University Communication to Students
Distributed: November 19, 2020
Allegheny County and the State of Pennsylvania are experiencing record numbers of positive COVID-19 cases. In response, the State Health Department issued new recommendations for colleges and universities and an updated Traveler Testing Order effective Friday, November 20. The full text can be found here.
The University is working to adjust to the changing conditions and deems the following to be of critical importance:
State of Pennsylvania Health Department Travel Order
The health department issued an order requiring any Pennsylvanian who visits another state or anyone who visits from another state to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the commonwealth. If you choose not to test or cannot get a test you are required to quarantine for 14 days.
Mask Order Strengthened
The April 15 mask order was strengthened to include required masks indoors and outdoors when you are away from home and when you cannot remain physically distanced from those not in your household. Indoors, masks are required even when you can physically distance from someone not in your household.
University Testing Plan
The State health department recommended that colleges and universities implement a testing plan when students return to campus following holidays. Therefore, the University will implement a testing strategy for returning students who are residential or have on-ground requirements.
Allegheny County Stay-at-Home Advisory
To mitigate further COVID-19 spread, the Allegheny County Health Department has urged all residents to limit all activity outside the “home” to essential activities where possible. This includes for students attending school, going to the grocery store, and attending to medical needs.
Common Good More Important Than Ever
We know collectively we are experiencing fatigue with the pandemic environment. Yet all community members must renew our commitment to the common good this holiday season. Embracing the orders above by wearing a mask at all times, social distancing, washing your hands frequently, and cleaning surfaces before and after use.
The University will shift to self-screening beginning next week. All students on campus or coming to campus will be required to complete a web-based screening tool daily. The tool will be available to all students who are encouraged to complete the application daily to provide the University with additional data to assess overall community health.
The pandemic remains an evolving situation and the university continues to evaluate expectations to support the new orders and advisories. We will update you as more details become clear. Each student is urged to honor Pennsylvania Health Department Director Dr. Rachel Levine’s parting comments, “We must remain united in stopping COVID-19,” Dr. Levine said.”Wear a mask, wash your hands, stay apart and download the COVID Alert PA app. If you test positive, please answer the call of the case reviewer and provide information that can help protect others. It’s the selfless, right thing to do.”
Stay safe and be well,
Timothy P. Phillips, Ph.D.
Vice President of Student Affairs & Dean of Students