Students asked to exercise caution, recognize they may be potential spreaders of virus

University Communication to Students

Distributed: November 12, 2020

Dear Students,

Yesterday we honored the service and sacrifice of the veterans in our lives. Adding to the weight of the day, Allegheny County recorded 366 confirmed COVID-19 positive cases, one of the highest single day totals during this pandemic. This total mirrored what we are seeing across the country, calling on our collective resolve to action.

New This Week:

CDC Revises Thanksgiving Recommendations

In response to rising positive cases of COVID-19, the CDC revised recommendations state that all individuals should interact with caution among people who do not live with them. College students are encouraged to be regarded, and regard themselves, as guests and unknowingly potential spreaders of the virus. Thus, if traveling home, the CDC recommends you always continue to wear a mask, properly social distance, wash your hands frequently, and clean surfaces before and after use. Before you transition to home, please review full details here.

County Health Department Appeals for Help

As the number of cases in Allegheny County continues to increase, the Health Department asks residents to help control the spread. ACHD is seeing quarantine fatigue manifest: there is resistance to quarantine periods, people are not getting tested, and there is less cooperation in case investigations. Therefore, they are requesting the following:

• Pick up the phone when a Health Department case investigator calls and answer their questions;

• As we spend more time indoors around others, keep a physical distance and wear masks;

• Avoid parties and gatherings, even among your family and friends.

Significant spread is believed to have occurred during the Halloween weekend and health officials are particularly concerned about the upcoming holidays.

Breathe and Be Creative

As the pandemic continues to surge, we are heading into the most stressful time of the semester at the same time the pandemic continues to surge. Take a moment to breathe deeply, focusing on calming your breathing and your spirit. With recommendations to limit interaction, we must resolve to creatively find ways to connect with our loved ones and friends, keeping appropriate social distance.

Important Resources:

Caring for your physical and mental health has never been more important.

Counseling and Health Services remain available as we move into the toughest part of the semester. The hours are:

Health Services – Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.;

Counseling Services – Monday, Thursday, Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.; Sunday 12:00-4:00 p.m.

To schedule an appointment, students can email with their full name and contact information to request a phone call to schedule or can call 412-578-6474 (leave a message if no one is available to take their call).

Medical and mental health emergencies should be directed to Campus Police at 412-578-6007 if on-campus, 911 if off-campus, or resolve crisis services (Allegheny County) 1-888-796-8226.

Disabilities Services Registration

As registration for the spring semester proceeds, continuing DSO students with current accommodations should request accommodations for their new semester courses. Students can use the following link to log in to the Accommodate system and complete a Semester Request:

Continuing students do NOT have to complete another Confidential Request for Accommodations form.


Take Care of Each Other

Please take care to look out for each other as the semester comes to a close. High stress, long hours, and the holidays can take a toll on mental health any year, let alone in this year of the pandemic. If you become concerned about yourself or others, please submit a report and let the Care team know about needs, questions, or concerns.** We will make contact with you to extend help.

Disabilities Services Accommodations and Assessment Available

Students with qualifying disabilities may still request accommodations through the DSO for the remainder of the fall 2020 semester. Complete a Confidential Request for Accommodation form to start the process.

Students may request accommodations at any time, although accommodations are not retroactive.

The DSO offers assessment for disability to those students who may not have documentation, or whose documentation is more than four years old at no charge to the student. To request assessment, complete the Confidential Request for Accommodations form and check the assessment request box.

PA COVID Tracking App

If you have not yet downloaded Pennsylvania’s state tracking app, COVID Alert PA, please do so today. It’s available on the Google Play Store or the Apple App store.

Take care and let us know how we can help.


Timothy P. Phillips, Ph.D.

Vice President of Student Affairs & Dean of Students

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