College Provides More Details Regarding COVID-19 Protocols for the Fall Semester
By Nicole DeJacimo, Content Manager
Early this week, President Bob Iuliano and Dean Julie Ramsey outlined new COVID-19 protocols in preparation for the return to residence this upcoming semester and emphasized caring for one another during the ongoing global pandemic.
Behavioral Expectations and Testing
In accordance with CDC guidelines and Governor Tom Wolf’s state mandates, all students and staff must wear a mask when they are outside of their homes or dorm rooms. It is also recommended that everyone stay socially distant with the exception of family members and students living together. Any roommates, housemates, or suite-mates are considered family units for all intents and purposes of following guidelines. According to the Living Arrangements page, common rooms will be altered to reduce their capacity. Students should also wear masks and are required to follow through with new cleaning guidelines that Gettysburg has yet to publish.
In August, all students must agree to be tested when they arrive on campus and throughout the semester as a precondition to moving in. In a campus-wide email on Monday, Iuliano also specified that while everyone should be physically distant, “we can be socially and educationally engaged while maintaining a physical distance.”
The college also asks everyone planning to move back on campus to quarantine for two weeks before returning to reduce the risk of bringing any COVID-19 cases to Gettysburg College and the surrounding community.
Additional health and safety guidelines are outlined as follows:
- Remaining at home as much as possible and limiting contacts to immediate family
- Avoiding gathering in large groups (especially indoors)
- Maintaining a six-foot distance from others
- Wearing your mask or face-covering in the presence of others
- Monitoring your health every day
- Remaining vigilant regarding personal hygiene, especially frequent hand-washing
Finally, students are expected to monitor themselves daily with a checklist of possible symptoms provided by the Health Center. Plans for regular testing throughout the semester are subject to change as external factors may impact Gettysburg’s access to supplies.
Residence and Move-In
Students are directed to fill out The Student Health Agreement in the online Medicat Patient Portal before receiving Move-In or drop-and-go date assignments on or before July 27. Those unwilling or unable to fill out the form or be tested will either be directed to complete the fall 2020 semester remotely or not at all.
While First-Year students await their housing assignments and select a First-Year-Seminar, some upper-class students’ original housing assignments could change. According to the email sent by Dean Ramsey on July 21, housing could change for any student given that some students already opted to not move back to campus and the College hopes to reduce the density in many residence halls. This is especially a priority for buildings with community bathrooms, which includes all first-year dorms—Stine, Paul, Patrick, Huber, Hanson, and Rice—as well as Musselman.
Once students move on to campus and get tested, all students must stay quarantined for the full 48 hours before their test results come back. The College has not yet released dining options for students during this time when the majority of students will be isolated.
If a student receives a negative COVID-19 test result, they are free to end their quarantining and go about campus wearing a mask and maintaining physical distancing. Any student that receives a positive result has two options: One is that they return home and isolate themselves until they are healthy again and the other option is to stay with the institution and be “relocated temporarily to an isolation room on- or off-campus,” according to Dean Ramsey’s email. There was no further clarification as to which buildings the isolation rooms are located in. The college will not allow affected students to move into their assigned housing until the student in question is free of symptoms for at least 10 days.
The college plans to isolate asymptomatic students but did not explain in the email how they will determine when those students can return to their assigned housing. While students are isolated, a case manager from the Health Center will take care of them and ensure that the students’ general, academic, and medical needs are met.
According to the Better Together homepage with the fall return outline, students will be given more details about Move-In and drop-and-go date assignments on or before July 27. Details about the use of campus spaces and Move-In expectations will be shared on or before August 5.