COVID-19 Information Center

COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 FALL 2021 CAMPUS SAFETY PROTOCOL

The State of Pennsylvania lifted all COVID restrictions on Monday, May 31, 2021, but has allowed individual entities to maintain or implement stricter measures. In light of this announcement, the safety guidelines and protocols within this fall reopening plan have been modified according to the available scientific guidance. While the loosening of restrictions in the State has resulted in the relaxation of some of the safety guidelines and protocols in the University's fall reopening plan, other protocols will remain in place to help ease the safe transition back to full in-person operations. The health and safety of the University community will remain at the forefront of the University's priorities as any modifications are made, and as the University moves forward in a reopened Pennsylvania.

  Introduction

Purpose

This COVID-19 Reopening Plan is intended for Lincoln University faculty, staff, and students to ensure the cleanliness and safety of our Campus and to provide a strategy to safely increase in-person instruction, student services, and other College operations. Certain areas of the College, including some instruction, have remained open and continued face-to-face throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Reopening of Lincoln University (LU), or in essence the increased opening of LU, (hereinafter “Reopening”) requires all of us to move forward together by practicing social distancing and other recommended daily habits to reduce our risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19, and supporting faculty, staff and students in obtaining, and understanding the benefits of, a vaccination.

Reopening LU also strongly relies on recommended city, state and federal, public health strategies, including encouraging vaccination, continued testing of people for the virus, social distancing, isolation, and keeping track of how someone infected might have infected other people via contact tracing. LU is following the Centers for Disease Control and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines. Additionally, LU will work with local public health officials from the Chester County Health Department on local recommendations and health monitoring.

This plan is only part of the overall reopening actions being taken by LU and focuses on building operations strategies to reduce potential infections, provide guidance on social distancing, how access to our buildings is being controlled, and our enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols.

SARS-CoV-2 Virus (COVID-19)

The novel coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, is a virus that causes a respiratory illness known as COVID-19.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), person-to-person transmission of the virus primarily occurs during close (within 3 feet), unprotected, contact with a person with COVID-19 from respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets, particularly when aerosolized, can be inhaled into the lungs, or deposited in the mouth, nose, or eyes of nearby people. Airborne transmission from person-to-person over long distances (i.e., through HVAC systems) is believed to be unlikely.

People can also become infected with SARS-CoV-2 by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus, and then touching their mouths, noses, or eyes. Current evidence suggests that this virus may remain viable for hours to days on a variety of surfaces. Frequent cleaning of visibly dirty and high-touch surfaces, followed by disinfection, should decrease SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens (germs) from spreading.

Person-to-person spread is likely to continue to occur under current pandemic conditions. There is still more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with SARS-CoV-2.

Risk Assessment

Lower Exposure Risk (Caution)

OSHA defines activities as Lower Exposure Risk that do not require close contact with people known to be, or suspected of being, infected with SARS-CoV-2. Workers in this category have minimal contact with the general public and other coworkers. Examples include:

  • Office employees, faculty, or students who do not have frequent close contact (within 6 feet, unprotected, for greater than 15 minutes throughout the workday) with coworkers, students, or the public.

Medium Exposure Risk

Activities that require frequent/close contact with people who may be infected, but who are not known to have or suspected of having COVID-19 include:

  • Those who have frequent close contact (within 3 feet, unprotected, for greater than 15 minutes throughout the workday) with coworkers, students, or the public.  

It is the goal of LU to minimize job functions that may require close contact with people who may be infected.  Situations that require close contact will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis (i.e., nursing, performing arts, etc.) and additional administrative, engineering, or personal protective equipment has been provided.

There are currently no known situations where LU faculty, staff, or students should be required to be in close contact with any persons known to have COVID-19 (i.e., High or Very High Exposure Risk). As part of the implementation of this COVID-19 Reopening Plan, ongoing risk assessments will be completed, and job duties evaluated to ensure the majority of faculty, staff, and students remain in the Lower Risk Category. Specifically, the majority of faculty teaching face to face classes, other than a few classes which may require closer or direct contact, will remain in the Lower Risk Category.

  Infection Prevention Strategies

Specific measures for protecting faculty, staff, and students from exposure to SARS-CoV-2, depend on the type of work being performed and exposure risk, including potential for interaction with people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and contamination of the work environment. LU has adopted the following general infection prevention strategies based on our understanding of the general hazards our faculty, staff, and students may face while on our campuses during this pandemic. Employees will receive specific guidance from their supervisor regarding how this general guidance will be applied within their specific department.

General Guidance

CDC and OSHA have developed interim guidance to help prevent exposure to SARS-CoV-2. The general guidance below applies to all LU faculty, staff, and students:

  • Get fully vaccinated.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and running water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands that are visibly soiled.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practice good respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes with your inner elbow.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if sick.
  • Recognize personal risk factors. According to the CDC, certain people, including older adults and those with underlying conditions such as heart or lung disease or diabetes, are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19.

Masks

Class participants who are unvaccinated (students, instructors, staff,) are strongly encouraged to wear masks while in the classroom and on site except only:

  • When you are alone in your office or workspace 
  • If you are outdoors at least 4 feet away from others
  • Unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff are strongly encouraged to wear masks whenever they are in campus buildings.
  • If you do not have a mask, please visit public safety in the ICC or Health Services in the Wellness Center

The following should be communicated to all:

  • If you think it might not be a full 4 feet, you are too close.
  • Find masks that comply with CDC mask guidelines. Keep enough around that you always have one handy.
  • If using a cloth mask, wash your mask in the regular laundry or hand wash with soap and water each day that you use it.

Building Signage

Signs, markings, and building occupant communication will be posted throughout campus buildings as follows:

  • Hand washing signs have been installed throughout campus buildings.
  • “Social Distancing” reminder signs have been installed on floor, wall, and bench surfaces throughout campus buildings.
  •  “Wait Here to be Called” signs will be installed at all waiting areas, reception, and walk-up locations to assist with social distancing between students and staff.
  • Signs will be placed outside near exterior furniture and gathering areas to promote social distancing.

Hand Sanitizer Stations

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) is helpful in protecting against the spread of germs and viruses. However, handwashing with soap and water is still best. Hand sanitizer is effective when soap and water are not readily available. Carrying a travel size bottle of hand sanitizer makes it easy to disinfect your hands in these situations. Additionally, hand sanitizer dispensers will be mounted in various hallways and campus common areas.

Hand Washing Facilities 

Handwashing is a significant mitigation strategy to protect yourself and minimize community spread of COVID-19. It is common sense, and it works. However, it must be done properly and with soap and water. LU will ensure bathroom facilities are opened, operating, and properly stocked with supplies. Bathroom exhaust vents will run 24/7 to allow for continuous air flow in the bathrooms.  Replacement of fixtures to be ‘no touch’ will be considered and planned as part of future renovations.  Appropriate signage will also be considered for bathrooms.

Signs reinforcing handwashing with soap and water (or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol) for 20 seconds have been posted.

Paper towels or hand dryers should be used to adequately dry hands after washing.

HVAC Operations

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has developed proactive guidance to help address COVID-19 concerns with respect to the operation and maintenance of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. 

LU plans to follow the recommendations outlined in the ASHRAE “Core Recommendations for Reducing Airborne Infectious Aerosol Exposure” dated January 6, 2021 and “ASHRAE Position Document on Infectious Aerosols” dated April 14, 2020 to the extent applicable. For most campus buildings and areas, the HVAC system will operate under normal conditions. Where possible, additional ventilation and outdoor air will be increased. Filtration media has been increased to be a minimum of MERV-13 rating where possible. Additional ventilation may be considered for certain higher risk areas if identified. Temperature and humidity control will be maintained as normal. 

Additionally, per Pennsylvania Health Department guidelines, LU will:

  • Have each HVAC system checked to assure that it is working properly. If it can be adjusted, the system will be set to provide at least 6 air exchanges per hour or the highest rate possible.
  • Maximize the amount of outside air circulated by the system as allowable with weather conditions and the existing systems.
  • Install filters with minimum efficiency reporting values (MERV) of 13, or the highest compatible with the filter rack. While it is not necessary to use ultraviolet light irradiation systems, LU will evaluate the potential use of these systems across campus.
  • Ensure that the external air inlet duct is not blocked and that it is at least 15 feet from persons.

Barriers

  • Physical barriers will be installed in campus offices, dining halls or other common spaces where 4’ social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Tables/study desks in the library and computer labs will be evaluated to promote distancing and prevent spread of respiratory droplets. In situations in which distancing is not possible to maintain, physical barriers will be considered.
  • Staff working near each other less than 4 feet social distancing and greater than 15 minutes will continue to be evaluated for physical barriers.
  • Barriers will continue to be installed in areas where the public may approach employee workstations.

Reduction of Touch Points

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. COVID-19 can live for hours or days on a surface, depending on factors such as sunlight, humidity, and the type of surface. Although LU will have an enhanced cleaning and disinfection program in place, LU also will reduce ‘touch points’ throughout our buildings as much as possible.  Interior classroom and office doors will be kept open as much as possible. No-touch trash cans will be available. The College will make efforts to reduce the number of flyers, brochures, magazines, pens, and other common materials by encouraging faculty and others to use electronic materials to the greatest extent practical. LU staff will continuously review our building operations to determine how touch points can be reduced.

Encouraging Vaccinations

LU strongly encourages all faculty, staff and students to get vaccinated against COVID-19.  All individuals over the age of sixteen are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.  In addition to the mitigation measures recommended by public health authorities, vaccination of the University community will greatly assist LU to resume as many in-person activities as possible.  When an individual gets vaccinated, not only are they protecting themselves, but they are protecting their fellow members of the College community.

In accordance with public health guidelines, employees and students who submit proof that they are fully vaccinated will not be required to quarantine if they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, as long as they do not develop any COVID-19 symptoms.

Visit www.vaccines.gov to find a vaccination site near you.

  Social Distancing and Crowd Reduction

Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people. According to the CDC, keeping space between you and others is one of the best mitigation methods we have to avoid being exposed to this virus and slowing its spread on our campuses.

Limit close contact with others outside your household in indoor and outdoor spaces. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are infected, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you—or they—have no symptoms. Social distancing is especially important for people who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

It is the responsibility of all employees to assist with ensuring social distancing guidelines are followed by faculty, staff, and students. In addition, LU will evaluate the following:

  • Restructure work and classroom environments to ensure that people remain at least 4 feet apart.
  • Classroom capacity will meet the following criteria per CDC recommendations:
  • At least 4 feet of distance between students/instructors; AND one of the following:
    • 30 persons (students and staff)/
    • 1,000 square feet

Furniture Marking/Control 

To help with social distancing, select furniture in common areas will be moved and closed off for use.  Where possible, interior and exterior chairs and tables will be moved apart to ensure a minimum of 4’ separation.  Where possible, interior and exterior chairs and tables used by instructors will be moved apart to ensure a minimum of 10’ separation between the students and instructors. Immovable furniture (i.e., benches) will be labeled with a sign, poster, or decal to remind users to maintain 4’ separation.  Classroom and auditorium chairs/desks will be marked to indicate which ones are authorized for use. In situations where classroom chairs are not being physically removed from classrooms, Instructors are to assist with enforcement of proper seating and social distancing during instruction. 

Floor Markings 

Decals will be placed on floors throughout campus buildings to indicate traffic flow, maintain 4’ separation, ‘wait here’ lines, and separation zones.

Classroom Capacities

To maintain recommended 4’ social distancing, the capacity of classrooms, auditoriums, conference rooms and other large gathering rooms will be reduced.  LU will review each room and determine maximum room capacity based on 4’ social distancing.  New room capacities will be recorded to assist with scheduling of these spaces.  Additionally, as previously mentioned, seats will be removed or will be marked for use and instructors will inform students of proper social distancing.

Meetings

Meetings must comply with applicable room occupancy guidelines and social distancing requirements.  The College encourages virtual meetings whenever possible.  Vice Presidents should survey their employee offices and workspaces to determine any needs for virtual meeting technology (i.e., webcams, headsets, speakers, etc.) and submit a request through the Information Technology Department. 

  Access Control and Health Monitoring

To assist with access control into our campus buildings we are implementing the following protocols:

If a student, faculty or staff member has been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, and they are not fully vaccinated, they should quarantine for 10 days and not go to work/class. 

Visitor Protocol 

To assist with contact tracing and minimize people entering our campus buildings, non-essential visitors will be limited as much as possible.  Visitors entering the building will be asked to sign in and record what parts of the building they will be accessing.  Visitors will also be subject to health screening protocols.

Vendor Management 

Any vendors providing services on campus will be asked to provide a COVID-19 Reopening plan as it pertains to their operations (i.e., food vendors, contractors, etc.) Activities by vendors must follow current CDC, PDPH, and LU recommendations for in person operations. 

Deliveries (i.e., FedEx, UPS, Food) will be limited to designated drop off points.

Health Monitoring 

It is our goal to monitor the overall health conditions of our campus communities throughout this pandemic.  As such, we are asking all faculty, and staff to self-report to Human Resources any suspected or positive COVID-19 illnesses.

Additionally, faculty who receive reports of students with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 must report any such cases to the COVID task force.   

LU will track and record possible COVID-19 transmission on campus.  If transmission is observed, we will contact Chester County Health and follow current public health recommendations.

  Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols

When people touch a surface or object contaminated with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and then touch their own eyes, noses, or mouths, they may expose themselves to the virus.

According to the CDC, the SARS-CoV-2 virus can survive on certain types of surfaces, such as plastic and stainless steel, for 2-3 days. However, because the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 from contaminated environmental surfaces and objects is still not fully understood, LU will follow recommended cleaning and disinfection procedures in occupied areas. 

  • Frequently clean bathrooms and other commonly used areas with disinfectants. Facilities staff will maintain a log which identifies specific times when bathrooms have been cleaned.  See CDC guidance for details.
  • Ensure that high-touch surfaces are regularly cleaned (e.g., doorknobs; handrails; light switches, elevator buttons; desks; tables; chairs; counters/surfaces in cafeterias, meeting rooms and offices).
  • Limit use of shared objects (e.g., lab and computer equipment or shared pens) or clean between uses.

LU will operate during the COVID-19 pandemic only as allowed by law and will continue routine cleaning and other housekeeping practices throughout our buildings that remain open. The CDC provides instructions for environmental cleaning and disinfection. These instructions have been summarized in our protocols described below.

Standard Cleaning Protocols

LU will continue to follow pre-existing cleaning protocols throughout occupied campus buildings.  These standard protocols are documented under separate cover and include standard procedures for trash removal, dusting, surface-cleaning, mopping, and vacuuming. An increase in frequency of cleaning will be considered as needed. 

Disinfection Protocols

During this pandemic, LU will follow disinfection protocols in addition to the existing standard cleaning protocols. Additionally, disposable towels for faculty and staff to clean their work surfaces will be available upon request from facilities for faculty and staff who wish to have extra cleaning supplies available for their use. Faculty or staff in need of additional cleaning or disinfecting supplies may contact Physical Plant.  

Deep/Reactive Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols

If a person is identified as suspected or known to have COVID-19 in one of our campus buildings, additional deep or reactive cleaning may be warranted. It is unknown how long the air inside a room occupied by someone with confirmed COVID-19 remains potentially infectious. As such, LU will consider factors such as the size of the room and the ventilation system when deciding how long to close off rooms or areas used by ill persons before beginning disinfection.

Worker Training 

For those conducting enhanced cleaning and disinfection activities LU will train employees about the sources of exposure to the virus, the hazards associated with that exposure, and appropriate workplace protocols in place to prevent or reduce the likelihood of exposure. Training will include information about proper cleaning techniques, use of EPA approved disinfectants, and proper personal protective equipment.

  Positive COVID-19 Reopening

As this pandemic continues, it is possible that a person may be infected with COVID-19 and come to our campus buildings.  If a person is identified as suspected or known to have COVID-19, the follow protocols will be implemented:

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is the process of the identification of faculty, staff or students who may have come into close contact with an infected person for a prolonged period of time (within 3’ for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period). If the College is notified that a suspected or positive COVID-19 person is on our campus, the College will attempt to determine where that person visited and with whom they may have been in close contact. Screening records, visitor logs, and class rosters will continue to be maintained.  The College will continue to enlist additional contact tracing support through our app.  

Faculty, staff, or students that have been identified as being a close contact of a confirmed case and who are not fully vaccinated must quarantine in accordance with the College’s contact tracing protocol. A close contact of a suspected case may also be required to quarantine until a determination has been provided for the suspected case.

Notice to Students: COVID-19 Test Results
Students who test positive should contact Health Services for further instruction. Students who took a COVID-19 test upon arrival on campus and who have not received their results or who have received the result “test failed” should remain quarantined in their rooms until they receive results that they have tested negative for the virus. This means they should not attend in-person classes. These students should email their instructors and participate remotely. Additionally, students who receive the result “test failed” must contact Health Services to schedule a retest and obtain a new QR-Code.

Health Services | Pre-Test Registration Steps

Legacy of Academic Excellence

Your Safety is Our Priority

Lincoln University’s goal is to resume on-campus activities within the context of best practices designed to minimize the continuing threat of COVID-19. We have developed procedural and engagement policies towards mitigating and monitoring the risk of the virus while in session.  These policies are designed to protect the health and safety of the Lincoln University community and are guided by state’s reopening plans as well as guidance offered through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local public health agencies.

We continue to compile the latest data and research on managing the threat of Covid-19 infections and to make adjustments to our protocols as warranted. We have also sought to make this an ongoing and inclusive process by assembling working groups comprised of faculty, students, and staff as well as participation by members of the Board of Trustees.  Additionally, we have created other avenues to seek broader community input including an open comments page and a series of community town halls and community forums designed to solicit continuous feedback regarding reopening and individual concerns.

  Chester County Health Department MOU with Lincoln University

Chester County Health Department
COVID-19 Response

Memorandum of Understanding with Lincoln University

 

 

 

TITLE:   COVID-19 Contact Tracing

PURPOSE:   The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to identify the responsibilities of Lincoln University and the Chester County Health Department (CCHD) regarding contact tracing for COVID-19.

TERM:  This MOU made this 16th day of November 2020 between the Chester County Health Department (hereinafter CCHD) and Lincoln University. This MOU will remain in effect until the COVID-19 pandemic ends, or until either party provides written notice

SCOPE:  This MOU covers the following scope:

  • Ensure all individuals engaged in contact tracing have received the required COVID-19 contact tracing, confidentiality, HIPAA trainings per the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and maintain evidence of completion.
  • Ensure all individuals engaged in contact tracing have received the required Sara Alert training per the Pennsylvania Department of Health (or as provided by the Chester County Health Department), and maintain evidence of completion.
  • Register individual contract tracers into ServPA (www.serv.pa.gov).
  • Coordinate with the CCHD to secure access to Sara Alert.
  • Complete contact tracing on all cases identified among Lincoln University students and staff regardless of whether they live on or off campus, and record all information appropriately in Sara Alert.
  • Collaborate with CCHD to address contact tracing questions, gaps, changes in processes, etc.

COSTS: No funds will be exchanged for any scope associated with this MOU.

AMENDMENTS: Any amendment hereto shall be in writing and signed by both parties.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have executed the Agreement on the day and the year first hereinabove set forth:

Chester County Health Department:                     Lincoln University:

Jeanne E. Casner, MPH, PMP                                   Charles T. Gradowski

County Health Director                                                  Vice President Finance and Administration

Chester County Health Department                       Lincoln University

 

ATTEST:  Mary R. Johnson                                        ATTEST: Tamarkius A. Roby

Date:     November 16, 2020                                    Date:      November 12, 2020

To view to original signed copy, click here

 

  GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Maintaining the Health and Safety of our Community.    The health and safety of the Lincoln University community is a top priority.  Best practices guidelines for reducing the risk of a Covid-19 spread on our campus is the starting point for each decision. How we engage in on-campus activities will be guided by the best public health practices available to mitigate, monitor, and contain the ongoing threat of Covid-19.  Mitigation efforts such as social distancing, personal protective equipment, and increased cleaning regiments will be integrated into decisions regarding all campus activities.   The University will also employ best practices procedures designed to monitor and contain any signs of the virus on campus including periodic testing, contact tracing, and quarantining/isolating methods.

Legacy of Academic Excellence

Continuing the Legacy of Academic Excellence.   Lincoln University’s mission to provide a rigorous liberal arts education featuring active and collaborative learning while cultivating the character, values, and standards of excellence needed to enable students to become responsible citizens of a global community will continue. Standards of excellence will persist in all modalities whether face-to-face, hybrid, or virtual.  Moreover, we are committed to supporting the personal and professional goals of our students and faculty in the classroom as well as other critical aspects of campus life, including academic support services, campus traditions, and co-curricular activities.

Science continues to guide decisions

Science will Continue to Guide Decisions.  Lincoln University is committed to continuously monitor the trajectory of the pandemic and the effectiveness and practicality of mitigation efforts on our campus.  Flexibility will be built into every plan and alternative methods for achieving our goals will be used to balance concerns related to health and safety and academic excellence.

Inclusive Processes will be Employed

Inclusive Processes will be Employed. Students, faculty, and staff remain integral to shaping and implementing plans to consider the full range of our community’s needs and interests. All decisions will consider the disparate impacts of the pandemic on members of our community.