The 2020-21 academic year presents many challenges to the La Roche University community. Through a variety of coordinated efforts, the University will provide instruction and activities guided by two core principles:
During these unprecedented times, each member of the La Roche community must adhere to the policies, processes and procedures set forth by the University to assist in protecting the health and safety of all. The plan’s flexibility enables us to respond to rapidly changing pandemic conditions and operate under a full range of conditions.
This plan details key aspects of La Roche’s on-campus learning and operations effective July 20, 2020. COVID-19 is a complex and evolving situation. La Roche will work closely with our local health officials to adapt to the latest conditions to ensure that students, faculty and staff continue to thrive.
Updates to this plan are ongoing and will be noted. (Latest update on 8/12)
PLEDGE YOUR COMMITMENT
At La Roche the principles of compassion and peace influence all that we do and set out to accomplish. These principles not only guide our actions and decisions as an institution; they reflect our commitment to the greater good and unite all members of our community as global citizens who care for all creation.
We ask all students to pledge that they will act with kindness, honesty and compassion, and with responsibility toward one another as we face unique and extraordinary challenges together.Online Student Pledge
Employees are encouraged to demonstrate organizational accountability, and personal and social responsibility to protect themselves and others.
MONITORING AND SURVEILLANCE
As the beginning of the fall semester quickly approaches, we find the pandemic continues to shift. With record numbers of new cases across the country, including here in Pennsylvania, monitoring and surveillance are crucial to the health and safety of our campus community.
Before returning to campus this fall, all students, faculty and staff should limit travel, especially to hot spot areas within the United States
. Those traveling within these areas should self-quarantine for at least two weeks (14 days) before returning to campus. Every person must pay particular attention to their daily activities for at least two weeks (14 days) before returning to campus and adhere to public health guidance: limit travel, wear a face mask, practice social distancing and use good hygiene. Everyone’s support and understanding are necessary and truly appreciated.
In alignment with state and federal guidelines, daily temperature screenings will be conducted on all students, employees and visitors upon arrival to campus. Temperature Checking Stations (TCS) will be set up in Zappala Campus Center and Bold Hall II. At each station, trained staff will use infrared thermometers to measure individual temperatures. Once checked and cleared (no fever), individuals will be given wristbands, color coded by day, allowing access to classroom buildings, the library, administrative offices, the dining hall and fitness center. The wristband must be visible at all times while on campus. Employees and students will be screened only once per day.
Anyone with a fever of 100.9 degrees or above will not be permitted to attend class or work on campus. If the individual has not been cleared, a recommendation will be made to go home and monitor symptoms. If no symptoms occur, they may return to campus the following day for a temperature check as long as no symptoms exist. Employees and students must be without a temperature for 24 hours and without using fever-reducing medication before they can return to campus. In addition to a temperature, if symptoms exist, they will be recommended to see their health care provider or UPMC urgent care center for further evaluation. Students, faculty and staff who have recovered from recent symptoms associated with COVID-19 must be cleared by their medical provider prior to returning to campus.
In addition to temperature checks, the following questions will be asked:
- Have you had contact with a person known to be infected, potentially infected or exposed to someone infected with COVID-19 within the previous 14 days?
- Have you or someone you’ve been in contact with attended a gathering where proper social distancing protocol was not followed in the past 14 days?
- Have you had any of the following symptoms that cannot be attributed to another health condition in the past 2-14 days? Fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.
If the individual answers yes to any of these questions, they will be asked to quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus.
Screening will occur daily during the following hours:
Monday through Friday
- 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Zappala Campus Center entrance for faculty, staff and visitors; students may enter after 3 p.m.
- 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Magdalen Chapel entrance for students only; however, visitors to Magdalen Chapel also may use this entrance for screening; please use the Zappala Campus Center entrance after 3 p.m.
- 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Zappala Campus Center entrance
- 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Wright Library front desk
- 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Zappala Campus Center entrance
- 1 p.m. to Midnight at the Wright Library front desk
Those visiting the Wright Library during the weekend will be screened at the front desk.
- If an employee/student/visitor has a fever on screening, they should return home and self-monitor for twenty-four (24) hours. If no other symptoms manifest, or the fever disappears, the employee/student/visitor may return for screening.
- If an employee/student reports symptoms, tests positive for the virus or reports contact with someone who has the virus, the employee/student should not report to campus and take the following steps: remain off campus for fourteen (14) days; notify their supervisor or Human Resources, faculty, their health care provider and La Roche’s Pandemic Safety Officer Rosemary McCarthy, Ph.D.
- If an employee/student reports cohabiting with someone infected with the virus, or someone in their home tests positive for the virus, they should remain at home at least 14 days from the date the infected person was released from isolation.
- If an employee/student reports symptoms, tests positive for the virus, or reports contact with someone who has the virus and has been ON CAMPUS, the employee/student will be asked to identify individuals with whom they have been in close contact. The employee/student and all others identified must be tested and remain off campus for fourteen (14) days or pending a negative test result. The Pandemic Safety Officer must be notified.
- If an employee/student has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has been ON CAMPUS, then offices, classrooms and areas where he/she has been will be closed, and the CDC protocol for cleaning will be followed.
Students, faculty and staff who develop COVID-19 symptoms will be referred to their primary health care provider as appropriate to discuss options for testing and necessary treatment. Centralized outpatient testing is offered at various UPMC locations. The UPMC Southside testing facility is the closest in proximity to La Roche University.
When notified of a confirmed case on campus, the Emergency Response Team will coordinate with local health officials to determine the course of action.
Those awaiting test results or who have had exposure to individuals who tested positive will be asked to quarantine. On-campus students who live within two hours from campus are to return home to quarantine. The University has private rooms set aside for quarantine when necessary. Off-campus students will quarantine at their residence or home. Employees will quarantine at home.
In the event of an outbreak or resurgence of the virus, the University will assess and adjust operations in a manner that is consistent with the current and evolving situation. This process will be executed in accordance with the University’s existing Emergency Response Plan. An appropriate course of action ultimately will be based upon preventing further spread of the virus and protecting lives.
If notified of a confirmed case on campus, La Roche will work with local health officials to determine whether a temporary suspension of two to five days of in-person instruction is warranted. At that time, all areas will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected per CDC guidance. In order to determine when routine operations can resume on campus, the Emergency Response Team will coordinate with local public health officials.
The campus community will be notified via email when a confirmed positive COVID-19 case is determined among students, faculty and staff. The names of those who test positive will be kept confidential.
During this time, La Roche will restrict campus visitations.
- All visitors and vendors must be screened at a TCS, as described above. As with students, faculty and staff, visitors will be given a wrist band (color coded by day) that must be visible while on campus.
- Visitors and vendors will be screened for other COVID-19 symptoms via a short questionnaire. Those who are symptomatic or present a fever will be denied access to campus. Visiting privileges will be suspended or curtailed until the compromised person presents without fever or symptoms.
- Visitors and vendors must wear a face covering or disposable mask in all public settings on campus whether they are indoor or outdoor.
- Visitors, vendors and non-resident students are not permitted in the residence hall buildings unless visiting an administrative office.
Face coverings or disposable masks must be worn by all individuals in all public settings on campus whether they are indoor or outdoor. This includes all campus parking lots and sidewalks, classrooms, shared offices, hallways, stairwells, elevators and restrooms. There are only three instances when a face covering does not have to be worn:
- An individual working in a private office
- A student in his or her residence hall room
- An individual eating or drinking
The University will provide face coverings to every student, faculty and staff member. For students living in on-campus housing, face coverings will be distributed as part of move-in. The University will ensure that commuters, faculty and staff also receive face coverings prior to or upon their return to campus.
Please wash your mask daily. Homemade masks that cover the mouth and nose also are permissible. Visitors will be provided disposable, one-use, masks.
Each member of our community will have the responsibility to monitor and engage each other to support the face covering requirement. Formal monitoring will be the role of the appropriate University division, department and/or office.
We ask all individuals to exercise social responsibility, as well as kindness, with respect to the face covering requirement. If anyone encounters students, faculty, staff or visitors who are not wearing face coverings, be mindful that there could be a compelling reason. If individuals should have difficulty hearing or understanding others in conversation with a face mask, please be patient and kind, and work together to effectively communicate, and continue to maintain social distancing.
All individuals who are physically present on campus will be asked to practice social distancing at all times by remaining at least six feet apart both inside and outside buildings. Signs are located throughout campus as reminders. Please adhere to posted foot traffic patterns in hallways and stairwells, and observe exterior doors that are posted for entrance and exit. Individual offices and cubicles are to have one occupant only. Visitors must remain outside office doors or meet in a location where social distancing can be maintained.
Meetings and conferences should be held via Zoom when possible. Meetings can be held in conference rooms if the room is ventilated, the seating meets the six-foot social distancing requirement and all attendees wear masks.
Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after public place exposure, after touching an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, and before preparing or eating food. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol when soap and water are not available. Use available hand sanitizers in all classrooms, labs and public areas.
Follow proper sneeze or cough etiquette by using a tissue or in the inside of your elbow. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately.
If you take your temperature and the reading is above 100.9 degrees or above, stay home and monitor symptoms. If symptoms exist after 24 hours, call your health care provider or visit the UPMC urgent care center for further evaluation.
Prior to beginning the Fall 2020 semester, all students and employees are encouraged to participate in a video training on best practices for staying healthy and avoiding viral spread. The video will train students and employees on measures to protect health and prevent the spread of COVID-19. This training is designed to help the La Roche community prepare for and mitigate the almost inevitable impacts of the virus. Participants will discover how to prepare for a pandemic, what to be aware of, how to prevent contracting and spreading viruses, and how to assist the La Roche community during the pandemic. Employees and students will be encouraged to adopt the proposed strategies as their daily routines.
In addition to our pre-existing protocols, La Roche will continue to add additional protocols to clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces routinely in accordance with CDC guidelines. The main cleaning product for all areas will be 3M 40L disinfectant. Below are COVID-19 cleaning protocols for a variety of La Roche’s buildings.
Before move-in all residence hall rooms will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Walls will be patched and painted, and the door will be locked and taped until resident move-in. During the semester, the residence halls’ common areas will be cleaned twice daily.
High-use restrooms will be cleaned four times daily and twice on weekends; others will be cleaned twice daily. Antimicrobial soap and paper towels will be in bathrooms with trash cans placed by the doors. Every other stall, urinal and sink will be out of order. Occupancy levels will be posted and must be observed to ensure social distancing requirements are met.
Hand-wipe stations for self-use will be available in common areas, including computer labs, the dining hall, Zappala Campus Center Square, Wright Library, fitness centers and weight rooms. Additional stations with hand sanitizer, gloves and masks will be at entry/exit points and multiple other locations. High-use touch areas will be cleaned four times daily and twice on weekends. Water fountains will be closed except for bottle-filling stations. Shields will be installed in public office spaces, classroom podiums and where applicable.
La Roche Facilities Management and an industrial disinfection contractor will treat areas for COVID-19 as needed.
GUIDELINES FOR RESIDENTIAL HOUSING
La Roche plans to reduce the density of students living on campus. This allows the University to have quarantine spaces and the flexibility to lower six-person suite density to four-person suites.
Limited rooms with private bathrooms are set aside on campus for students who need to self-quarantine or self-isolate throughout the semester because of positive COVID-19 tests or exposure to individuals who tested positive. The Student Life staff will coordinate meal delivery to quarantined students. Students needing to quarantine or isolate who live within a two-hour drive of campus, and are able to return home, are encouraged to do so.
Common area spaces will have amended max occupancy that is 50 percent or less than regulation fire code occupancy, in order to comply with social distancing and CDC guidelines. Updated occupancy signage will be posted on the doors of all common area spaces. The corner lounges in Bold Hall will remain closed for the duration of the academic year. The kitchen space in the Bold Union Room will be used with a checklist provided for proper cleaning protocol.
Housing Contract Acknowledgment Addendum
The Housing Contract Acknowledgement Addendum highlights the updated policies and procedures in place for residential students for the 2020-2021 academic year. Students are required to review and agree to the addendum in order to live on campus.
Policies highlighted in the Addendum include, but are not limited to, the following:
Students are required to wear a mask or face covering while inside any residential facility, unless specifically in their assigned room. This includes hallways, lounge spaces, laundry facilities, vending areas, stairwells, elevators, offices in Peters or Bold Hall, and any other part of the residential facilities.
Students who are found to violate any residential policies and expectations related to added COVID-19 precautions will be subject to action through the student conduct disciplinary process. Violations of the precautions will result in warnings, fines, educational requirements, probation, and ultimately may include removal from the residence halls.
To promote the health and safety of our residential community, the University will implement the following guidelines regarding guests and visitation:
- Non-residents are not permitted to visit the residence halls. This includes non-student guests as well as commuter students. Students are limited to their assigned building and will not be permitted to visit other residence halls.
- Students are not permitted to have more than two (2) residential student guests in their room at one time. All roommates must agree that the residential student guests may enter their room. There can be no more than two guests total in one room at a time, not two guests per each resident.
- Any residential guest involved in a violation of the Student Handbook will be asked to leave the room they are visiting. The Office of Housing and Residence Life reserves the right to remove a student from the residence halls as a result of violations of the Student Code of Conduct, including temporary COVID-19 restrictions.
- Any student hosting a non-residential guest, including a non-student or a commuter student, in their room, suite or in public areas of the residence halls, will be subject to disciplinary action, and those guests will be asked to leave campus immediately.
- A residential guest may not be in another student’s room without an occupant of that room being present. If a guest is in violation of the Code of Conduct, the occupant(s) of that room also may be found responsible even if they are not present at the time. Students are responsible for the behavior of their guests and are expected to be in their room when guests are present.
All resident students will be required to answer a questionnaire outlined below, prior to receiving their room keys for the 2020-2021 academic year.
- Who is your emergency contact, and what is their contact information?
- Where can you safely go if you have to quarantine or are sick with COVID-19? CDC recommends reducing shared spaces during quarantine. This means you need a place where you can have your own room and bathroom. Also, you will need access to food, water and regular check-ins with your medical provider.
- If you have to move home because of a state shut down or a need to self-isolate at home, what plans are in place for you to make the trip home? Would you use public transportation (bus, train, ride sharing service or plane), a moving service or a personal vehicle?
- If you need to learn remotely, do you have access to the tools and course materials to be successful? (quiet space, WIFI, computer, textbooks, etc.)
- Do you have a medical provider to contact at home?
- Do you have easy access to basic needs such as food/water/medicine?
- How quickly could you leave campus, should you need to?
Only students who are registered for classes are permitted to move into the residence halls. Any student still needing to register must address registration issues prior to move in, with the excepting being new international students who typically register after arrival.
Return to campus will need to include changes to normal move-in and move-out practices across campus. Students should restrict contact with others outside of their household and follow CDC guidelines, such as: wearing a mask in public buildings, reducing non-essential travel, and increasing handwashing two weeks prior to move-in. To adhere to best practices, move-in and move-out will:
- Utilize a no-contact process using QR codes
- Be conducted outdoors as much as possible
- Be staggered with designated move-in times to reduce traffic and alleviate congestion
- Employ enhanced cleaning methods
- Limit students to two guests during move-in and move-out
- Require students and their guests to have their temperature checked at a TCS
- Designate certain stairwells and elevators for single-family use
Students are encouraged to upload an ID photo to the My.LaRoche portal to have ID cards printed in advance of arrival. Students planning to arrive by public transportation will be given additional guidance about arrival to campus to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19. Student groups will move in on the following days. Additional details are forthcoming.
- Resident Assistants – Wednesday, Aug. 5 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Providence Institute Mentors – Sunday, Aug. 9 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Student Government Association Members and Orientation Leaders – Monday, Aug. 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- New Providence Institute Students and Fall Athletes – Wednesday, Aug. 12 (Time TBA)
- New Students – Thursday, Aug. 13 and Friday, Aug. 14 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Returning Students – Saturday, Aug. 15 and Sunday, Aug. 16 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The fall 2020 academic schedule has been modified with an early start date of Aug. 17, 2020 and ending on Nov. 25, 2020. As a result, room and board will remain consistent to previous semesters, and be billed based upon a full semester rate.
The University will waive the cancellation fee for students who choose not to live on campus this fall.
La Roche’s curricular plan conforms with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Preliminary Guidance to Resume In-Person Instruction at Postsecondary Education Institutions (6/3/20). At any point, should in-person instruction be disallowed, La Roche will comply with the Governor, Pennsylvania Department of Education and local Allegheny County Health Department directives. Furthermore, La Roche reserves the right to change the academic calendar, course schedules and modality irrespective of state or local mandate.
The La Roche campus footprint will be reduced to 50 percent in all class spaces and all academic buildings to enable appropriate social distancing. At the same time, La Roche’s curricular options will allow students the flexibility to complete their degrees while retaining as much of La Roche’s signature face-to-face experience as possible.
In addition to our normal small, immersive, in-class experiences, La Roche will add more online course options, and a new collaborative, Hi-Flex classroom model in which students only are physically in the classroom once/week. The three class modalities are as follows:
- Small, Immersive, In-Class Experience – This is the normal face-to-face experience in which faculty lead class discussions, facilitate group work and conduct lab experiences, studio experiences, etc. Immersive, in-class experiences may be either 8-or-16-week semester-based courses. The majority of courses will be delivered in this format, but will be limited to classes with small enrollments to ensure that adequate physical distancing exists at all times.
- Remote Online Courses – Online courses will be delivered in a robust fashion. The University added more than 50 additional online courses to the fall curriculum to provide students with more distance-based options and to reduce the footprint of students and faculty on campus.
- Hi-Flex Classroom Experience – New cameras and technology in the classrooms allow for students to participate remotely or face-to-face in class lectures and discussions. At the discretion of the instructor, class recordings also will be available for viewing at a later time. Certain courses will be designated as Hi-Flex, and those courses will be delivered so that a student is only required to be in the physical classroom every other session. The Hi-Flex classroom experience will be hybrid in nature, with one of the weekly sessions offered in person and the other attended remotely.
These three formats provide the student with several important benefits.
- Allows for adequate physical distancing in classrooms at all times. Each classroom has been mapped out to maintain approximately six feet between students, and classroom maxes have all been recalculated based on physical distancing guidelines.
- If a student becomes ill and must miss a class, the student in the Hi-Flex classroom may still continue with the course from the safety of their home until they are able to return to class.
- While not all classrooms are designated as Hi-Flex, most classrooms can be “hi-flexed” if requested for individual students who must take courses remotely due to travel restrictions or health-related concerns. Students should ask their professor to take the course from the safety of their home by using the distance technology to participate in the class remotely.
- Students will interact in person with their faculty on a regular basis, either twice per week or once per week in most of their courses.
Regardless of the modality of instruction, La Roche’s educational programs meet the University’s academic standards and afford students the opportunity to earn the credits necessary to receive their degrees. Students should be aware of the tuition charged by the University; they also should be aware they are not entitled to a refund or an adjustment of tuition or costs, regardless of whether some or all of the education programs are delivered remotely or in person for all or a portion of any academic term.
In the physical classroom this fall, students and faculty will see a number of changes. Due to the greater number of online classes, and the use of Hi-Flex classes, our on-campus footprint will be less than 50 percent of capacity in any given class, timeslot or day in any given academic building. This means classes will be very small—about half their normal size on average—and everyone will be spaced at least six feet apart.
The following summarizes the protocol for face-to-face classes:
- The beginning and end times for classes have been revised to allow for 15 minutes between classes.
- A classroom must be cleared entirely before a new class enters.
- Faculty members are to dismiss their class no later than the prescribed end-time by rows, making sure there is ample space between students leaving the classroom.
- Faculty and students will need to wipe down their table and seating area as they arrive. Wipes and disinfectant will be provided, and everyone is expected to sanitize their stations before taking a seat.
- Many chairs/spaces cannot be used and will be designated as such.
- Faculty and students will be required to wear face coverings.
- Students will be socially distanced, including during any group work that occurs in class.
Science labs and design studios will be governed by different protocols, due to the nature of the work. Science labs will be conducted in a face-to-face format and will not exceed 10 students at any one time. Design studios will be conducted in a face-to-face format, but instead of meeting via Hi-Flex, they will meet across two classroom spaces. Faculty will work with students independently using technology.
Last, but not least, a larger number of online courses, coupled with the new Hi-Flex model, will allow many students to go entirely online. Students should consult with their advisor as soon as possible to make arrangements. If your advisor is not available, please contact the Office of the Registrar, and they will provide initial guidance. While we cannot say with certainty that we can accommodate a student’s decision to go fully online, it is a strong possibility that we can.
La Roche will offer an academic calendar and course schedule that minimize disruption to student completion and simultaneously respond to projections regarding the virus’ arc. It is essential that we guard the health of our community as much as feasible. Currently medical experts predict that we will see a “second wave” of coronavirus concurrent with the advent of the winter flu season.
In order to complete on-campus coursework by Thanksgiving, we will follow this schedule:
Monday, Aug. 17: Semester begins
Monday, Aug. 17: First 8-week accelerated courses begin
Tuesday, Oct. 6: First 8-week accelerated courses end
Wednesday, Oct. 7: Second 8-week accelerated courses begin
Tuesday, Nov. 24: Classes end
Tuesday, Dec. 1-Friday, Dec. 4: Virtual finals week
Friday, Dec. 4: Second 8-week accelerated courses end
Nursing programs remain unaffected by this calendar shift and will begin on the normally scheduled date and time, Monday, Aug. 24.
Students who are sick should not attend in-person class or attend in-person activities. The academic in-class attendance policy will be relaxed for the 2020-2021 academic year. Students must notify their faculty member prior to the class if they will miss an in-person session they were expected to attend. Students will be responsible for any missed work.
Academic support will be more accessible through a core delivery system for academic support on Canvas. Academic Support Kiosk – ASK! – is a one-stop-site for academic support. ASK! mirrors other courses on Canvas and highlights all of the SASS department areas with pictures, contact information and a brief overview of services provided. New content and announcements will be added daily.
SASS also will host Zoom drop-in hours for students to explore available academic supports and meet face-to-face with a staff member. Topics will be timely in nature, corresponding with the academic calendar, and will be announced in advance.
Internships are a critical piece to a student’s education at La Roche, and the University continues to encourage them. Students must sign a waiver before completing an internship, and a COVID-19 amendment has been added to the internship agreement for employers. Information will be provided to students on possible alternatives to on-site internships.
Wright Library will reopen for the fall semester, with federal and state guidelines on social distancing being used to arrange tables, chairs and study areas. Protocols include:
- Wipes and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the library.
- Trash cans will be available nearby.
- All users will wipe keyboards and computer mouse before using.
- All users will wipe the copy machine before and after each use.
- Trash cans will be cleared daily.
- Door handles and knobs will be wiped daily.
- Desks and chairs will be wiped daily.
- During weekend hours, screening will take place in the library. Students must go to the front desk, have their temperature taken and answer screening questions before entering other areas of the library.
In-Store Policy Changes
- Limit of up to 12 customers in the store at one time.
- Limit of 10 customers waiting in the hall.
- Social distancing of six feet apart and face covering worn at all times.
- Bring photo ID and schedule with you to help find books you need.
- Bookstore staff will help one to two students at a time getting their books.
- Text and art area will be blocked off to safely serve everyone.
- Before visiting the bookstore, enter through main Zappala Campus Center doors at a TCS and receive a color-coded wristband.
- Exit through the side doors.
Financial Aid/Honors Funds
- Books ordered online can be shipped to home address or for pick up in the store.
- When picking up an online order, please bring your photo ID and order number, which can be found in the confirmation email.
- Financial aid and honors funds are set up online.
- Financial aid only can be used on books and supplies needed for classes.
- Honors funds only can be used for books and design supplies, plus a limit of one $1.29 notebook per each class.
- The deadline for using financial aid and honors funds online is Aug. 25.
- The deadline for using financial aid and honors funds in store is Aug. 28.
- Rental books are due back as soon as students are done with them.
- Fall semester deadline to return books to bookstore is Dec. 14, 2020.
- If possible, please return books by Nov. 25 (before leaving campus) to avoid return shipping charges.
La Roche is prepared to welcome and house international students who arrive for fall and have coordinated with residence life the measures they may need to take for quarantine upon arrival. Those specifics will be addressed as the CDC and state/county regulations are updated.
Academic procedures are in place to continue accepting and matriculating international students who wish to begin as La Roche students while remaining in their home countries. Sufficient and appropriate courses are available for international students who wish to begin their studies online in August and not defer until spring.
For current international students who are unable to return to the United States, we are enabling them to continue the pursuit of their degrees by sharing course availability. This may be limited in certain majors, but sufficient online and Hi-Flex courses will be available to make this a strong possibility for most students.
Appropriate courses have been identified and are being made available for students who are admissible into the new Pathway program (online format). ESL has transitioned to online coursework and is ready to offer courses in person or online as the situation unfolds.
No travel is anticipated for study abroad trips or for any faculty travel during the fall semester. However, Study Abroad+Study USA options are being explored for May 2021.
DINING HALL OPERATIONS
The number of tables and chairs will be decreased to ensure physical distancing. Capacity will be no more than 50 percent.
La Roche’s food service partner, SAGE Dining, is committed to providing a variety of nutritious and appealing meals in a cost-effective manner. Students will experience a welcoming environment with visually enticing foods. SAGE Dining is incorporating safe tableside practices at catering events, and keeping product availability and cost in mind for menu design for the fall semester. Meeting student needs in this new environment will take creating a new normal through various levels of new services and enhanced communications.
Food service will remain fully focused on safety and sanitation.
- All employees will be outfitted with personal protective equipment at all times.
- All employees will complete ServSafe COVID-19 training before returning to work.
- All employees will complete a daily health questionnaire and have their temperature taken daily. Employees are required to disclose a positive COVID-19 test or exposure to a person who tests positive.
- All employees will work in a safe manner and follow COVID-19 guidelines including reconfigured work shifts, designated workstations, alternate migration flow and social distancing.
- Plexiglass screens will be installed in various locations in the kitchen, dining hall, café and offices.
Food services will meet regulatory guidelines, and adjustments will be made to ensure the safety of guests.
Because the number of tables and chairs will be decreased in the dining hall to ensure social distancing, additional seating will be available in other areas on campus. These areas also will ensure social distancing:
- Zappala Campus Center Square
- Outdoor Courtyard
- Tent near Bold Hall
- SAGE will monitor the dining hall capacity. Only students and employees with meal plans will be permitted to use the dining hall. Commuter students who wish to use the dining hall must purchase a commuter meal plan. Outside visitors will not be permitted.
- Resident students will be able to pick up alternate prepackaged meals during lunch and dinner.
- The number of tables and chairs will be decreased to ensure social distancing.
- Napkin dispensers, and salt and pepper shakers on dining tables, will be removed.
- Self-service food stations will be eliminated.
- Grab-and-go food in to-go boxes will be offered.
- A hybrid of disposable china will be used. Utensils will be disposable and be dispensed by a no-touch single piece dispenser. All cups will be wax paper cups. Condiments and napkins will be distributed by the SAGE staff as needed.
- Meals will be available for takeout during regular operational hours. Takeout meals from the dining hall or The Nest will be considered a meal swipe. Takeout meals from the Redhawk Café will use Redhawk Dollars.
- Meals will be available for takeout during regular operational hours.
- During operational hours, one SAGE team member will be dedicated to ongoing cleaning and sanitizing of tables and frequently touched surfaces.
- Bulk dispensers of cereal, ice cream and similar items will be eliminated and replaced with single-serving products.
- Hand-sanitizing stations will be available throughout the dining hall.
- All transactions for the Redhawk Café will be electronic and completed by the patrons using an app or a self-service kiosk. SAGE will provide sanitizing options for the patrons at the kiosks. No cash will be accepted.
- Social distancing is required as guests wait in line.
- Catering offerings will be limited. There will be no self-serve, and all items will be pre-packaged.
La Roche recognizes the need for students to remain engaged and involved in their college experience while maintaining social distancing guidelines and the need to keep students safe.
Using a combination of virtual and in-person events will provide a meaningful co-curricular experience for students. Social distancing will be required, and the University will host as many events as possible outside in large spaces. Events may have stations where small groups stay together.
Decisions regarding specific activities will be made by individual divisions, departments and offices with the approval of the divisional vice president, who will be responsible for ensuring all state requirements and federal guidelines are followed.
Due to restrictions on the size of gatherings as outlined by Governor Wolf, the CDC and the Allegheny County Health Department, commencement exercises scheduled for this coming October have been cancelled. The Graduates Awards Lunch also has been cancelled. Award winners, including the recipients of the President’s Award for Scholarship and Leadership, will be notified on an individual basis.
Provided that limits to gathering sizes are lifted by next spring, graduates will be invited to walk at the May 2021 commencement. Please notify the office of the Registrar by April 1, 2021 so that we can make the appropriate seating accommodations for you and your family. Regardless of the year in which you participate, we will identify you as a December 2019, May 2020, or August 2020 graduate in the printed commencement book and as you cross the stage.
We continue to look for other opportunities to celebrate, including a special reception at a future homecoming event.
La Roche has prepared a virtual convocation ceremony
for the Class of 2024. The virtual event also features an invocation, a candle lighting ceremony, and remarks by University leadership, including a message from Sister Candace Introcaso, CDP, Ph.D., president of La Roche.
Student leaders have expressed excitement about continuing their organizations in the fall. Student leaders will participate in virtual trainings to help them recruit new members and keep them engaged. Student groups will still be able to reserve space, but spaces may be limited and will have to go through a cleaning process before and after events.
Mission and Ministry will resume in-person programs, community service activities and liturgies in the fall. All programming will be in small groups and will be limited by size of space and transportation.
The Providence World Café inside Wright Library will be open for coffee service and conversation with social distancing.
ATHLETICS (updated 8/11)
While it is not possible to eliminate all risk of furthering the spread of COVID-19, La Roche University Athletics will take necessary precautions and comply with guidelines from: the federal, state, and local governments; the CDC; Pennsylvania Department of Health; and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. This will enable us to reduce the risks to students, coaches and their families. The goal is to keep transmission as low as possible and to safely resume athletic activities.
La Roche Athletics will follow the CDC’s recommended recovery strategy for athletes who have symptoms related to COVID-19.
After several months of careful deliberation, and with three member institutions (Hilbert College, the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford and the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg) making the decision to postpone all fall sports, the Presidents’ Council of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference voted to take the following actions at its July 31 meeting:
- Postponed conference competition in the following sports to the spring semester (not before Jan. 1): men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country, and men’s and women’s basketball.
- Postponed a decision until Sept. 15 on the AMCC bowling round robin scheduled for November (alternative competition dates tentatively scheduled for February).
- Approved the creation of working groups for each of the above-named sports to address schedule revisions, competition and event management health and safety protocols, and rules modifications (as needed).
- Agreed to permit each member to conduct a nontraditional season for spring sports during the fall season per institutional discretion. Those sports include baseball, softball and men’s volleyball. No other changes were made to conference spring sports schedules at this time.
- Agreed that, beyond agreed-upon conference competition, each member Institution is permitted to utilize the 114-day playing season window approved by Division III in 2020-21 as is appropriate for their institution, within the boundaries of NCAA rules.
The Presidents’ Council will continue to evaluate plans for return to conference play in January over the course of the fall semester. Future actions regarding revisions to this plan will be informed by science and established guidelines from governments and governing bodies.
- All athletic facilities will operate within Allegheny County Health Department guidelines.
- Kerr Fitness & Sports Center hours will be limited to Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a rotating administrative working schedule. It will be closed on weekends.
- All students, employees and visitors must be screened prior to entering the Kerr Fitness & Sports Center. Screening stations will be located in the Zappala Campus Center.
- The building and athletic fields will be locked at 6 p.m.
- Each administrative shift will have specific cleaning and sanitation protocols.
- Each team will designate three individuals (must include a coach) to be the COVID Team Unit to ensure cleaning before and after practice.
- All non-student athlete activities must be scheduled within the operating hours of the facilities.
- One entrance only will be available at the Fitness Center. Signage and stanchions will be in place to separate doors.
- The weight room will operate under an online sign-up format (similar to computer lab). It will be staffed by an employee and closed weekends and holidays.
- Athletes must be cleared by their primary care physician. Information will be sent to all coaches from UPMC athletic trainers.
- Athletes must agree to self-quarantine from July 28 to Aug. 12, prior to coming to campus. Details to be provided by UPMC athletic trainers.
- Practice with other athletes can begin no earlier than Sept. 21.
- First week of all team practices will be limited to groups of 10 athletes and no contact.
- There will be no off-campus team activities other than pre-approved practices for tennis and golf.
- Team meetings will be conducted either virtually, or in a space large enough to allow for social distancing.
- Practices will be limited to 90 minutes.
- Outdoor sports cannot utilize indoor facilities; they will remain outdoors.
- First week: small groups of 10 only and no contact drills.
- Student athlete will be required to quarantine (See guidelines for Residential Housing). Student athlete also will be required to be tested.
- A positive test result will require student-athlete to remain in isolation until cleared by PCP.
- A positive individual test within a team during their playing season results in entire team being tested.
- Pre-approved destinations only
- Entire travel parties, including bus drivers, will be required to go through screening (temperature check and questions) prior to departures.
- Team travel meals or deliveries only when traveling. No in-house dining or stops.
- Bus travel will likely require one travel member per seat. No side-by-side seating.
- Entire rosters might not travel depending on size.
- If an individual is found to have a positive screening for COVID-19 before or during competition, that individual will be removed, and information will be shared with the opposing team.
RETURN TO WORK PROTOCOL
La Roche’s Return to Work Protocol is designed to protect our employees, students, visitors and the public with whom we interact. Our plans align with and support state and federal guidelines. As information on the COVID-19 virus, treatment and protection evolves, our plans will change in response to the information available.
Our Return-to-Work Protocol is founded upon the concept of institution-wide accountability. Everyone needs to follow the protocol to ensure that our campus remains as disease-free as possible. We will:
- Practice personal responsibility by ensuring that we adhere to posted guidelines and follow University directives.
- Notify the Pandemic Safety Officer of any known positive cases or when employees have gone home ill with COVID symptoms.
- Develop options for a measured, phased return-to-work plan based on local, state and federal guidelines.
- Consult guidelines and procedures from leading health experts, national professional organizations, as well as protocols from peer institutions.
• Communicate often and in advance, if possible, with students, faculty and staff.
• Allow divisions within the University the necessary latitude to modify processes in order to follow mandated guidelines.
In keeping with Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines to reduce social density, we plan to have no more than 50 percent of employees in any department or operation on campus at all times. Expansion of faculty and staff over time will be controlled and coordinated in conjunction with local and state guidelines to mitigate potential risks and limit exposure.
Vice presidents will determine on-campus staffing requirements, sequencing and rotation schedules, where appropriate. Each department will limit the number of personnel needed on campus at any one time to support campus operations.
The first wave of select employees is expected to return to campus in early August. Departments will bring not more than 50 percent of their workforce back to campus on any given day. Only employees deemed essential to support academic and extra-curricular activities should be scheduled to return to campus during this time period. A gradual approach to resuming increased activities also will be implemented following recommended state guidelines.
The balance of the workforce (excluding employees who have been authorized or directed to continue to work remotely to reduce density in-line with CDC guidelines) will be returned to campus as the situation permits. The move to full on-campus employment may occur when a vaccine has been developed and/or with state and federal permission.
The above can be changed by additional information on the COVID-19 virus, local/state/federal mandates, an increase in cases on campus, or directives from the County or State Departments of Health.
Departments are encouraged to be flexible and show a commitment to finding reasonable solutions to the challenges (child care, public transportation concerns, etc.) employees face. Options include: remote work, staggered shifts, staggered starting/stopping times and alternate days of work.
Vice Presidents, Associate Vice Presidents, Department Directors and Department Chairs will evaluate the work environment, and make the necessary changes and adjustments to ensure social distancing practices and lower density can be followed in shared offices or workspaces.
The CDC recommends that if remote work is feasible and appropriate that the remote arrangement continue until the institution is able to return to normal operations. The use of flexible work schedules, staggered work hours, and staggered arrival and departure times also should be considered as viable options to reduce on-campus density:
- Rotation of remote and in-person work: Create schedules that rotate employees working in person and working remotely in order to ensure offices are covered while also supporting social distancing and decreasing employee density within departments.
- Staggered scheduling: Stagger employees' arrival and departure times, so that not all employees arrive or depart at the same time. If possible, divide employees scheduled to work on campus and in person into two shifts, or two shifts with a slight overlap.
- Alternate break/lunch scheduling: Alternate work or lunch schedules to minimize the number of individuals working together, congregating in one area or gathering.
- Alter or limit congregating factors or spaces where the virus could be easily spread (i.e. discontinue the use of office coffee pots and drinking from water fountains, and alter breakroom setups to increase social distancing).
Employees will be responsible for routinely cleaning and disinfecting their personal space (podiums and touch screens, chairs, desks and cubicles) after each use.
- Supplies will be furnished by the University to sanitize personal spaces. Use only University-provided cleaning and disinfecting supplies, and follow all directions for proper use.
- Employees will wipe down high-touch areas within their personal space such as keyboards, work stations, desk/podium tops, touch screens, etc., both before and after use in shared classrooms or conference rooms, or any area where employees congregate or multiple employees share.
- Employees are encouraged to wipe down their individual offices or cubicle keyboards, desks, etc. at the conclusion of each day.
The University’s Facilities Management personnel are sanitizing and disinfecting all areas daily but are unavailable to do personal spaces after each use. It is important for the campus community to frequently disinfect and sanitize their work areas.
Employees who have symptoms (e.g., fever, cough or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor, contact their health care provider, and stay home; staff may be able to utilize sick leave or paid time off, if applicable. Employees who can effectively work remotely are permitted to work from home and use paid leave only for the days they are sick or unable to work.
Employees with confirmed cases of COVID-19 should follow CDC-recommended steps, and should not return to work until they meet the criteria to discontinue home isolation, in consultation with health care providers and state and local health departments. Staff may be able to utilize available paid leave time and/or other programs available as a result of COVID-19.
Employees who are well, but have a family member at home sick with a confirmed case of COVID-19, should notify their supervisor, follow CDC-recommended precautions, stay at home and may utilize applicable paid leave and/or programs noted above.
PROTOCOL FOR ALTERNATIVE WORK ARRANGEMENTS (AWA)
Not all positions provide the opportunity for a strategy other than traditional work arrangements; however, we are often required to seek alternative work processes and schedules where possible. La Roche is therefore instituting Alternative Work Arrangements (AWA) for those positions that can function under conditions other than the traditional work arrangements. An AWA provides a supervisor with the opportunity to revise a work schedule that facilitates the work on campus while providing the employee with the flexibility required by the employee’s situation or an external crisis.
- Compressed Work Week: Enables employees to work extended daily hours in order to take a portion of a day or a week off during the work week.
- Flexible Work Arrangement: Allows a work schedule for the employee other than the normal operating days/hours used by La Roche.
- Remote Work/Telecommuting: Allows for the performance of normal work duties at a location off campus, most often the employee’s home.
In evaluating benefits to the department/University, the following factors may be considered:
- The employee’s job duties and responsibilities normally should not require more than 50 percent of his or her time being spent in face-to-face interaction with other members of the University community or clients of the department's services. Jobs that require an employee’s physical presence on campus to perform effectively may not be suitable for remote work/telecommuting.
- The employee’s job duties and responsibilities should not require close supervision, and the employee should not be responsible for providing close supervision of another employee.
The responsible supervisor, with the employee(s), must complete this agreement and receive approval from both the Department Head and the Divisional Vice President, authorizing the alternative work arrangement before such arrangement can be instituted.
AWA Agreement Form (PDF)
Contact the Office of Human Resources at 412-536-1116 with questions.
Remote work/telecommuting is an assignment that may be made available to an employee; it is not an employee right or benefit but is an alternative work arrangement mutually agreed to, and in the best interests of, the University and the employee. This Agreement is in addition to the AWA Agreement and also is required to be submitted before approval to work remotely or telecommute is granted.
Remote Work/Telecommuting Approval Form (PDF)
Contact the Office of Human Resources at 412-536-1116 with questions.
The University may provide equipment, software, data and supplies for use during the employee’s AWA. Such provisions will be made based on the employee’s AWA and within the resource limitations of the department. All such items remain the property of the University and will be returned to the University should the agreement be terminated. Employees are required to provide their immediate supervisor with a list of equipment and/or supplies that they remove from campus.
Despite much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, La Roche University is certain in its commitment to the health and welfare of all students, faculty, staff and visitors. The precautions and scenarios outlined in this plan are designed to mitigate risks while maximizing safety.
As circumstances evolve, La Roche is prepared to face unique conditions with confidence and carefulness. Preparing for a broad range of scenarios ensures that quality instruction continues to take place—regardless of how it is delivered or where it occurs. Academic and student life will be different this coming year, but we will be flexible in our response to the challenges presented by the global pandemic.
With consideration and concern for the wellbeing of everyone we serve, we will move forward, together, with a renewed commitment to our mission and our students.