule a phone appointment to review this information and determine your eligibility to return to campus. If you experience symptoms during the 14 days, you will need medical documentation clearing you to return to campus.  Any other visitors and/or guests who plan to visit campus are asked to follow the same self-monitoring guidelines if they suspect they have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Travel Policy

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. Please be aware that some national conferences such as the Eastern Psychological Association and American Chemical Society have already cancelled their conferences, and we expect that others may do so as well. Plans for Albright College-sponsored travel are evolving as well. We will keep you informed of any changes as they occur.

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.

2.    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.

3.    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.

4.    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 international 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.

The health and safety of all members of our campus community is our top priority. We continue to monitor this evolving situation and will keep you informed of any changes as they become available.

Sincerely,

Dr. Karen Campbell

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of the Faculty

 

Dr. Samantha Wesner

Senior Vice President for Student and Campus Life and Chief Health Officer

Albright continues to be very proactive about the novel coronavirus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes, named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”) by the World Health Organization (WHO).The Albright College pandemic planning committee continues to stay informed of the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health updates. We are establishing protocols for any potentially affected areas on campus, in the event COVID-19 begins to spread in communities in the U.S.

The U.S. confirmed case count has risen to 53 cases. Six of these are considered to be “recovered.” There have been no deaths in the U.S. There was a big jump in total case count over the weekend because 36 American patients from the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship finished their 14 days of quarantine on the ship (while docked in Japan) and are now under quarantine in the U.S.

According to the CDC, the U.S. government has taken unprecedented steps related to travel in response to the growing public health threat posed by this new coronavirus, including suspending entry into the U.S. of foreign nationals who have visited China within the past 14 days. Other measures have also been implemented to monitor the health of American citizens who have recently been in China and are allowed entry into the U.S.

Today, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering and WHO:

  • Globally: 81,244 confirmed COVID-19 cases; 30,311 recovered; 2,770 deaths
  • Outside of China: 2,459 confirmed COVID-19 cases; 34 deaths

For perspective; the CDC estimates seasonal influenza in the U.S. alone tallied at least 29 million flu illnesses; 280,000 hospitalizations and 16,000 deaths so far this season.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published a case series from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Feb. 11, with data the 72,314 Chinese COVID-19 cases:

  • Patient age distribution: ≥80 years: 3%, 30-79 years: 87%, 20-29 years: 8%, 10-19 years: 1%, <10 years: 1%. Spectrum of disease: Mild: 81%, Severe: 14%, Critical: 5%

These numbers indicate that risk to our Albright student population is extremely low, even if exposure occurs.

Nancy Messonnier MD, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said using the existing [U.S. influenza] surveillance system is an efficient way to watch for more person-to-person spread of COVID-19. If specimens at those labs test negative for flu, they would be tested for the COVID-19.

Given that COVID-19 is a new disease, it is understandable that its emergence and spread cause confusion, anxiety and fear among the general public. These factors can give rise to harmful stereotypes, and discrimination. This kind of stigma can:

  • Drive people to hide the illness to avoid discrimination
  • Prevent people from seeking health care immediately
  • Discourage people from adopting healthy behaviors

Such barriers could potentially contribute to more severe health problems, ongoing transmission and difficulties controlling infectious diseases during an infectious disease outbreak.

“Because 98% of people who get [COVID-19] are recovering, this is not an extinction-level event or the zombie apocalypse,” said Kevin T Powell, MD, Ph.D. “It is a major health hazard, and one where morbidity and mortality might be assuaged by an early and effective public health response, including the population’s adoption of good habits such as hand washing, cough etiquette and staying home when ill. But fear, discrimination and misinformation may do more damage than the virus itself.”

According to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the epidemic peaked and plateaued in China between Jan 23 and February 2, and has been declining steadily since.

WHO findings:

  • There has been no significant change in the DNA of the virus.
  • Fatality rate is between 2% and 4% in Wuhan, and 0.7% outside Wuhan.
  • For people with mild disease, recovery time is about two weeks.

The team also estimates that the measures taken in China have averted a significant number of cases, and emphasize that the virus can be contained. However, sudden increases of cases in Italy, Iran and South Korea are deeply concerning.

“Our decision about whether to use the word ‘pandemic’ to describe an epidemic is based on an ongoing assessment of the geographical spread of the virus, the severity of disease it causes and the impact it has on the whole of society,” Dr. Tedros explained. “For the moment, we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus, and we are not witnessing large-scale severe disease or death.”

Please call the Gable Health Center at (610)-921-7532 with any questions or concerns you may have on this or any other health related issue.

Dear Albright College parents and families,

As you may know, there is growing concern among international public health officials regarding the Wuhan, China coronavirus. Earlier this week, the first person-to-person transmission in the U.S. occurred, when a wife returning to Chicago from Wuhan transmitted the virus to her husband.

The CDC recommends that patients in the U.S. who meet the following criteria should be evaluated:

  1. Fever accompanied by symptoms of lower respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath)

AND travel from Wuhan, China (in the last 14 days) or close contact with a person who is already under investigation or confirmed for coronavirus infection.

Although Albright is home to a number of international students, none are native to Wuhan, and no Albright students are currently studying abroad in China.

Nonetheless, Albright’s pandemic planning committee has been carefully monitoring the virus and is taking proactive action. Our facilities professionals are using CDC-approved cleaning chemicals and our Gable Health Center is prepped and ready to implement the CDC and PA State Department of Health triage and testing protocols. We are also reminding students to wash their hands whenever possible, and of course, hand sanitizers are available throughout campus.

According to experts, this new coronavirus appears to be much less deadly than the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus of 2012-2014 (which ultimately resulted in only two U.S. cases).

But seasonal influenza is always a concern. With that in mind, please help us to remind students to:

  1. Cover mouths and noses with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  2. Wash hands frequently
  3. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  4. Do not share eating and drinking utensils
  5. Do not share saliva
  6. Be sure to get adequate sleep, good nutrition and regular exercise

Have questions? Please call Albright College’s Gable Health Center, counseling center or nutritionist at (610)921-7532.

As you may know, there is growing concern among international public health officials regarding the current Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Please be assured that federal, state and local authorities are working very diligently to avoid the spread of infection in the United States.As of yesterday the first case of person-to-person transmission in the U.S. occurred (from a woman who returned from Wuhan to her husband in Chicago).

Earlier this week the CDC reported:

  • 2, 886 WORLDWIDE cases of 2019-nCoV
  • 81 worldwide deaths
  • 5 cases in the US, and 110 US persons under investigation (see additional information below)

For perspective; seasonal influenza tallied at least 15 million flu illnesses, 140,000 hospitalizations and 8,200 deaths so far this season.

According to experts, this novel coronavirus appears to be much less deadly than the MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) of 2012-2014, which never spread significantly (2 cases) to the United States.

Albright has a history of being very proactive in these situations. The college established a pandemic planning committee in response to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) of 2003-2005. This committee made sure Albright was prepared for the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

We have been monitoring the home cities of our students; none currently live in Wuhan. Also, we do not currently have any students studying abroad in China.

The Albright College pandemic planning committee will continue to stay informed of the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health updates on this virus.

Of course, please call the Gable Health Center at (610)-921-7532 for any questions or concerns you may have on this or any other health related issue.

According to the CDC: Criteria to Guide Evaluation of Patients Under Investigation (PUI) for 2019-nCoV

Patients in the United States who meet the following criteria should be evaluated as a PUI in association with the outbreak of 2019-nCoV in Wuhan City, China.

  1. Fever AND symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)

–AND in the last 14 days before symptom onset,

  • History of travel from Wuhan City, China

-or-

  • Close contact with a person who is under investigation for 2019-nCOV while that person was ill.
  1. Fever OR symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)

–AND in the last 14 days before symptom onset,

  • Close contact with an ill laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV patient.

Dear Students,

Welcome back to campus, hopefully well rested and ready for your next step here at Albright.

Just a quick reminder for those of you who have not had the flu shot this year:

We continue to be in peak flu season (which typically lasts through March most years). The cost for the vaccine is $20 for Albright students. Please call the health center at (610) 921-7532 to schedule an vaccine appointment.

According to the CDC:

  • Over 50% of influenza positive test results from public health laboratories this season are in children and young adults (<25 years), while only 12% are in adults aged 65 and older. This has resulted in high levels of outpatient illness, but lower levels of hospitalization and death due to influenza.
  • 15 additional pediatric deaths were reported this week, bringing the total for the season to 54. Influenza B viruses account for 37 of the 54 reported flu-related pediatric deaths this season.
  • The CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 15 million flu illnesses, 140,000 hospitalizations and 8,200 deaths from flu.

Yours,
Dr. Joshua Williamson
Albright College Physician, Gable Health Center

 

Travel Registration

 

Contact

Albright College Gable Health Center
1829 Linden Street
Reading, PA 19612-5234
Phone: (610) 921-7532

Mon.-Fri., 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Should an emergency arise after business hours or on weekends please call Public Safety at 311.