Dear Penn State Scranton,
As you are aware, Penn State University has announced a return to campus on August 24, the first day of classes, and Penn State Scranton is also preparing for your return on that date. If you are a first-year student, we look forward to welcoming you to our campus community.
We know many of you are looking forward to returning to work and class, and we are looking forward to seeing everyone return as well. However, we want to make sure that we are providing as safe an environment as possible, as the Covid-19 pandemic remains an ongoing challenge.
To that end, when you do return to campus, you will notice some changes and differences both in our classrooms and facilities, and what students, staff and faculty will be required to do.
For the past several months, our essential campus personnel have been at work on campus preparing for our new normal, and adding signage for required precautionary practices throughout the campus and a number of key measures to keep our community as safe as possible. This includes:
- Thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing all classrooms, offices, bathrooms and common areas.
- Blocking off desks and seating in classrooms, labs and other areas to ensure the CDC recommended six feet of social distancing between students needed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
- Closing common areas to prevent social gatherings (this includes the game room, Sherbine Lounge, group study areas in the library and tutoring enter in the SLC, business building lounge, etc.
- Installing camera’s and technology in classrooms and conference rooms to allow for streaming of classes for those unable to attend in person
- The addition of Plexi-glass partitions in customer service areas to minimize person-to-person exposure.
- Established distancing between teaching areas and student areas in classrooms (Students will be expected to not come within less than six feet of their instructor
- Special precautions (to be determined by each faculty member) for students who need to meet with faculty one-on-one.
- Requiring masks to be worn over the nose and mouth in all classes and public areas on campus.
- Masks will be provided to any individual entering a campus building or common area who may not have one.
- Hand sanitizing stations installed in all buildings and on all floors.
- Establishing singular points of ingress and egress for all buildings to reduce large groups and bottlenecks in these areas during high traffic times.
- Elimination of self-service food areas in The View Café (no salad bar, coffee station), only individually packaged foods and beverages will be available.
- There will be no large group gatherings or events of over 30 people – so student activities is working on alternative ways to hold various events and activities in a distant and safe manner, while other annual events will, unfortunately, have to be cancelled.
- Off-campus field trips and study abroad trips, as well as the alternative spring break service trip, will be cancelled.
As you can see, things will be different as we return to campus; however, as your chancellor, I want you to know that some things will not change.
Our commitment to providing you with a quality education and all the resources you need to attain your academic goals will still be of utmost importance to us, and you will still have access to all the resources of Penn State University.
We will also continue to work with our community partners to ensure that professional mentoring programs and internships will still take place; and of course, we will do our very best to also provide extra-curricular and social activities in an alternate format so that you can continue to build friendships and social connections.
Your safety and that of other students, faculty and staff can only be achieved if we all follow the required safety measures.
Fall 2020 will look and feel very different, but our commitment to you remains the same.