With the health and safety of Albright’s community at the forefront, the college’s Pandemic Task Force and subcommittees have been working to develop flexible plans for the fall semester, adhering to recommendations and requirements from local, state and national health officials. All Lions will need to roar together in order to truly be successful this fall.
Albrightians returning to campus are asked to commit to:
Academic schedule fall 2020
Classes will be conducted in two, seven and a half week sessions this fall, instead of one 15-week semester. Students will take two classes during each session and will still earn four course credits over the full fall semester. This plan allows faculty and students to be flexible, creative and resilient as we continue to monitor the pandemic and guard against the potential for resurgence.
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.
Albright will begin its first fall session two weeks early, on Monday, August 17. The early start allows for classes in both sessions to be completed by November 24, ahead of the regular flu season. Final exams for the second fall session will be held remotely, so that students will not need to return to campus after Thanksgiving – further reducing the risk of travel-related infection.
Academic calendar fall 2020
August 17: Fall session 1 – classes begin
October 2: Fall session 1 – classes end
October 5-6: Fall session 1 – Final exams
October 7: Fall session 2 – classes begin
November 24: Fall session 2 – classes end
November 30: Fall session 2 – Reading Day
December 1-2: Fall session 2 – Final exams (online only)
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 terms, course sessions and times will be updated and require review in Self Service.
During the add/drop period in early July, changes can be made in Self Service to resolve conflicts, balance the number of courses in each session or replace cancelled courses. Advisors and the registrar’s office will be available to answer questions through this process.
Albright’s grading policy was temporarily adjusted to allow for Pass/Non-pass during the spring semester in order to lessen the stress on students during turbulent circumstances. Albright returned to its regular grading policy in the summer of 2020 and will continue in this manner in fall 2020.
Advising & Student Services
When possible, all meetings, including one-on-one advising sessions should take place remotely, via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. In order to maintain social distancing, many student services – such as accommodations, tutoring, the library reference desk and experiential services such as Handshake for career and internships will continue to be available online. Find upcoming online workshops, links and contact information here for campus safety, residence life, the Health Center and more.
On July 24, the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) announced that it will suspend athletic competition for fall 2020 based on new guidelines from the NCAA that would tax institutional resources and create an inequity between student-athletes and non-student-athletes. Though the MAC’s decision aligns with our core values as an equitable and inclusive community, and to our commitment to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and friends, this is disappointing for all of us, and especially for our dedicated student-athletes, our coaches and our athletics staff.
Athletics adds significantly to the vitality and richness of our campus community and we will miss the spirit that competitive athletics brings with it this fall. On a positive note, eSports, Albright’s newest co-ed varsity sport, will compete this fall under guidelines provided by the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE).
Our student-athletes were contacted by their coaches last evening and informed of the MAC’s decision, and a message of support went out to them just a few moments ago from me and Athletic Directors Rick Ferry and Janice Luck. In that message to our student-athletes we stressed our commitment to doing everything we can to provide a worthwhile, engaging and competitive athletic experience for all of them, despite the circumstances, and we will endeavor to do just that. We are all in this together!
As announced by the MAC, plans to provide competitive experiences for athletes in the spring are currently being explored, and practices and conditioning will continue on campus throughout the fall, following guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, PA Dept. of Health, MAC and NCAA. Student-athletes will receive more information from their coaches as detailed are worked out.
Employees working on campus are asked to assesses their health each day by checking for COVID-19 symptoms before reporting to work on campus. Self-tracing via the Healthy Together app is recommended. If an employee cannot access the Healthy Together app or chooses not to use the app, the employee is asked to answer the following set of health screening questions:
Are you currently experiencing any of the following symptoms?
|Fever (100.4 F or greater)|
|Extreme level of fatigue|
|Shortness of Breath|
|Loss of Taste|
|Loss of Smell|
|Changes to Vision/Eye Discharge|
Have you had any direct contact with anyone who lives in or has visited a place where COVID-19 is spreading and/or is an area reporting an increased number of COVID-19 cases (i.e. “hot spots”)?
Have you had any direct contact with someone that has a suspected or lab confirmed case of COVID-19?
If an employee answers ‘yes’ to any question, the employee should not come to campus. The employee should contact their supervisor and Albright’s Gable Health Center. Albright will then encourage employees to go to their own personal health care provider in order to receive further medical assistance.
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.
When possible, all events and meetings, including one-on-one advising sessions should take place virtually. Large gatherings are discouraged, including events sponsored by the college, individual departments or offices, athletic teams, as well as student-sponsored events.
New Student Orientation, usually held over one weekend, will be held virtually over a longer period of time. Visit the orientation website for more information.
Although in-person Homecoming has been postponed, the college will host a virtual celebration September 25-27, 2020.
All fall 2020 Experience events will be live virtual events presented via Zoom Webinar. Maximum participation for each virtual event is 100 students.
Only faculty and staff may submit Experience proposals. Individual students and student organizations are encouraged to work with faculty and staff on developing proposals.
A maximum of 20 Experience events will be approved for the fall semester In order to ensure running a virtual Experience program is manageable for all involved.
Students may earn a maximum of four Experience credits during the fall semester. Additional credits will be allowed for seniors graduating in December.
To receive credit for attending an Experience event, students must:
1) Pre-register for each event with Albright email,
2) Be present for the entire event (based on time stamp from Zoom Webinar),
3) Complete polls/questionnaires that organizers/hosts include during and at the end of each Experience event.
Learn more on the Experience Event web page
Following CDC guidelines, high-touch and high-traffic campus areas will be sanitized daily. In addition, sanitizer stations have been added to the entrance area of each residence hall, as well as campus common areas, high traffic areas, and in close proximity to campus bathrooms.
PPE kits that include thermometers, masks and hand sanitizer, will be provided to Albright students.
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.
Faculty may hold socially-distant classes outdoors when possible. Plans for use of campus Adirondack chairs for outdoor classes are currently in the works.
One of Albright’s core values is connection, in which we specifically state the value of an equitable and inclusive community, within the Albright community that is comprised of a remarkable diversity of people, backgrounds and thoughts. Within this concept, we endeavor to foster strong, personal relationships and engagement with each other, college programs, the greater Reading area, and the world around us. At Albright College, we value our face-to-face interactions. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly challenged our ability to live in, work at, and enjoy our in-person community.
This Albright College Health and Safety Plan has been prepared to communicate to all Albright constituencies the plans surrounding Albright’s return to face-to-face education. This plan endeavors to address the challenges the pandemic presents to our institutional priorities and commitment to a residential, face-to-face community. Within this plan, the following goals have been put at the forefront:
We recognize that, at times, these goals challenge each other and a commitment to both represents a balance. Importantly, this plan includes all of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PA DOE) requirements for a higher education health and safety plan. In addition, this plan aligns with return-to-campus guidelines presented by both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the PA DOE and PA Dept. of Health (PA DOH). For athletics, guidance from the NCAA and from the MAC athletic conference are also followed, as they become available.
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. While returning student housing selection processes have closed, returning students who need on campus housing should contact Residential Life for housing placement. Returning students who were unable to participate in July 7-13 housing selection processes should contact Residential Life for an assignment.
Residential Life has developed a phased move-in process for residential students. While students will be emailed specific directions about their assigned move in time, the general dates for move are as follows:
– August 1-16 – Rockland Hall Move In
– August 12-13 – First Year Move In
– August 14-16 – Upperclassmen Move In
Students (as well as faculty and staff) who are returning to campus are asked to commit to the college’s core values and to the health and safety of our community by reading and signing the Albright Community Care Compact, developed with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the PA Dept. of Education and PA Dept. of Health. Visit the Albright Identity System to read and sign the Albright Community Care Compact.
Although on and off-campus work will be allowed, students will be encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel, including weekend visits home and to high-risk areas. Non-resident guests will not be permitted inside residence halls.
Students living with a parent or legal guardian whose permanent residence is within 30 miles of Albright College may commute. Students whose permanent residence is more than 30 miles from campus who request to live off-campus due to personal or family member high risk to serious illness from COVID-19 must submit a formal request/petition through Residential Life and have a conversation with a Residential Life staff member.
If Berks County, Pennsylvania returns to phase red, students will be required to return home, or petition for shelter on campus.
Lifting Up Lions is an initiative for Albright students who need a little extra support from our community. Help comes in the form of food, winter clothing, toiletries and more. > Learn more
Internships are an important part of the educational experience and will continue. Students are encouraged to follow social distancing guidelines, wear masks and sanitize high-use areas frequently.
Conference travel is discouraged for the fall semester. Study Abroad experiences have been cancelled for the fall and interim semesters.
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.
ALL VISITORS will be required to adhere to the college’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, which include:
• Maintaining a social distance of at least six feet from anyone other than those with whom they currently reside — both on and off campus; replacing shaking hands, hugs and physical touching with verbal appreciation.
• Wearing a mask that covers both nose and mouth as recommended by the CDC, both inside and outside of campus buildings when within six feet of another person.
• Utilizing hand sanitation stations and frequently washing hands for at least 20 seconds.
• When in-person meetings are necessary, maintaining a distance of at least six feet.
• Self-monitoring personal temperature and checking for signs of COVID-19.
All visitors should stay away from campus if they feel sick, have a temperature above 100.4, or have symptoms of COVID-19, which include: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
Non-resident guests will not be permitted inside Albright residence halls. Family members visiting or picking up their students will not be allowed to enter residence halls.
Prospective students visiting campus should be accompanied by no more than two guests. For the safety of current students, tours offered by Admission Ambassadors and athletic coaches will be restricted to specific areas of the college campus. No overnight visitors will be allowed in college residence halls.
Search committees are encouraged to utilize virtual interviews for employment finalists. If on-campus interviews are necessary, finalists should follow all safety guidelines outlined above, and refrain from bringing guests, such as spouses/partners and children, to campus.
Guest speakers, recruiters and others interfacing with students are encouraged to coordinate sessions virtually. Large gatherings are discouraged, including events sponsored by the college, individual departments or offices, athletic teams, as well as student-sponsored events.
In addition to the individual visitation listed above, Albright is adhering to changing Pennsylvania guidelines regarding events and visitors. As of July 15, these guidelines state that indoor gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited and outdoor gatherings of more than 250 people are prohibited.
With the safety of Albright students and staff in mind, the college will not allow non-Albright individuals or organizations to utilize campus facilities for non-student meetings or events.
Due to COVID-19 guidelines, this year’s New Student Orientation will be held virtually for the first time in Albright’s history. A large group of Albrightians have been working together since early May — to plan for you the most comprehensive, engaging and exciting orientation that the virtual world allows. Please read on for some important dates and deadlines.The virtual New Student Orientation website will become available on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020! Each student will be provided information to access the site and will be required to complete virtual orientation by Aug. 13, 2020. Orientation is full of information pertaining to campus services, resources and programs available to you during your time at Albright. Albright faculty, staff, students and alumni have come together to create engaging educational videos that include information, advice and tips on being successful in your first year at college.
Residential move-in will take place between Wednesday, Aug. 12 and Thursday, Aug. 13. Residential Life will send each student a specific time to move in throughout the day. (Members of the football team should be on the lookout for additional instructions and updates.) Each student may bring two family members or friends to help them move into their residence hall. Please arrive at the time allotted to you, so that we are able to comply with CDC guidelines that specify the number of people allowed inside each building at one time. We kindly ask that you know and follow CDC guidelines to ensure the health and safety of our entire community. Most importantly: members of your party who are not feeling well, or have a fever over 100.4 F, should not come to campus. Sanitizing stations will be available to you throughout campus. Please note that Albright staff are unable to help move items into residence halls, due to COVID-19 restrictions. View a list of frequently asked questions here.
The real fun begins August 13-16, with Welcome Weekend! You will be assigned to small groups, led by Peer Orientation Persons (POPS), and will attend a wide-variety of live-stream programs and events. There will be fun activities available to you throughout the weekend! Every POP group consists of 7-10 students, paired strategically by First Year Seminar (FYS), and each group will view all live-stream events in an assigned classroom, together. We do not plan to hold any in-person programs or events due to CDC guidelines and our continued concern for the health and safety of our campus community. You can view the welcome weekend schedule here.
In lieu of our traditional Move-In Day picnic, we will offer grab-n-go food, snacks and drinks at various stations throughout campus. Feel free to pick-up food, find a favorite outdoor spot on campus and enjoy a picnic with your family after you are settled in to your residence hall.
Summary of dates and deadlines outlined above:
Virtual New Student Orientation website becomes available: Aug. 3
Move-in for new students: Aug. 12-13
Complete Virtual New Student Orientation: before Aug. 13
Welcome Weekend (on campus): Aug. 13-16
We also continue to evaluate incoming changes to coronavirus requirements and will evolve our plans as new options develop. Please visit our frequently-updated orientation website for information benefitting new students, parents and the Albright community.
Although the number of employees working on campus has been limited to emergency essential personnel only while Berks County remained in red phase, Albright is proud that is has been able to maintain full employment and full pay for all employees through the COVID-19 pandemic.
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. Teleworking continued for the majority of Albright employees through phase yellow.
As Berks County enters the green phase of the state’s reopening plan, a staged return to campus is being initiated. This staged plan enables the college to bring back various groups of employees at different intervals, ensuring strict adherence to social distancing and sanitizing guidelines.
Phase 1 – July 6: Approximately 30% of employees return to campus
Phase 2 – July 27: Approximately 50% of employees return to campus
Phase 3 – Aug. 12: All employees who are not continuing to telework return to campus
Employees returning to campus will first take part in virtual training that addresses symptoms and prevention of COVID-19, as well as safety guidelines and Albright protocols.
Employees working on campus are asked to assesses their health each day, by checking for COVID-19 symptoms before reporting to work on campus. Self-tracing via the Healthy Together app is recommended.
Facilities will clean and sanitize high-touch and high-traffic areas, daily. Cleaning supplies and sanitizing stations will be strategically placed around campus for community use. Directional signage will designate circulation through buildings to promote social distancing.
Albrightians are asked to not share personal office spaces. In addition to maintaining personal office spaces, employees should wipe down any shared surfaces before and after personal use, with college-provided supplies.
Some positions will continue teleworking during the phased return-to-work. Positions that can telework long-term should be evaluated by managers to ensure arrangements meet department needs. Divisional vice presidents will determine the sustainability of all long-term telework requests.
What if I don’t feel well.
Students who feel sick should stay in their rooms and contact the Health Center (610-921-7532) during business hours. During non-business hours, students should contact Public Safety (610-921-7670).
Faculty and staff who feel sick should inform a supervisor and stay home.
A temperature above 100.4 is considered to be a fever. COVID-19 symptoms can include: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and or diarrhea.
What if an Albrightian tests positive for COVID-19?
Albright successfully isolated seven students on campus during the H1N1 Pandemic Swine Flu virus in 2009, and is fully prepared to quarantine or isolate students affected with COVID-19. Essential personnel on campus have been fit-tested for safety equipment and have completed a step-by-step walk through — from students scheduling flu-testing appointments, through quarantine, isolation, residence hall room cleaning and personal material gathering, to food delivery, technology capability and trash removal.
Students who are tested and exhibit positive signs of the virus will not return to their room in the residence hall. Roommates of affected students will be immediately notified and quarantined. Their rooms in the residence hall will be fumigated and personal effects will be brought to them. Their meals will be delivered on disposable plates so that nothing is brought back to the dining area.
In the event of a presumptive or confirmed case of COVID-19 Albright will work with health professionals to conduct contact tracing. Self-tracing via the Healthy Together app is also recommended for all students, faculty and staff. Already being utilized by several states in the fight against COVID-19, this app’s data is limited to health and research efforts in fighting this pandemic. > Learn more
What if Pennsylvania returns to phase red (stay-at-home protocol) orders?
If Berks County, Pennsylvania returns to phase red, Albright will revert to essential operations. At that time, students will be required to return home, or petition for shelter on campus. Classes will transition to fully online, Dining Services will offer grab-and-go meal options for students sheltering on campus, and only essential personnel necessary for the minimum maintenance of Albright’s physical plant will be allowed on campus.
What if my roommate or classmate refuses to follow health protocols?
Albright values an educative approach to sanctioning students in violation of the Code of Conduct. Students who refuse to follow health protocols outlined by the college will be held to community standards. Learn more or view reporting options here.
Employees should notify their direct supervisors regarding inappropriate social distancing or face covering use by coworkers.
What if I learn that I may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19?
If you are a member of the Albright campus community and can answer “yes” to any of the following conditions, contact the Gable Health and Counseling Center at 610-921-7532:
What if I have an underlying medical condition that makes me more susceptible to serious illness from COVID-19, or I have an immediate family member with an underlying medical condition that makes them more susceptible to serious illness from COVID-19?
Students whose permanent residence is more than 30 miles from campus who request to live off-campus due to personal or family member high risk to serious illness from COVID-19 must submit a formal request/petition through Residential Life and have a conversation with a Residential Life staff member. Online classes will be available.
Employees who are able to telework should work with managers to continue teleworking arrangements. Employees who cannot telework should notify Emily Santos at firstname.lastname@example.org. Medical certification will be required in order to evaluate a request for an ADA accommodation.
What if I cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition?
A face shield may be an alternative for you. Contact the Student Accessibility and Advocacy office at 610-929-6639.