Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Campus and Community Announcements

Unvaccinated students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, as well as vaccinated students who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms, may not attend class and should instead remain in/return to their room or home. During regular business hours immediately contact Health Services at health@lycoming.edu and after business hours contact Public Safety at security@lycoming.edu or call (570) 321-4064.

  • Update on Campus COVID Health and Masking Protocols
    9/21/2021

    Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

    We are grateful that your collective commitment to social responsibility has allowed our campus community to remain healthy during the early weeks of this fall semester. At this time, however, we want to remind everyone that the protocol requiring universal masking in public indoor spaces remains in place.

    As was promised during our previous communications, the COVID Response Group and the administration have reviewed our public health metrics to determine whether masking requirements can be reduced for fully vaccinated persons. Unfortunately, the transmission rate in Lycoming County is considered high. With almost 500 positive cases during the past seven days, the situation in the County poses a risk to the campus. For this reason, it is very important that the College continue with its layered approach including encouraging vaccinations, conducting surveillance testing, and universal indoor masking.

    Despite the high transmission in the County, it remains safe for us to gather outdoors without masking and to come together indoors as long as we mask and remain physically distant.

    During the next few weeks, Student Life staff and Public Safety officers will be circulating in classroom buildings to remind students and others to wear masks properly. We ask that you comply with their requests and encourage others to recommit to wearing masks in all public indoor spaces.

    We will continue to monitor both campus and County metrics. We are hopeful that if on-campus cases and positivity rates remain low, we will be well positioned to make some modifications in protocols for vaccinated persons when County transmission rates recede. In the meantime, we remain grateful for your cooperation and commitment to following College protocols.

    Best,

    President Trachte

    Dean Miller

  • COVID-19 Update
    8/31/2021

    Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

    As the fall semester officially begins, I want to share some important information about where to locate the Fall 2021 protocols for mitigating transmission of COVID-19 as well the College’s plans for updating the campus regarding the health of the community.

    The web address below is both the starting point and a comprehensive resource for all COVID-19 related information, guidance, and protocols. All updates and changes to our protocols and policies will be documented and maintained on the COVID-19 pages on the College’s website.

    https://www.lycoming.edu/covid-19/

    In addition, the College will again maintain a COVID-19 dashboard, which will become operative on Monday, September 6. In consultation with the COVID Response/Advisory Committee, the dashboard has been redesigned with new metrics that succinctly convey the health and wellness of the community. Those metrics include current active cases, the positivity rate from tests administered on the preceding Friday, and rate of vaccination for both students and faculty/staff. It will also include a link to Lycoming County’s level of transmission as measured by the recently published CDC scale. This dashboard will be found at:

    https://www.lycoming.edu/covid-19/dashboard/

    Finally, we will also continue to maintain the COVID-19 response form. To share thoughts, ask questions or make comments related to COVID-19, please use the COVID Comments form.

    Almost all students have now returned to campus, and I am pleased to share that we are off to healthy beginning to the semester. 81 percent of students have provided evidence of being vaccinated, and only 1 student tested positive from among the roughly 200 students who were required to test (that student is isolating at home). In addition, unvaccinated members of fall sports teams have been testing 3 times per week since their arrival and there have been 0 positives. Finally, 82 percent of our fulltime faculty and staff have submitted verification forms during the past several days.

    While the campus metrics are encouraging, recent case counts in Lycoming County are concerning. According to the CDC, transmission in Lycoming County is “high” with 248 positives from Monday, August 23 to Sunday, August 29 (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view). Accordingly, the COVID Response/Advisory Group has asked that I remind community members of the importance of wearing masks indoors when off-campus, especially when physical distancing is not occurring and the vaccination status of those around you is unknown.

    I remain optimistic that we can enjoy a robust fall experience while also keeping the community healthy. Among other things, this will require that we mask in indoor public spaces and plan to gather outdoors.

    I look forward to seeing you around campus.

    Sincerely,
    President Trachte

  • Message to Students - Student Life Protocols 8.20.21
    8/20/2021

    Dear Lycoming College Students,

    During recent weeks, we have written regularly to provide an update on changes to campus protocols for the 2021 fall semester that have been prompted by the spread of the very contagious Delta variant and changes in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Faculty and staff have spent many hours developing plans that are informed by the CDC, the evolving science about COVID-19, and lessons learned from 2020-21. The plans provide the foundation for completing another semester of residential education with in-person classes, but we must all commit to following them.

    In this message, we ask that join us in focusing on a successful beginning to the semester.

    • If you have not already done so, please consult with your family physician, about getting vaccinated.
    • Commit to universal masking whether you are fully vaccinated or not.
    • Fulfill the requirement that you get tested every Friday if you are not fully vaccinated.
    • When possible, choose to gather outdoors where the risk of transmission is very low.
    • Be vigilant about maintaining physical distance, including avoiding crowds where physical distance cannot be maintained.
    • Practice good hygiene.
    • Pledge to follow the Lycoming College Commitment to Social Responsibility.

    The complete protocols for academic and social life can be found by clicking on the following link.

    A successful beginning to the semester could put the community in a position where some protocols, especially for vaccinated people, can be relaxed. The COVID Response Group has devised metrics that will be analyzed after two weeks of classes, and regularly throughout the semester, to determine whether changes can be made without compromising the health of the community. Given current CDC guidance, the metrics include the following:

    • Transmission in Lycoming County is “low” or “moderate”
    • The vaccination rate for Lycoming College students and faculty/staff is high
    • Total active cases among students, faculty and staff is low
    • The percent of positives among tests administered on the most recent Friday is low

    We have the opportunity to enjoy a fall semester that is filled with many more activities than were possible last year. As was the case last year, we will hold in-person classes. Outdoor campus events such as the Involvement Fair have been planned. Clubs and organizations can meet in person by following protocols and considering outdoors as an option. Concerts, plays and athletic contests can be held by following the protocols for those activities. Friendships can be formed and renewed. Good memories of a residential collegiate experience can be created.

    In 2020-21, we trusted our students to do the right thing, and they showed that Lycoming Warriors could do something that many doubted was possible — complete an academic year in residence during a pandemic. We are confident that our community can again rise to the challenge and that you will lead the way.

    Do not hesitate to write with questions. We look forward to seeing you around campus this fall.

    Best regards,

    President Trachte

    Dean Miller

  • COVID-19 Protocols Update for Students 8.11.21
    8/11/2021

    Dear Lycoming College Students,

    We write again this week to provide important information about Fall 2021 COVID-19 protocols regarding procedures to be followed when students become infected as well as opportunities to become vaccinated.

    Thank you to those of you who have submitted information regarding your vaccination status and the required forms. Please remember that all students are required either to submit verification of being fully vaccinated or sign the declination form. Students who are in the process of becoming fully vaccinated should submit evidence that the process has begun.

    You may also be interested to know that the College is partnering with UPMC to offer on-campus vaccine clinics on Thursday, September 2 and Thursday, September 23. Both the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be offered.

    The College has also made the decision to approach isolation and quarantine differently than last year. It is important that you plan for these changes and share them with your parents and family.

    1. Students testing positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed to attend classes and will be expected to complete the isolation period at home.

      1. A limited number of isolation rooms will be available on campus. Exceptions will be made for students whose home residence is more than 250 miles (Google Maps) from campus. Dean Miller will review cases of other students who have concerns about isolating at home.
    2. CDC guidance regarding quarantining is different for vaccinated and unvaccinated persons, and the College intends to follow this guidance.

      1. Fully vaccinated students who are identified as a close contact but remain asymptomatic will not be required to quarantine. They will be required to wear a face covering until the student tests negative three to five days after the exposure.
      2. Unvaccinated students who are identified as a close contact will not be allowed to attend classes and will be expected to quarantine at home. A student may return to campus seven days after exposure by submitting evidence of a negative test. In the absence of a negative test, a student may return to campus after ten days if they are symptom free.
      3. A limited number of quarantine rooms will be available on campus. Exceptions will be made for students whose home residence is more than 250 miles (Google Maps) from campus. Dean Miller will review cases of other students who have concerns about quarantining at home.

      Several factors have influenced the changes in isolation and quarantining protocols. First, off-campus options are not available. Second, there are a limited number of rooms available on campus. Third, during the spring semester, many students chose to return home to isolate and/or quarantine.

    3. The College will not guarantee that students in isolation or quarantine will be provided with remote access to class. Rather, the College will follow regular procedures that apply to students with an extended medical circumstance. The student will be expected to contact the faculty members teaching the courses in which the student is enrolled to make arrangements to make up missed work. The faculty members will have discretion to determine the arrangements.

      This practice has been changed because both students and faculty expressed the view that in many cases, providing remote access to the classroom had a negative impact on the quality of classroom learning.

    Finally, we would like to remind you that the College will begin the semester with a universal masking requirement in public indoor settings, including classrooms, and that you should bring a supply of masks to campus. In this regard, you should know that Lycoming County has now joined the many counties across the country where virus transmission is considered substantial or high. As a consequence, all campus constituents were required to begin masking in public indoor settings effective Monday, August 9, 2021.

    As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or concerns.

    Sincerely,

    President Trachte

    Dean Miller

  • Important - Fall 2021 Arrival Information
    8/6/2021

    Dear Lycoming College Students,

    I hope this message finds you well and looking forward to the fall 2021 semester.

    I am writing today to share arrival information for students arriving on Thursday, August 26, Saturday, August 28 and Sunday August 29. Early arriving students (athletic teams, student staff, RAs, LSA and FSL) will receive information and directions from their respective coach, supervisor, or advisor. Students are not permitted to arrive to campus outside of regularly scheduled arrival dates and times unless approved as an “early arrival” or arriving to campus on the College shuttle.

    All students – returning and new, arriving on 8/26, 8/28 and 8/29 – are to go directly to the Academic Center parking lot (see map below) to begin the check-in process in front of Pennington Lounge. The check-in process will include review of vaccination documentation, billing, and College ID. Students who have not submitted evidence of vaccination will be required to undergo an antigen screening test before being allowed to continue with the check-in process. Students who have an outstanding balance will be referred to the Bursar and Financial Aid. Students who have yet to have had their ID picture taken will do so during the check-in process. All outstanding matters e.g., billing, testing and ID picture will be completed in the Academic Center.

    • Incoming Student Arrival – August 26: Pennsylvania Residents, 9am to 10:30am; all other states, 10:30am to Noon; Commuter & Transfer, 1p-2p.
    • Upper Class Student Arrival – August 28 & 29: All states, 9am to 4pm

    Upon being cleared and checked-in, residential students will be given their residence hall key and can proceed to their residence hall. There are no limits as to how many family members may assist in helping a student move-in to their residence hall. Students, family members and guests are required to follow Lycoming’s COVID protocols while on campus e.g., wearing of a face covering while indoors.

    Commuter students must also complete the check-in process as described above in order to attend classes.

    Important Notes:

    • Students who are required to undergo an antigen test and who test positive will be asked to leave campus and return after the appropriate isolation period.
    • In the event, you or a family or guest accompanying you to campus has a cough, shortness of breath and/or a fever, do not come to campus. Students exhibiting any of these symptoms are to stay at home and notify Health Services who will advise the students on next steps which may include a delay start to classes.
    • As from the beginning of the pandemic, the College continues to monitor and review guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control to determined how the guidance should be integrated into our COVID-19 protocols for the fall semester. The emergence of the Delta variant is a reminder that we must be fluid in our planning and preparation for the fall semester. Therefore, as warranted protocols may be revised and the campus community will be updated as soon as practical.

    Arrival Map:

    Arrival Map

    If you should have questions in regard to your arrival, please do not hesitate to ask.

    We look forward to welcoming you to campus.

    Best,
    Dean Miller

  • Important Updates to COVID-19 Protocols for the Fall Semester
    8/5/2021

    Dear Students,

    Last week, we wrote to inform you that the College was convening a COVID Response/Advisory Group to review the most recent guidance from the CDC and the spread of the Delta variant. That group met on Monday, August 2, and made some initial decisions regarding the College’s COVID protocols for the fall semester. Over the next couple of weeks, additional meetings of the group could produce other important decisions, but we wanted to communicate in a timely way two important measures for which you should plan.

    The following protocols will be in place as we begin the fall semester.

    • All members of the community will be expected to wear masks indoors in public settings. This protocol means that everyone will begin the semester wearing masks during class. While more detail will be provided, you should be prepared with a supply of masks.
      • Under current CDC guidance, this policy could be modified later in the semester to allow fully vaccinated persons the option of not wearing a mask in public indoor settings. We will develop metrics that incorporate the percentage that is vaccinated with the college community and rates of virus transmission on campus.
      • In addition to classrooms, public indoor spaces where masks will be required include common areas of residence halls, Wertz Student Center, Keiper Recreation Center among others.
    • All students will be required to check in upon arrival to campus. A COVID antigen test will be administered at the time of arrival. Students who submit evidence of vaccination or a diagnosed COVID infection during the past 90 days will be exempted from the test.
      • Dean Miller will communicate more specifics about the arrival process shortly.

    The College has decided to adopt these two protocols because they make it more likely that we can begin the semester feeling confident that we have a healthy campus. We are concerned that the COVID situation in the United States has worsened during the past few weeks, and that the Delta variant is spreading more rapidly, particularly in regions with low vaccination rates. We also recognize that students will be arriving from many different states and regions. Finally, we have seen an uptick in cases in Lycoming County during the past few days.

    We appreciate your patience and understanding as the College continues to take action to deliver upon our commitment to provide you with an education where you are in residence and attending in-person classes.

    Additional communications will follow but please write to us if you have questions.

    Sincerely,

    President Trachte

    Dean Miller

  • Message From President Trachte, 7/29/21
    7/29/2021

    Dear Members of the Lycoming College Community,

    I write to let you know that the College is reviewing the most recent guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and has begun to study how it should be integrated into our COVID-19 protocols that will be in place for the fall semester. I am convening a faculty and administration COVID-19 Response Advisory Group early next week to address this question, and updated protocols will be available as soon as practical.

    In the interim, employees and students currently on campus should know that that recent CDC guidance states that vaccinated persons, as well as unvaccinated persons, should wear masks indoors in areas or counties of “high” or “substantial” transmission. Given that Lycoming County is currently an area of “moderate transmission,” the recent CDC guidance does not necessitate any immediate changes in campus protocols. It is important, however that our community be prepared for the contingency of increased rates of transmission either on campus and in the County, and this contingency planning will be a focus of the COVID Response Advisory Group.

    President Trachte

  • Mobile Vaccine Clinic, May 5
    5/4/2021

    Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

    I am writing to let you know that Dean Miller has made arrangements for the local health system, UPMC, to hold a mobile vaccine clinic on campus Wednesday May 5 from 9am until noon in the Academic Center parking lot. No pre-registration is required as it will be a “walk-up” clinic. The vaccine offered will be the single shot Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine.

    For the latest CDC information about the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, see www.cdc.gov/media/releases….

    Best regards,

    President Trachte

  • An Important Message Regarding Vaccines
    4/27/2021

    Dear Lycoming Students:

    I am writing to provide an update about opportunities for a COVID vaccine available to you in Williamsport. In fact, the Pennsylvania Department of Health recently recommended that college students get their first dose of a COVID vaccine in the community in which their college is located and make arrangements for the second dose at home or wherever you will be living.

    Pennsylvania Department of Health — Vaccination of College Students

    Despite the guidance from the state, the College’s repeated attempts to arrange a vaccine clinic on campus have been unsuccessful. There are several sites in Williamsport, however, that will provide Lycoming students with either first or second doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. The most promising of these options is River Valley Health and Dental. They have informed Dean Miller that they are very willing to offer a first dose to students knowing the student may be getting the second dose at a different location. Other vaccine sites in Williamsport can be located at Williamsport PA Vaccine Locations.

    It is also anticipated that some vaccine sites will resume administering the one dose of the J&J vaccine, which the FDA has cleared with the warning that in rare cases blood clotting may occur. We will share that information as it becomes available.

    If you live within driving distance of Williamsport, local vaccine sites will likely schedule a second dose of Moderna or Pfizer at the time you receive your first dose. For those who will not be in Williamsport, we have been told that you can use your vaccine card to schedule a second dose at another site close to home or wherever you will be living three or four weeks from the time of the first dose.

    The College will continue its efforts to bring a vaccine provider to campus, but I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunities referenced above.

    As we enter the final days of classes and finals week, it is very important that you all avoid situations that present a risk of infection. In particular, I strongly discourage you from attending the “Rolling Rock” event at the Cell Block.

    Best,

    President Trachte

  • Spring 2021 - Residential COVID Move-out Protocols
    4/27/2021

    Dear Residential Students,

    As we approach the end of the semester, I want to take the opportunity to acknowledge your commitment to your residential community and provide you with information on our spring semester COVID move-out protocols.

    It has been a long and trying academic year. It hasn’t been perfect but as I have said, you have shown resolve in maintaining a commitment to being in residence with face to face instruction. We have a few days of classes and then finals! With Rolling Rock scheduled for this weekend, I want to reiterate, to our seniors and other students of age to consider your choices that elevate your risk of becoming infected with COVID or a close contact that would prevent you from attending Commencement or being in isolation or quarantine during finals. To all students adhere to COVID protocols particularly when inside – Stop the Clusters!

    As for move-out, the following COVID protocols are in place:

    • No more than two family or friends (off campus) are permitted assist a student in moving out;
    • Family and friends assisting with move-out must wear a face covering and maintain physical distance;
    • Family and friends are allowed in the residence halls and are to temperature screen upon entering residential spaces;
    • Roommates, suitemates, and apartment-mates are encouraged to coordinate their departures with one another so as to avoid congestion in a particular residential space.

    If you should have questions, please feel free to write to your respective Residential Life Coordinator (first-year and independent Living – Tabitha Giacalone or upper-class – Elissa Donovan), reslife@lycoming.edu, Dean Hummel hummelk@lycoming.edu or me.

    To our seniors, congratulations! To our returning students, I’m hopeful you have a relaxing and rejuvenating summer and I look forward to seeing you in the fall.

    Best,

    Dean Miller

  • COVID Update 4-11-21
    4/11/2021

    Dear Lycoming College Community:

    I write to provide an update with regard to COVID cases among students and employees. After again analyzing the patterns of infection and the results of contact tracing, the COVID leadership team has determined that we will continue with in-person classes during the coming week.

    The overall situation is slightly better than a week ago, Sunday, April 4.

    • The 13 current active student cases and 1 active employee case are fewer than the 19 cases shown on the dashboard for April 4.
    • It is concerning, however, that there were 6 positive results among the 352 tests administered on Friday, April 9.
    • As has been the case recently, the positive results can be traced to a probable off-campus exposure followed by limited spread among a friendship or social group.

    It is very important that we work together as a community to reduce the number of active cases on campus. Commencement for the Class of 2020 is planned for May 15—only one month from now. The seniors are counting on all of us to exercise responsibility so that they can be joined by members of their families and celebrate graduation.

    We will continue with asymptomatic testing of student athletes, music and theatre performance groups, and student teachers; and Friday will again include random testing. Please remember, however, that testing is not a substitute for wearing a face covering, practicing physical distancing, avoiding indoor social gatherings, and engaging in good hygiene.

    Regards,

    President Trachte

  • COVID-19 Update
    4/7/2021

    Dear Lycoming College Community,

    Prior to the recent holiday weekend, I sent a message concerning the number of COVID infections from March 24 to April 1; and I understand that some members of the campus community have been anticipating an update.

    Recent Cases

    On Monday, the COVID Response Group reported a positive test from over the weekend that was traced to an off-campus exposure to the virus. Not yet reported are five total additional positive tests from Monday (3) and Wednesday (2). As of Wednesday evening, there were 15 active cases among students and 1 active case among employees.

    The administrative team and I have carefully reviewed contact tracing reports and transmission patterns. We reached conclusions very similar to what we have known most of the semester:

    • Exposure continues to take place at off campus locations where others are unmasked.
    • Transmission among students continues to take place when students gather inside in small friendship groups and are unmasked.
    • There continues to be no evidence of transmission in classrooms, during athletic practices or contests, music rehearsals or performances or theatre rehearsals.

    While there is no evidence of transmission during athletic practice or contests, the NCAA mandated testing protocols have resulted in a number of student athletes testing positive in recent weeks. In addition, out of an abundance of caution, when a member of a team tests positive, that team pauses its practices; and several contests have also been postponed or cancelled.

    As was reported in my most recent message, several hundred students will participate in asymptomatic testing on Friday, April 9. The COVID leadership team and I will analyze those results and determine if additional measures are required to contain COVID transmission.

    In the meantime, the most effective ways to protect ourselves and others from COVID remain masking, distancing, avoiding indoor social gatherings, and practicing good hygiene.

    Vaccinations for Students

    There is good news to share about vaccines. First, the PA state government has clarified that vaccine access will be available to all or most of our students and is not limited to Pennsylvania residents. Second, we are increasingly optimistic about the possibility of hosting a vaccination clinic for students on campus. Dean Miller will communicate more information no later than the middle of next week.

    Regards,

    President Trachte

  • Announcement Concerning Resumption of In-Person Classes and Group Activities
    2/23/2021

    Dear Lycoming College Community,

    I am writing to let you know that we will be resuming in-person classes on Thursday at 7:40 a.m. Beginning Friday, February 26, we will also begin random testing of about 200 students each week. Additional details about the random testing will be forthcoming in a message from Vice Provost Ross.

    Group activities will also resume over the weekend. The dining hall, however, will not be opened for in-person dining immediately; additional information will be sent over the weekend.

    The decision to resume in-person classes is based upon consultation with faculty who understand the science of the COVID-19 virus, analysis of the results of contact tracing, and listening to many different voices. Contact tracing of the 9 cases identified on Sunday is now complete, and the data supports the conclusion that transmission has been confined to limited social or friend groups and has been mitigated by isolating and quarantining those who were impacted. Moreover, the past few days have reminded us that most faculty and students find remote or online teaching and learning to be less effective and less satisfying than in-person classes. In addition, consultation with faculty, students, staff and trustee leadership indicates that there is broad consensus that we should return to in-person classes and masked group activities. We all must, however, be willing to learn lessons and change behaviors so that we can preserve the opportunity to attend in-person classes and engage in group activities.

    Extensive contact tracing has been completed for each of the positive test results that have taken place since the resumption of in-person classes. There is no evidence from any of these cases that transmission has occurred in classrooms or during the circulation that takes place going to and from class. This finding confirms that the changes to our classrooms that were made at the beginning of the year, which were based upon guidelines rooted in science, are effective.

    A typical pattern has emerged, however, that we want to share. Initial exposure within a social or friend group occurred in an off campus setting where masking and physical distancing was not being practiced consistently, e.g., public transportation, bars, restaurants, and some retail establishments. Members of the group then typically interacted through activities such as eating meals or watching television together, often unmasked and not physically distanced; and these gatherings produced clusters of cases. The findings reinforce lessons about how to stay healthy that we already know: avoid places where unmasked people gather, wear face coverings, and maintain physical distance.

    Given the number of cases since the end of the repopulation period, we are introducing random testing as another tool to mitigate spread and the risk of transmission. Like the many other measures that the College has introduced since August, the addition of the random testing is rooted in scientific data. However, random testing cannot be our primary tool for maintaining a healthy environment. Any testing plan only complements and does not replace the other public health measures that we all must practice. Again, you will receive details about how the testing will work from Vice Provost Ross.

    We recognize that some members of the community will not feel comfortable with resuming in-person classes and masked group activities.

    • If you are a student, you have already been advised by me and Dean Meyer to contact academicservices@lycoming.edu to learn about how the College has adjusted access to remote learning.
    • Faculty should contact the Office of the Provost and staff are directed to the Office of Human Resources.

    Finally, I want to thank everyone for their patience during this period of remote classes and restricted circulation. I believe that it has provided the time and information needed to develop a consensus in support of returning to in-person classes and safe group activities.

    Regards,

    President Trachte

  • Message Concerning the Resumption of In-Person Classes and Group Activities
    2/22/2021

    Dear Lycoming College Community,

    Remote classes and the cessation of group activities will be extended until at least Thursday, February 25. This extension will provide time to analyze the transmission patterns associated with the 9 positive cases from yesterday. We will also use today and tomorrow to hear from faculty, staff and students and consult with experts.

    The following are opportunities for providing feedback:

    • Student Senate meeting this evening Monday
    • FEC open session this afternoon Monday
    • You can write directly to Provost Sprunger, Dean Miller or me

    While formal classes remain remote, it may be possible for Academic facilities to be used over the next couple days for non-group activities. Faculty should contact the Office of the Provost with such proposals, and students should contact Dean Miller’s office if they have Student Life questions about what will be allowed during this remote period.

    You can anticipate an additional communication from me tomorrow evening.

    Again, thank you for your patience and cooperation.

    Regards, President Trachte

  • February 19 COVID-19 Update
    2/19/2021

    Dear Lycoming College Community,

    I write to you with an update and a plan to determine whether it is time to resume in-person classes. Faculty leaders and I would like to resume in-person classes on Tuesday, February 23, but we need to know if there has been any significant additional spread prior to making that decision.

    Isolation vs Quarantine

    Before providing an update, I’d like to remind everyone that a person is placed in “isolation” either when the person presents with symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive. This is different than a person in “quarantine;” this term is used when someone has been exposed to COVID-19 or has been identified as a close contact but has not tested positive and does not even have symptoms. As recommended by the CDC, someone goes into quarantine to reduce the risk that this person could spread the virus unknowingly. Numbers listed on the dashboard as in quarantine do not represent positive cases.

    Safety of Classrooms

    During the summer, the College adopted multiple measures to create healthy classrooms that were recommended by the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. They include the wearing of face coverings, moving desks to create six feet of distance between students, the use of hand sanitizer and disinfectants, installation of higher quality air filters, and changes in pedagogy. These measures have been working as no cases of COVID-19 infections have been traced to classrooms.

    We did not move to remote classes because of a concern that the classrooms were unsafe. Rather, we went to remote classes to reduce the circulation around campus and the associated possibilities of transmission.

    Update

    Since Tuesday, the administration has continued to monitor closely symptomatic students and those who may have been exposed. The number of recorded cases is as follows:

    • Five persons who went to Health Services with symptoms on Monday, February 15 have now tested positive; they have been in isolation since Monday and their close contacts have been quarantined since that time.
    • Two persons who have been in quarantine since February 12 have also tested positive; and
    • One person who reported symptoms on Wednesday, February 17 tested positive; eleven persons with whom that person had close contact were placed in quarantine on Wednesday; and one of them has tested positive.

    Universal Student Antigen Testing on Sunday, February 21

    While the number of cases per day is down from the three days preceding the move to remote classes, the College has determined, in consultation with experts, that we should conduct another round of antigen testing of the entire student body. That testing will take place on this Sunday, February 21; and the results will inform a decision about the timing of resuming in-person classes.

    Instructions for February 21 Testing

    Swabbing will again take place in the Keiper Recreation Center, but some changes have been introduced to eliminate the need to stand in line and wait.

    Please sign up for a testing appointment at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040548A8AF2CA1FA7-221.

    • In the interest of safety, you will NOT wait in the testing center for your results.
    • You will simply check-in, complete your test swab, and then return to your residential hall, or home for commuter students.
    • As we did with the spring repopulation process, those students who test negative will receive a text message indicating that they are clear to attend in-person classes.
    • Students who test positive will receive a phone call with support and instructions for transitioning to isolation.
    • Students who do not complete the testing process on Sunday will not be able to attend classes.

    All students will need to complete testing on Sunday, February 21 with the exception of:

    • students who were in quarantine or isolation on or after Friday, February 12 or remain in quarantine (please proceed with your individual testing protocols);
    • students who have already undergone testing Friday, February 19 or Saturday, February 20 as part of their program-based semester surveillance testing or quarantine release; and
    • students who have tested positive since arriving to campus beginning on January 10.

    Further information about the testing program will be sent to you by Vice Provost Ross and you will also receive a text message reminding you to sign up for an appointment time.

    Contact Tracing

    Contact tracing will be conducted on Sunday and Monday for any positive cases that are identified from the universal testing on Sunday. That information will also inform the decision on next steps.

    Requests to Transition to Remote Education

    Students who think they might want to transition to remote education for the remainder of the semester should contact academicservices@lycoming.edu to initiate such requests. Decisions will be made in the context of existing policy, current campus climate, and consultation with Counseling Services.

    Communications

    You can expect to receive a communication on the afternoon of Monday, February 22, sharing the results of the antigen testing and outlining next steps toward the resumption of in-person classes.

    Concluding Thoughts

    It remains important for all of us to wear our masks, covering nose and mouth when in the presence of others, maintain six feet of distance when possible (or limit time within six feet to fewer than 15 minutes over 24 hours), and avoid gathering in groups.

    I appreciate the commitment that we are making to following these protocols and remain optimistic that we can resume the in-person residential education that we all prefer.

    Best,
    President Trachte

  • Announcement Concerning Remote Classes and Related Matters
    2/15/2021

    Dear Lycoming College Students:

    After consultation with Faculty leaders, the administration has decided that all classes will meet remotely for the remainder of the current week: Feb 16 to February 19.

    • Remote classes begin effective Tuesday morning.
    • Your faculty members will contact you with more specific information regarding each of your courses.
    • Computer labs, the Academic Resource Center, the library, and related facilities will be physically closed, but virtual services will be available as they were during the repopulation period.
    • Students involved in off-campus experiential learning (e.g. student teachers and interns) should transition to remote, if possible. Again, your faculty member will contact you.

    Below is some additional information regarding campus services and facilities during the remainder of the week:

    INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SERVICES SUPPORT

    • Students who need a short-term loaner laptop or iPad during this period should submit a service ticket at servicedesk.lycoming.edu, by calling 570-321-4150, or by emailing servicedesk@lycoming.edu.
    • Each student will be required to electronically sign an Information Technology Loan Agreement. The Service Ticket will then be updated with a locker # and pin where you will retrieve your equipment. Lockers are located in Pennington Lounge.
    • All devices must be returned to ITS by Monday, February 22 at 4:00 PM.
    • If you require any other assistance from Information Technology before February 22, please contact the IT Service Center at 570-321-4150 or servicedesk@lycoming.edu. All IT Services support will be conducted remotely until in-person classes resume on February 22. Only if necessary, will we make arrangements for a secure drop off outside of Snowden Library.

    CAMPUS FACILITIES

    • Many campus facilities will be closed to student use through Sunday February 21. These facilities include but are not limited to Snowden Library, Keiper Recreation Center, computer labs, and study rooms. An follow-up communication will be sent later in the week with information as to when facilities will open. Public Safety will be open as usual 24/7 to assist and respond as needed.

    You can think of the remainder of this week as being a return to the “repopulation protocols” and an opportunity to reset as a community. Finally, I want to thank you for your patience as the administration, the Faculty and I have processed information and made difficult decisions.

    Sincerely,

    President Trachte

  • Update on COVID Situation on Campus
    2/15/2021

    Dear Lycoming College Community:

    Based upon information that has come to the administration’s attention during the course of the day, including additional symptomatic persons and positive tests, as well as consultation with various constituencies, the administration has now decided, to implement the following steps effective now through Sunday, February 21.

    CLASSES

    • Additional information about classes will be forthcoming this evening.

    ALL IN-PERSON GROUP ACTIVITIES, INCLUDING ATHLETICS, ARE PAUSED THROUGH SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 21

    • During the coming week, we will gather information to determine those activities that can be safely resumed.
    • Virtual group activities are permitted.

    DINING SERVICES

    • Effective at dinner, February 15 to February 22 meals will be take out only from the from the Wertz Dining Hall. We will resume repopulation Residence Halls pairings and assigned dining times. If there is schedule conflict e.g., class or testing with your assigned meal pickup time, contact your RLC.

    RESIDENCE HALLS

    • Movement in the residence hall should be limited. Face coverings must be worn in the residence halls at all times when you are outside your room. Face coverings may be removed while you are in your room, and you are able to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from your roommate e.g., sleeping in a bed or at a desk that is six feet from your roommates bed or desk.
    • Student access to the residence halls should be limited to your assigned residence hall. To avoid incidental close contact, lounges, and kitchens will be closed. Laundry rooms will remain open.
    • Getting outdoors for a walk around campus beyond meals is encouraged and permitted. When outdoors with others and unable to keep 6 feet apart all persons are expected to wear a face covering. If walking alone it is not necessary to wear your face covering but you should have one handy at all times. Travel off campus is strongly discouraged.
    • Resident Assistants (RAs) will be on their floor to assist with needs, address questions or refer issues or concerns to the appropriate offices or individuals. . Residential Life Coordinators will be available to support, assist and respond to individuals, floors and building needs.
    • Visitors (family and friends) are not allowed in the residence halls until further notice

    MAIL SERVICES

    • There will be no mail-delivery from February 16 through February 19. A follow-up communication will be sent later in the week in regard to resumption of mail services.

    President Trachte

  • Message About a New Cluster of COVID Infections
    2/13/2021

    Dear Members of the Lycoming College Community:

    I write to share the concerning fact that 8 students tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday and are in isolation. You should also know that the College used both surveillance testing and intensive contact tracing to identify the infected persons as well as students who needed to quarantine, and that 31 students were placed in quarantine yesterday. I also want all community members to know that additional steps are under consideration, including a decision that the whole community needed to “shelter-in-place” and/or that all classes would be remote for a period of time.

    Contact tracing has determined that all the infected students either attended the same social event where some people were unmasked or have been in close contact with someone that has tested positive and attended the event. In addition, contact tracing and surveillance testing will continue for several days to confirm that all the persons in attendance and their close contacts have been identified, quarantined and tested.

    The administration will continue to monitor this situation closely. As needed, additional contact tracing and targeted surveillance testing will be employed. Information gathered through this monitoring will be used to determine whether there is evidence of additional spread connected to the event.

    Finally, you can expect another communication from me prior to the beginning of classes on Monday. In the meantime, this cluster of cases and the behaviors that caused it are very troubling. They should serve as a clear warning about the risks associated with violating COVID protocols, especially holding social gatherings. It reminds us that it is imperative that we all abide by the College’s pandemic protocols if we want to continue with in-person classes and a residential experience.

    President Trachte

  • Thoughts on the Beginning of the Spring Semester
    2/8/2021

    Dear Lycoming College Students:

    As we begin the second week of in-person classes, I write to thank you for your participation in the Spring Repopulation screening tests for COVID-19 as well as to provide some perspective on the outcomes of the testing program and the first week of the semester.

    As I wrote over the winter break, the College created the reentry testing program because of the high positivity rates and increased numbers of infections that we saw across the country during the winter break. This national situation meant that it was much more likely than in the fall that some students might unknowingly be returning to campus with a COVID-19 infection. It was also more likely that those individuals might not be manifesting symptoms.

    The intent of the College’s plan then was to identify, isolate and provide care for students who might test positive, even without being symptomatic. Through this means, we sought to reduce the risk of an outbreak early in the semester triggered by contact with asymptomatic persons.

    As the dashboard indicates,

    • 29 individuals have tested positive since January 10.
      • This number includes 27 students and 2 employees.

    Among the student positives,

    • 18 were detected during repopulation testing;
    • 7 emerged from ongoing testing and monitoring of athletic teams;
    • and 2 students tested positive subsequent to reentry testing.

    The 18 positive results from re-entry testing translate into 1.5 percent of the student body, which is what was expected. In fact, the College had anticipated that 2 percent of the student body would test positive during repopulation, and we had made arrangements to isolate as many as 45 students and quarantine as many as 90 students.

    Some of the students who tested positive during reentry testing did not develop symptoms after their positive tests, and others have exhibited symptoms. As scientists have been reporting, it is fairly common that someone can have a COVID infection and not have symptoms. Fortunately, everyone is recovering.

    Assuming that we do not have a significant number of positive tests during the coming week, the number of students in isolation and quarantine will begin to resemble the fall semester. Currently,

    • 16 students are in isolation because of a positive test result;
      • during the coming week, 14 students of the isolated students will be cleared to return to their residences and in-person classes.
    • 15 additional students are in quarantine;
      • during the coming 13 of those students will be cleared to return to their residences and in-person classes.

    Other than athletics and a small number of other programs, the College will now return to practice of testing only symptomatic students. We will not be doing surveillance testing unless we have an outbreak and determine a need to monitor whether we are successfully containing the outbreak.

    Many of you have likely heard that a number of student-athletes tested positive last week; and some of you may be worried about what that means for your health and well-being. As the messages from the COVID Response Group have indicated, we are comfortable that the risk of transmission has been contained. The College conducted extensive contact tracing and concluded:

    • the infections likely occurred during the week of January 25 when the athletes were housed at the Little League complex;

    In addition,

    • subsequent daily tests were negative;
    • and, as appropriate, team members were isolated, quarantined or attended class remotely.

    I want you to know that I feel comfortable with where we are as a community. I am also grateful to each of you for participating in the testing program. I continue to be inspired by your willingness to sacrifice to keep our community healthy.

    Finally, I know that you have heard the following message many times, but please indulge me in saying that it will be essential, however, that all of us recommit to the idea of social responsibility that allowed us to complete the fall semester in residence.

    • Wear face coverings when in public inside or outside (unless you are alone outside);
    • Practice physical distancing;
    • Practice good hygiene;
    • Avoid gathering in groups, especially indoors (where the risk of transmission is much higher than outdoors);
    • Avoid off-campus indoor settings where adherence to public health protocols, especially masking, is not practiced.

    See you around campus,

    President Trachte

  • Residential Student Spring Repopulation Protocols
    1/17/2021

    Dear Residential Student,

    As President Trachte recently shared in his email to you on Monday, January 11, the Lycoming community lived and learned together in a spirit of social responsibility that nurtured a culture of compliance. As a result, we remained a healthy community and operated in a way consistent with our mission as a residential college. Our ability to remain on campus with in-person instruction was in large part due to your commitment to protect yourself, protect others and protect our community. As a community, we will again be asked to put community ahead of self and continue to commit to wearing a face covering, physical distancing and hand hygiene.

    We have been busy over the winter break preparing for your arrival for the spring semester. I am writing to provide additional information on aspects of the Spring Repopulation Arrival plan that President Trachte outlined to help you prepare for your return to campus. Next week, I will write again with more detail on the arrival sequence to campus and the antigen testing process.

    The links below include the following:

    Residential Remote Classes – Jan. 27, 28, and 29

    During our antigen testing period, ALL classes scheduled for January 27, 28, and 29 will be conducted remotely. You should plan to attend classes from your residential hall room, and instructions about accessing courses will be included in the video series that you will watch while awaiting your first antigen test results in the Keiper Recreation Facility. You may also receive individual course information from one or more of your faculty members.

    Information Technology Services Support

    Students who need a short-term loaner laptop or iPad for remote learning on January 27, 28, and 29 should submit a service ticket at servicedesk.lycoming.edu, by calling 570-321-4150, or by emailing servicedesk@lycoming.edu. All requests will be guaranteed if made by Monday, January 25.

    Each student will be required to electronically sign an Information Technology Loan Agreement. The Service Ticket will then be updated with a locker # and pin where you will retrieve your equipment. Lockers are located in Pennington Lounge.

    All devices must be returned to ITS by Monday, February 1 at 4:00 PM.

    If you require any other assistance from Information Technology before February 1st, please contact the IT Service Center at 570-321-4150 orservicedesk@lycoming.edu. All IT Services support will be conducted remotely until in-person classes resume on February 1st. Only if necessary, will we make arrangements for a secure drop off outside of Snowden Library.

    Campus Facilities

    Many campus facilities will be closed to student use during the arrival testing period – January 24 through 31. These facilities include but are not limited to Snowden Library, Keiper Recreation Center, computer labs, and study rooms. The facilities will open to student use on January 31 at 6pm. The Keiper Recreation courts will remained closed until Feb 2. Public Safety will be open as usual 24/7 to assist and respond as needed.

    Residence Halls

    During the testing period, movement in the residence hall should be limited. The aim of limiting movement in the residence halls is two-fold: to avoid contact upon arrival with others that might trigger an outbreak and to prevent you from being a close contact of a person who is experiencing COVID like symptoms or may be asymptomatic. Face coverings must be worn in the residence halls at all times when you are outside your room. Face coverings may be removed while you are in your room, and you are able to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from your roommate e.g., sleeping in a bed or at a desk that is six feet from your roommates bed or desk.

    Student access to the residence halls during the testing period will be solely to your assigned residence hall. To avoid incidental close contact, lounges, kitchens, and laundry rooms will be closed. These rooms will be open on January 31 at 6pm.

    Getting outdoors for a walk around campus beyond meals and testing is encouraged. When outdoors with others and unable to keep 6 feet apart all persons are expected to wear a face covering. If walking alone it is not necessary to wear your face covering but you should have one handy at all times. Given the elevated rates of infection in Lycoming County at this time, travel off campus is strongly discouraged. With this mind, you should plan accordingly for items you may need from the time you arrive to January through February 1 e.g., toiletries, snacks, etc.

    Resident Assistants (RAs) will be on their floor to assist with needs, address questions or refer issues or concerns to the appropriate offices or individuals. . Residential Life Coordinators will be available to support, assist and respond to individuals, floors and building needs.

    Visitors (family and friends) are not allowed in the residence halls during the testing period. If you need assistance in moving into your residence hall, please contact Residential Life reslife@lycoming.edu not later than two days in advance of your arrival date.

    Student Involvement, Campus Recreation and Outdoor Leadership and Education have planned virtual activities for the arrival testing period. Promotional and registration information for these activities will be sent during the arrival testing period.

    Mail Services

    Mail Services during the arrival testing period will be contactless delivery to your residence hall room. Mail delivery to residence halls will be from Tuesday, Jan. 26 through Friday, Jan. 29 and will only include textbooks and first class mail. Hours of mail delivery will be between 2:00p – 4:00p. You are strongly encouraged to be in your residence hall room at this to ensure timely delivery of your textbooks and first class mail. Staff working with Mail Services will knock on your door and announce MAIL DELIVERY. Upon hearing a response, they will leave your textbooks and first class mail outside your door.

    Please note that during the testing period all other packages will be held in mail services until Feb. 1, at which time regular mail services with self-pick-up in Wertz will begin. Packages that are not textbooks or first class mail and arrive between Jan 24 through Jan 30 will be available for pick up on Feb 1 or thereafter.

    Dining Services

    Meals from January 24 to January 31 will be take out only from the from the Wertz Dining Hall. Residence Halls have been paired based on the occupancy of the buildings and each pairing has been assigned a specific time to pick up breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are 5 residence hall pairings and 5 time periods for meal pick up. Next week, we will be posting to the College’s website – Living and Learning during COVID 19 – the residence hall pairings and the assigned meal pickup times for each pairing. If there is schedule conflict e.g., class or testing with your assigned meal pickup time, contact your RLC.

    I expect that you will have questions. I invite you to write directly to me or the appropriate office or individual with your questions. Again, more information will follow next week on the arrival sequence to camps and the antigen testing process.

    Best,
    Dean Miller

  • Commuter Student Spring Repopulation Protocols
    1/17/2021

    Dear Commuter Student,

    As President Trachte recently shared in his email to you on Monday, January 11, the Lycoming community lived and learned together in a spirit of social responsibility that nurtured a culture of compliance. As a result, we remained a healthy community and operated in a way consistent with our mission as a residential college. Our ability to remain on campus with in-person instruction was in large part due to your commitment to protect yourself, protect others and protect our community. As a community, we will again be asked to put community ahead of self and continue to commit to wearing a face covering, physical distancing and hand hygiene. 

    We have been busy over the winter break preparing for the spring semester. I am writing to provide additional information on aspects of the Spring Repopulation Arrival plan that President Trachte outlined to help you prepare for your return to classes. Next week, I will write again with more detail on the arrival sequence to campus for the antigen testing process.  

    The following link is a demonstration of the arrival process and antigen testing by President Trachte - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VeJ6n5th68&feature=youtu.be

    Residential Remote Classes – Jan. 27, 28, and 29

    During our antigen testing period, ALL classes scheduled for January 27, 28, and 29 will be conducted remotely. You should plan to attend classes from home, and instructions about accessing courses will be included in the video series that you will watch while awaiting your first antigen test results in the Keiper Recreation Facility. You may also receive individual course information from one or more of your faculty members.

    Information Technology Services Support

    Students who need a short-term loaner laptop or iPad for remote learning on January 27, 28, and 29 may submit a service ticket at servicedesk.lycoming.edu by calling 570-321-4150, or by emailing servicedesk@lycoming.edu. All requests will be guaranteed if made by Monday, January 25.

    Each student will be required to electronically sign an Information Technology Loan Agreement. The Service Ticket will then be updated with a locker # and pin where you will retrieve your equipment. Lockers are located in Pennington Lounge.

    All devices must be returned to ITS by Monday, February 1 at 4:00 PM. 

    If you require any other assistance from Information Technology before February 1st, please contact the IT Service Center at 570-321-4150 orservicedesk@lycoming.edu. All IT Services support will be conducted remotely until in-person classes resume on February 1st. Only if necessary, will we make arrangements for a secure drop off outside of Snowden Library.

    Campus Facilities

    Many campus facilities will be closed to student use during the arrival testing period – January 24 through 31. These facilities include but are not limited to Snowden Library, Keiper Recreation Center, computer labs, and study rooms. The facilities will open to student use on January 31 at 6pm. The Keiper Recreation courts will remained closed until Feb 2. Public Safety will be open as usual 24/7 to assist and respond as needed.

    Residence Halls

    During the testing period, access to residence halls will be limited to residential students.

    Movement In The Community

    Given the elevated rates of infection in Lycoming County at this time non-essential activity at indoor locations is strongly discouraged. Please be mindful while both at home and in the community to follow Lycoming College protocols that include wearing of a face covering, physical distancing, and hand hygiene.

    Campus Programming

    Student Involvement, Campus Recreation and Outdoor Leadership and Education have planned virtual activities for the arrival testing period. Promotional and registration information for these activities will be sent during the arrival testing period.

    Dining Services

    Retail dining services – Café 1812, Jack’s Corner & Gateway Café – will be closed during the arrival testing period to student use. Additionally, access to Wertz Dining during this time will be limited to residential students. Dining services will resume full operations on Monday February 1.

    I expect that you will have questions. I invite you to write directly to me or the appropriate office or individual with your questions. Again, more information to follow next week on the arrival sequence to camps and the antigen testing process.

    Best,
    Dean Miller

  • Message to Students Spring 2021 Regarding Repopulation
    1/11/2021

    Dear Students,

    Whether you have been home during the break, on campus or elsewhere, I trust that you have enjoyed the down time and have seen family and/or friends while also remaining healthy. On campus, many faculty and staff have been working diligently to prepare for your return to campus in late January. In this letter, I will provide an overview of the spring semester repopulation protocols as well as explain the reasoning that went into the decisions.

    As we all know, the national situation is very different than it was at the beginning of the Fall semester. The United States is experiencing the highest daily levels of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Lycoming County has also been experiencing significantly higher rates of community transmission than when you were here in the fall. While these factors are worrisome, it is also the case that epidemiologists and health care providers understand much more about how the COVID-19 virus is transmitted, what measures work in containing spread, and how to treat persons who become infected. The Lycoming spring protocols for repopulating the campus are informed by both the reality of the current phase of the pandemic and the advice of infectious disease experts.

    While the Spring Repopulation Protocols introduce the use of asymptomatic testing as the campus is repopulated, it is very important to recognize that this step is complementary to and not a replacement for the wearing of face coverings, physical distancing, good hygiene and limiting the size of gatherings—both inside and outside. Until most of the campus population has been vaccinated, it will be necessary that we continue with all the behaviors that allowed us to complete the fall semester in residence.

    The Spring Repopulation Schedule: An Overview

    From the time that students begin arriving on campus until in-person classes begin on February 1, Spring Repopulation Protocols will be in effect. The most important parts of this protocol include the following:

    • In-person classes will begin on February 1, which means that most classes will begin with one or two remote meetings
    • A Spring Repopulation Testing Plan
    • Take-out only food service
    • Few restrictions on movement outdoors
    • Restrictions on gathering indoors

    Resumption of In-Person Teaching

    The College’s plan for the spring semester is the same as the fall; almost all classes will be taught in-person. After a three-day period of remote meetings that allow for the testing program to be completed, we will resume the in-person instruction that you experienced during the fall.

    Spring Repopulation Protocols: Testing

    When you return later this month, all students will be required to participate in a testing program that involves three COVID-19 point-of-care antigen tests taken over a seven-day period. The purpose of this testing is to reduce the possibility of an early outbreak that would disrupt our shared commitment to completing another semester of residential in-person education. Dean Miller and other staff will communicate more specifics about how the testing program will operate, but I want to provide an overview and share more about the purpose of the testing.

    This testing program will help identify any students who may be unknowingly returning to campus with a COVID-19 infection. Experts have advised us that more than one test is required to achieve sufficient confidence that we can reasonably expect to reduce the risk of an early outbreak. Students who test positive will be referred to the Health Center for further evaluation by a UPMC physician and will go into isolation housing on campus. We have set aside what is expected to be an ample number of beds.

    You should also know that this test does not require the kind of deep penetration into the nostrils about which you may have heard is part of some testing procedures. For the tests that we are utilizing, the swab only needs to be inserted far enough so that the tip is no longer visible. You will be given the option of doing the swab yourself under the supervision of a health professional or having the health professional perform the collection of the sample. Moreover, results from each round of test should be available to you within no more than one hour. More details about testing and notification of results will follow shortly as well as a link to an online video illustrating the process.

    Spring Repopulation Protocols: Movement Around Campus

    Epidemiologists have now concluded that the risk of COVID transmission outdoors is much less than indoors. Following this science, we will all need to avoid indoor gatherings during the Spring Repopulation Period. More specifically, until February 1, the period of the Spring Repopulation Protocols, buildings, lounges, laundry rooms, and other spaces for indoor gatherings will be closed.

    Movement outdoors (walking, running, getting fresh air, chatting in physically distanced small groups, etc.) will be encouraged. Given the more elevated numbers of infections in Lycoming County, we will, however, strongly discourage you from going to any off-campus indoor locations during the Spring Repopulation Period.

    Food Service During the Spring Repopulation Period

    Consistent with the importance of limiting indoor gatherings until all students have been tested, food service will be take-out only until February 1. Again, we think this step is an important one until testing has been completed, and we ask for your patience and cooperation with this step.

    Final Thoughts

    During the fall semester, the Lycoming community lived and learned together in a spirit of social responsibility that nurtured a culture of compliance. As a result, we remained a healthy community and operated in a way consistent with our mission as a residential college. With your help in executing the spring plan, I am very optimistic that we can have a similar experience in the spring.

    I look forward to seeing you on campus.

    President Trachte

  • Message Regarding Class of 2021 Commencement
    1/6/2021

    Dear Class of 2021,

    I hope that you are enjoying the holiday season and finding time to catch up safely with family and friends. Again, I am grateful to you for the leadership that you exercised as seniors in creating a culture of social responsibility that allowed all of us to complete the fall semester successfully.

    I write today to provide an update on planning for your Commencement. At present, we remain optimistic about holding Commencement on May 15 on the Fultz Quad. We are hopeful that the pandemic’s winter surge will end, and cases will decline by May, especially as larger segments of the population receive a vaccine.

    The possibilities for your Commencement ceremony will be very much impacted by the COVID- 19 guidelines that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has in place. In this letter, I want to share with you some of the scenarios that the College staff has been exploring. As we get closer to May, we plan to engage members of the class to hear your input.

    On January 4, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania allowed a set of very stringent guidelines to expire. They would have made it impossible to hold an event resembling a typical Commencement ceremony because indoor gatherings were limited to 10 persons and outdoor gatherings to 50 persons.

    Another Order, however, remains in place; and it requires travelers entering Pennsylvania from other countries and states, as well as Pennsylvanians who are returning home from other countries or states, have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth or quarantine for 10 days upon entry into Pennsylvania.

    Following Pennsylvania’s current guidelines, we anticipate that we could hold one Commencement ceremony outdoors following public health protocols such as wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distance. Unfortunately, we would likely be required to limit the number of guests (e.g. 2 persons) that each member of the senior class could invite to attend in person. In addition, any guests coming from out-of-state would need to present evidence of a negative COVID test. Under this scenario, the College would invest in a high-quality livestream so that other family and friends could enjoy it virtually.

    While we will continue to monitor state and local guidance, we ask that you begin talking about the possibility that guests will be limited with your family while you are home for the winter break.

    Please know that the College will make every effort to make your Commencement ceremony as “normal” as possible while also considering the health and well-being of everyone in attendance. I invite your thoughts and comments and look forward to engaging the Class of 2021 as we continue to plan your Commencement.

    Best wishes for the new year.

    President Trachte

  • Message Regarding Class of 2020 Commencement
    1/6/2021

    Dear Class of 2020 and Families,

    I hope that you are enjoying the holiday season and are able to catch up safely with family and friends. I trust that your time since completing your degree is going well, even in these challenging times. I have every confidence that your degree and experiences at Lycoming will serve you well throughout your career.

    I write today to provide an update on planning for your Commencement. At present, we remain optimistic about holding Commencement on Saturday, May 22, on the Fultz Quad. We are hopeful that the pandemic’s winter surge will end, and cases will decline by May, especially as larger segments of the population receive a vaccine.

    The possibilities for your Commencement ceremony will be very much impacted by the COVID-19 guidelines that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has in place. In this letter, I want to share with you some of the scenarios that the College staff has been exploring. As we get closer to May, we plan to engage members of the class to hear your input.

    On January 4, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania allowed a set of very stringent guidelines to expire. They would have made it impossible to hold an event resembling a typical Commencement ceremony because indoor gatherings were limited to 10 persons and outdoor gatherings to 50 persons.

    Another Order, however, remains in place; and it requires travelers entering Pennsylvania from other countries and states, as well as Pennsylvanians who are returning home from other countries or states, have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth or quarantine for 10 days upon entry into Pennsylvania.

    Following Pennsylvania’s current guidelines, we anticipate that we could hold one Commencement ceremony outdoors following public health protocols such as wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distance. Unfortunately, we would likely be required to limit the number of guests (e.g. 2 persons) that each member of the senior class could invite to attend in person. In addition, any guests coming from out-of-state would need to present evidence of a negative COVID test. Under this scenario, the College would invest in a high-quality livestream so that other family and friends could enjoy it virtually.

    While we will continue to monitor state and local guidance, we ask that you begin talking with friends and family about the possibility that the number of guests will be limited.

    Please know that the College will make every effort to make your Commencement ceremony as “normal” as possible while also considering the health and well-being of everyone in attendance. As always, I invite your thoughts and comments and look forward to the opportunity to welcome you back to campus this spring for a well-deserved commencement celebration.

    Best wishes for the new year.

    President Trachte

  • Message Regarding Pennsylvania’s Travel Order
    11/20/2020

    Dear Parents of Lycoming College Student:

    You may be aware that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania issued a travel order this week that applies even to visitors from contiguous states. I am writing to let you that state officials have informed us that parents coming from out-of-state to pick up their college students are exempted from this order. You are not required either to quarantine for 14 days or be tested for COVID-19 prior to entering Pennsylvania.

    State officials did request, however, that we ask you to limit the number of persons in the car to one person (ideally) or no more than two. They have also requested that you not dine in a restaurant or spend time off the college campus during your trip. They encourage you to use take-out or drive-through options if you plan to eat during your time in Pennsylvania.

    Once you arrive at the College, we ask that you wear face coverings and practice physical distancing. Also out of respect for the health of other students, we ask that you not enter the residence halls.

    Finally, I want to share with you that I am both very proud and incredibly grateful to your students. They have done a wonderful job adhering to College protocols and have respected one another. Consequently, we have had only 8 positive student tests during the entire semester (and all have recovered). Moreover, as I write to you on this beautiful Friday afternoon, there are no active student cases.

    Despite the healthy nature of our community, I would encourage you to take precautions during the first week that the students are home.

    My best wishes for the holidays, and I look forward to welcoming your students back to campus at the end of January.

    Best regards,

    President Trachte

  • Repopulation of Campus for Spring Semester
    11/17/2020

    Dear Lycoming Students,

    I am writing to inform you that all students should plan to arrive for the spring semester on a staggered schedule on January 23, 24, and 25. This announcement means that no student will be expected or required to return to campus to complete a pre-semester quarantine. Rather, we are exploring other ways to create a return to campus that mitigates the risk of transmission, including the possibility of a few days of remote classes after arriving on campus and/or the use of antigen tests to screen for COVID-19 infections.

    You should know, however, that the College is committed to the idea of a residential spring semester with in-person instruction.

    The College’s decision to adopt a different repopulation model is informed by the fact that the current national situation means that a pre-semester quarantine off-campus is not practical. Nearly every state is currently on Pennsylvania’s travel quarantine list, and many counties in the Commonwealth also have high positivity rates. We remain confident, however, that we can develop an approach that identifies and isolates infected persons so that we can then return to the public health protocols that have served our community so well this fall semester.

    Dean Miller will shortly be in touch with more details about the plan, which will certainly evolve over the next two months. Our goal is that the Office of Residential Life will send your specific arrival date and time frame no later than December 18. As was the case in the fall, we trust that you will make every effort to accommodate your assigned date; but there will be a process for requesting a different time.

    Students whose personal circumstances may require an earlier return to campus should contact Dean Miller to make arrangements at millerda@lycoming.edu.

    I wish you a relaxing and safe winter break and encourage you to continue practicing the public health protocols that have kept our community healthy throughout the fall semester.

    Best,

    President Trachte

  • Message Regarding Non-essential Travel
    11/14/2020

    Dear Students:

    Because of your commitment to staying healthy and respecting others, we at Lycoming College have reached the final full week of classes with only one active COVID-19 case among our community members. Moreover, while more than a hundred students have spent time isolating and quarantining, only eight students and five staff have tested positive since the beginning of the semester.

    Infections, however, are rising rapidly across the nation including in Pennsylvania and Lycoming County. In fact Lycoming County has recorded its five highest daily counts during the past seven days. Accordingly, we are writing to advise you to avoid non-essential trips off-campus. Choosing to stay on campus at this time is an additional step that you can take to protect yourself from protection and stay healthy for the trip home that many of you will soon make. In the event that you do go off-campus, please adhere strictly to wearing your face covering, maintaining physical distance, and using hand sanitizer.

    In addition, we want to let you know that during the next week you will receive both texts and emails asking that you completing the Daily Symptom and Exposure Screening. This approach has been adopted because we learned earlier this week that a few students were not receiving the daily text message. While we work quickly to correct this issue, we think it is prudent to send both messages for the next week or so. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the IT Service Center for support.

    Finally, on behalf of the faculty and staff, we want to again thank you for your efforts to keep our community healthy and wish you a great final week of classes.

    Stay strong and be well,

    President Trachte and Dean Miller

  • Announcement of change in the Spring 2021 Academic Calendar
    10/2/2020

    Dear Lycoming College Students,

    We are writing to let you know that the academic calendar for the 2021 spring semester will be changed such that the first day of classes will be January 27, 2021 rather than January 18, and that the last day of classes is now May 4 rather than April 30. After one reading day (a day without classes to study for final exams), final exams will begin on May 6 and end May 11. The dates for Baccalaureate and Commencement are unchanged, with Baccalaureate scheduled on Friday, May 14 and Commencement on Saturday, May 15. Finally, Spring Break has been eliminated, although we will enjoy a mid-semester break day on March 24. Classes will also now be in session on Good Friday, April 2. Please review the calendar below.

    Following proper governance, both the Faculty Executive Council and the General Committee on Academic Affairs have reviewed and expressed their concurrence with this revised calendar, and the President and the Administrative Cabinet have approved.

    This adjustment to the academic calendar recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic will almost certainly be ongoing during the first half of 2021. For that reason, we anticipate continuing many of the measures that have allowed Lycoming College to limit the number of COVID-19 cases among our population during the first half of the fall semester. Having adequate time to repopulate the campus safely is one of those measures, and a later start will make that possible. Avoiding a lengthy mid-semester break when members of the campus community might travel to higher risk areas is also important and it is the reason for eliminating Spring Break. Finally, the longer winter break will allow all community members more time to recuperate from the stresses associated with the very different type of residential education that we all have experienced in the Fall.

    We recognize that community members will have additional questions, including whether a pre-semester quarantine will be necessary, the details of repopulating campus, and the dates of events such as Scholars Day and Honors Convocation. You can anticipate receiving additional information during the next few weeks.

    Finally, we want to take this opportunity to thank students, faculty and staff for your efforts to comply with our protocols and help keep our campus population healthy.

    Dr. Kent Trachte
    President

    Dr. Phil Sprunger
    Provost

    Event Dates
    First Day of Classes Wednesday, January 27
    Mid-Semester Break Day Wednesday, March 24
    Last Day of Classes Tuesday, May 4
    Reading Day Wednesday, May 5
    Final Exams Thursday, May 6 – Friday, May 7 and Sunday evening May 9 – Tuesday, May 11
    Final Grades Due Friday, May 14 at noon
    Baccalaureate Friday, May 14
    Commencement Class of 2021 Saturday, May 15
  • Class of 2020 Commencement Update, 8/24/20
    8/24/2020

    Dear Members of the Class of 2020,

    We are writing to share the disappointing news that we are unable to hold a Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 this fall on the campus’s Fultz Quadrangle. We have weighed the pros and cons of going forward with the October commencement date, holding a more elaborate virtual ceremony, or having a May commencement. After careful consideration, along with input from other members of the Class of 2020, the class officers and administration feel the best way to have a celebration that represents the Class of 2020 is to hold commencement in May. We have decided instead to plan for a traditional ceremony on the weekend of May 15-16, 2021. We would hold two separate Commencement ceremonies that weekend — one for the Class of 2020 and a second one for the Class of 2021.

    This decision was difficult to make because we know that the Class of 2020 has already experienced multiple disappointments due to the pandemic. We do want to share the factors that entered into our decision. Most importantly, the State of Pennsylvania currently has in place a policy limiting the size of outdoor gatherings that would have precluded attendance by your families and friends — those people with whom you most want to celebrate. In addition, some members of the class would have been unable to attend because Pennsylvania also expects persons traveling internationally and from many other states to quarantine for 14 days. Finally, it simply seemed ill-advised to bring more than 2000 people to Williamsport at a time when infection rates in the United States have persisted at much higher levels than anticipated. We hope you understand why we felt that it was necessary to reschedule for May 2021.

    Please know that each of us as well as the trustees, faculty and staff remain committed to celebrating and recognizing the Class of 2020 at a time when it is safe to do so, and in a way that lives up to the highest of our shared expectations. We remain optimistic that the situation will improve by May and that we can share in the memories and traditions of Commencement for the Class of 2020.

    Should you have any questions, please contact Katie, Bryan, Ruric, Erin, or President Trachte.

    Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to being back in touch with updates and information.

    Katherine Arestad, President
    Bryan Manoo, Vice President
    Erin Emerick, Treasurer
    Ruric Bowman, Secretary
    President Trachte

  • Message Regarding Learning Options Available at Lycoming College Fall 2020
    7/30/2020

    Dear Lycoming College Community:

    In recent days, several individuals have inquired why Lycoming College is not offering a remote or online option for students during the fall semester. In addition, as some of you know, a petition on this subject has been started. I am writing now to clarify the College’s position regarding online and remote education.

    It is first important to understand that the terms “online” and “remote” are not synonyms. An online course is one where all aspects of instruction involve technology. Faculty construct syllabi, choose reading materials, homework assignments, testing instruments and configure daily learning taking into consideration that course delivery will be via technology. This type of course does not generally include any in-person instruction. It is typically taught either fully or significantly without expecting that all students and faculty engage at the same time.

    Lycoming College does not offer online courses. Most of our faculty are not trained in online teaching. Online education is not part of our mission and is not something for which we are accredited.

    In contrast to this online model of education, the College did conclude the 2020 Spring semester using remote interaction between faculty and students because it was necessitated by a state-mandated shutdown. The semester began with seven weeks of in-person residential classes. Students and faculty finished the semester with students able to complete their courses under a temporary policy expanding the conditions of the pass/fail grading option. Remote learning meant the adaptation of traditional teaching (course materials, assignments, testing and daily classwork) to learning from a distance using technology.

    I hope that this explanation helps in understanding the important differences between online and remote learning. Whereas online learning takes distance and technology as its point of departure, remote learning functions as a back-up for classic in-person instruction.

    Last spring’s experience reaffirmed for the Faculty, Trustees and me that more learning takes place when students are in residence. For that reason, the College has committed to the resumption of residential education this fall. We have worked very hard this summer to create a healthy environment by developing protocols designed to reduce the risk of transmission. We followed the guidance of the CDC and the PA Department of Education and consulted almost weekly with infectious disease experts. Our work has been informed by the science that now states that the transmission of COVID-19 can be controlled by following recommended practices, which include universal adoption of facemasks, socially distanced-class seating, frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces, and strong personal hygiene.

    As one element of our extensive planning for the fall semester, a committee of 11 faculty members from a wide array of disciplines and four Academic Affairs administrators identified strategies and training for our faculty should the College experience another state-mandated shutdown that would interrupt the fall semester. This faculty committee adopted the terminology remote-ready to describe their approach.

    The committee’s work has helped equip the faculty to plan for three possible fall scenarios:

    1. an uninterrupted on-campus student experience as posted on the revised 2020-21 Academic Calendar;
    2. a semester that begins with an on-campus student experience on August 20th and is interrupted at some point during the semester with the result that the College transitions to a full remote experience; and
    3. a semester that begins on August 20th with a full remote experience and remains remote for the full duration of the semester.

    It is important to note that each of these scenarios requires different teaching techniques and course planning that cannot simultaneously be offered at one time. In creating remote-ready courses, the faculty will be able to successfully pivot to remote options, but they are preparing primarily for a semester of in-person instruction.

    In addition, all faculty members were given the option to teach up to one-third of their course(s) using remote strategies. In response a large majority chose to continue with plans for a fully in-person model. These individual decisions by each faculty member collectively affirm our identity and commitment as a residential institution of higher learning.

    In a few courses, students will find that faculty are utilizing a hybrid course model involving in-person and remote components. The plans for these courses have been reviewed by the academic leadership of the College and a committee of faculty. This process was put in place to ensure that the College maintains its commitment to high-quality education.

    As part of our risk reduction strategies for a healthy campus environment, classrooms have been equipped with remote-ready access that will allow for temporary participation by students and faculty. We have taken this step so that we can be responsive to individuals who may be temporarily unable to attend class. This temporary access is also a very different situation than semester-long remote attendance.

    The petition being circulated via social media notes that remote learning is being offered to students who qualify for an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. That is correct. Congress extended the ADA during the pandemic to apply to individuals who have a health condition that places them at high risk of severe complications from a COVID-19 infection. As with all ADA accommodation requests, the College is following the relevant ADA law and making reasonable efforts to accommodate students and employees who have medically documented needs that meet the criteria defined by the ADA law.

    The College’s work to provide accommodations to qualifying students, however, is not relevant as part of an argument for offering remote participation to all students. By definition, accommodations available to a student who qualifies under ADA are not extended to all students. For example, students with learning differences are often accommodated with extended time for tests. Yet that accommodation is not granted to the other members of the course.

    Dean Meyer is working individually with students and faculty to identify course schedules that can support the full remote semester. Not all courses can support full-semester remote access, but the College has put in place a limited remote-ready capacity to provide reasonable ADA accommodations to the small number of faculty and students who qualify under the law.

    Finally, as students have contacted the College with concerns about returning to campus and asked about options, we have worked with them individually. In response to those requests, as the Registrar communicated this morning, we have now decided to waive for this semester a policy that normally limits the number of credits from online courses that can be transferred to Lycoming College. We have taken this step to offer a choice to those who are uncomfortable being part of in-person instruction. Returning students who wish to pursue this option should contact Dean Meyer. Entering first-year students should contact Dean Weymer.

    I hope that this communication clarifies Lycoming College’s decisions concerning instruction for the fall semester. I also invite you to review our detailed Return to Campus Plan located at: https://www.lycoming.edu/return-to-campus/.

    Sincerely,

    President Trachte

  • Message Regarding Planning for Resumption of Residential Education
    7/14/2020

    Dear Lycoming College Students:

    Members of the faculty and administration have spent many hours this summer planning for the resumption of residential education in the fall semester. The purpose of this work has been reimagining our residential campus so that we can resume in-person instruction in a manner that also prioritizes the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff. Our plan has incorporated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). We have also benefitted from the expertise of Infectious Disease Services at UPMC located in Williamsport.

    The attached document represents a summary of the Lycoming College Plan for the Resumption of Residential Education. Each item is informed by guidance from the CDC and the PDE. Within the next few days, a much more detailed version of the Plan will be posted to the College’s website, but the attached document should provide you a good overview of how we will conduct ourselves as a community during the fall semester.

    As you prepare for your return to campus, I think you should know that Lycoming County has continued to have low rates of infection. From the beginnings of the pandemic in March through July 10, there have been a total of only 225 confirmed cases. As of the same date, 5,569 persons had been tested—most because of symptoms or suspected exposure to COVID-19, and only 4% had tested positive.

    Despite this comparatively safe environment, it will be vitally important that we all approach this fall semester committed to engaging in socially responsible behaviors. Research has now confirmed that wearing face coverings, physically distancing and practicing good hygiene significantly reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Accordingly, the College will expect that all members of our campus community will commit to the Statement of Social Responsibility found on the final page of the attached document.

    This fall semester will require that we all adapt our normal behaviors in order to benefit from the highly impactful learning environment that is created when we gather together as a community. I remain confident that as Lycoming Warriors we are equal to the task, and I look forward to seeing all of you in late August.

    Best regards,

    President Trachte

    Attached: Lycoming College Plan For Resumption of Residential Education Summary — July 14, 2020

  • Message Regarding a Change in the Academic Calendar
    6/8/2020, 4:30 p.m.

    Dear Lycoming College Students:

    I trust that you and your families are looking forward to the summer months and the fall semester.

    A few weeks ago, I wrote to let you know that the College would be resuming residential education in the fall. I now want to share with you a significant adjustment in the 2020-21 academic calendar and ask that you begin planning accordingly. The changes have been adopted following the release of guidance from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania encouraging colleges to consider an earlier beginning to the semester. The idea behind this change is to reduce the risk that could be created by having large numbers of students leave campus and return. You should also know that the change in the academic calendar is one of many measures that the College is implementing to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and maintain a safe environment on campus.

    The new calendar is printed at the bottom of this page but I want to highlight several points.

    • The first day of classes has been changed to Thursday, August 20 (instead of August 31).
    • Classes or in-person instruction will end on Tuesday, November 24.
    • Long Weekend or fall break has been eliminated from the schedule.
    • Students will be able to complete final exams either at home or on campus. The Faculty has agreed that the College will not offer traditional in-classroom final exams during this fall semester.
    • Students will also have the option to remain on campus through the end of exams.
    • At this time, you should not make plans, including plane reservations, to go home for Thanksgiving and then return to campus for Reading Days and exams.

    The Class of 2024 will receive detailed information during the next couple weeks about the plans for your arrival on-campus, including Move-In. The process for returning students coming back to campus will also be different than in prior years. State guidelines recommend a phased repopulating of the campus and the use of screening measures. The specific schedule for returning to campus and related information will be communicated during the next couple weeks.

    The Department of Athletics will separately communicate its schedule for returning to campus and the process that will be used with student-athletes. We are awaiting additional guidance from the NCAA and the State of Pennsylvania, which will hopefully be available within the next several weeks.

    A complete adjusted fall academic calendar, including deadlines for policies such as dropping and adding courses, will be posted by the Registrar’s Office as a follow-up to this communication.

    We appreciate your patience and cooperation as the College continues to develop and finalize its protocols for a safe and responsible resumption of residential education.

    Best wishes,

    President Trachte

    Day Date Semester Activity
    Thursday August 20 Fall Classes Begin
    Friday October 16 Long Weekend Cancelled
    Tuesday November 24 Last Day of Classes – Last Day of Residential Experience
    Wednesday - Friday November 25 – 27 Thanksgiving Break
    Monday November 30 Reading Day
    Tuesday December 1 Reading Day
    Wednesday - Friday December 2 – 4 Administer Final Exams
    Monday - Tuesday December 7 – 8 Administer Final Exams, Continued
    Friday December 11 Final Fall Semester Grades Due
  • Message Regarding Resumption of Residential Education in Fall
    5/18/2020, 9:15 a.m.

    Dear Returning Students (and Parents),

    I hope that your family and you are well and that you have found ways to adapt successfully to the changed world in which we have all lived for the past two months. Now that the spring semester has come to an end, I wanted to share encouraging and positive news from a recent meeting of the Lycoming College Board of Trustees.

    Resumption of Residential Education in Fall 2020

    The Lycoming College Board of Trustees met recently and endorsed a recommendation to plan for the resumption of residential education in the fall in a way that is both safe and responsible. This decision was based upon several factors. First, Lycoming County never experienced a pandemic surge and has already moved into Pennsylvania’s “yellow” phase of reopening. Second, the College benefits from a close working relationship with the Williamsport-based regional center of UPMC—a truly world-class health system. Third, we believe that the nature of our curriculum and our small class sizes will make it easier to adapt to the safety and social distancing protocols that need to be put into place.

    Summer Planning

    I have established a task force on resuming residential education that will draw upon a broad array of resources to create a detailed plan. We will consider everything from how to repopulate campus to testing and tracing protocols, to ways of protecting those that have health conditions that leave them more vulnerable. We will work closely with UPMC and their infectious disease specialists. We will also monitor carefully changing guidelines from the federal, state and local governments. In short, we will work tirelessly to forge a fall experience filled with great learning opportunities in a safe environment.

    COVID-19 Emergency Financial Aid Fund

    Recognizing that many families face financial challenges caused by the pandemic and the economic shutdown, the Board of Trustees also made the decision to establish a Covid-19 Emergency Financial Aid Fund. We anticipate that a number of you and your families are concerned about whether you can afford to return to school. Where warranted, this new fund is intended to provide additional financial aid for 2020-21 and help students return to school. Therefore, if you have been financially impacted, we invite you to submit an appeal. You will hear shortly from financial aid about the process for taking this step.

    During the past two months, many of us have come to appreciate even more the privilege of being part of this community filled with meaningful relationships and a myriad of campus activities that enrich the curricular experience and create a truly dynamic and rich learning environment. We no longer take these things for granted, and we very much want to return to life as we knew it. While we know that some changes will be necessary, Lycoming College is committed to resuming residential education in the fall. We will be excited to welcome you back!

    Sincerely,
    Pres. Kent Trachte

  • Message from President Trachte Regarding Refunds/Credits/Grants
    4/21/2020, 1:30 p.m.

    Dear Lycoming College Students:

    I am aware and can understand that many of you and your parents have been anxiously waiting for the refunds/credits/grants that one of my previous communications had announced were forthcoming for most students. I am writing today to explain why you have not yet received them and to ask for your continued patience.

    I want to reassure you that, if you left campus prior to April 15, you will receive a refund/credit/grant to reimburse you for what you paid for food, housing and certain fees for the final weeks of the semester. The College still plans for the Business Office to notify you of the amount that you will receive and offer you the option of getting your money back or applying the amount as a credit to your account for next semester. Even students who have remained on campus will receive a refund for certain fees, though not food and housing.

    In addition, I want to explain more about why it is taking so long to execute the College’s commitment. While I provide more detail in the next few paragraphs, the bottom line is that we are waiting for clear guidance from the U.S. Department of Education about how it plans to administer sections of the CARES Act that affect in important ways how we execute our commitment to you.

    First, you should know when the College’s Board of Trustees authorizes a significant expenditure, they require the administration to identify a funding source and explain the financial impact on the College. In this case, the Board was informed that the College expected to apply funds from the CARES Act to the refunds because that legislation states that federal funds designated for colleges can be used to provide “grants” to students for “disruptions” related to “cost of attendance, including food and housing.”

    Second, the text of the CARES Act also appeared to confirm that issuing “grants” related to “cost of attendance” (i.e. room and board refunds) would not adversely impact a student’s future eligibility for federal grants and loans or result in the need to return funds to the government.

    Third, the legislative language also seemed to assure us that providing students with a grant/refund/credit would not be interpreted as taxable income for students.

    As many of you may know, however, once legislation is written, a governmental agency, in this case the Department of Education, has both the authority and the responsibility to issue guidelines clarifying the intent of the legislation. In addition, the Department of Education is also tasked with establishing a mechanism to distribute funds to colleges and create the paperwork required to receive the funds. Because of the length and complexity of the CARES Act, the College’s administration was advised to wait for this guidance prior to moving forward.

    The Department of Education’s guidance on the intent of the CARES Act was only issued at the beginning of this week. While the guidance was clear with regard to the second item above (that refunds/credits/grants would not impact a student’s future aid eligibility), most colleges, including Lycoming, had additional questions with regard to the other matters detailed above. We have now been informed that the Department of Education will issue an FAQ at the beginning of next week.

    I am hopeful that this FAQ will provide clear guidance so that the College’s administration can be confident that the process we have designed internally will allow the College to access the federal funding that seems to have been allocated for this purpose and to issue the refunds/credits/grants in a way that does not produce tax liability for the recipients.

    I trust that this communication is helpful and, as always, I appreciate your patience and understanding.

    Finally, I have learned that the families of some students have suffered tragic losses due to the pandemic, and I ask that you join me in keeping those members of our community in your thoughts and prayers.

    Sincerely,

    President Trachte

  • Message from President Trachte Regarding Spring Room, Board, and Certain Fees
    4/5/2020, 3:30 p.m.

    Dear Lycoming College Students:

    I am writing from my remote office at the president’s house on Grampian Boulevard. The campus is not the same without you, but I trust you are doing your best to engage with your faculty and classmates as you begin your third week of remote learning.

    The purpose of this email is to share that the Board of Trustees has approved the College proceeding with a refund of partial room, board and certain fees from the spring semester for students who have not remained on campus. At this time, I anticipate that graduating seniors will receive a refund while returning students will receive a credit on their account with the option to request a refund. This credit/refund will apply to the weeks that remained when the pandemic and the guidelines issued by the State of Pennsylvania dictated that the semester had to be completed using remote teaching and learning.

    I realize that this decision has taken some time, but the administration needed to research how the CARES Act, the Pell Grant program and Stafford loan program impacted our options. I thank you for your patience and understanding as we completed that process.

    We anticipate that the U.S. Department of Education will provide us with guidelines within the next few days that will impact how the College executes this decision by the Board. The College’s Business Office will be in touch with each student individually in the coming weeks regarding your credit/refund, and they will also outline the methodology that determined your refund/credit.

    As always, if you have any questions or further inquiries, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office or the business office. I wish you much success in the remaining weeks of the semester and all of us on campus very much look forward to the opportunity to be back together as a community.

    Sincerely,

    President Trachte

  • Message from President Trachte Regarding Class of 2020 Commencement
    3/30/2020, 9:00 a.m.

    Dear Class of 2020,

    I have been thinking of you all this week as you restarted your semester from locations across the country and globe. Many of you have been in touch to express your thoughts and feelings about how best to celebrate and commemorate your graduation from Lycoming. It became clear to me, your faculty and staff that walking through the gates and holding a Commencement on the campus you called home for four years is of the utmost importance. I am very pleased to announce that we intend for you to have the opportunity – like every other class before you – to celebrate this momentous occasion on campus.

    We have selected Sunday, October 4, 2020, as the day that we will hold a Commencement on campus. At that time, you will experience those deeply meaningful moments of passing through the Metzler Gate and walking across the stage to receive your diploma in front of friends, family, faculty and staff members. The ceremony will also include a Commencement speaker, a senior speaker, and the announcement of the Chieftain Award winner. In addition, we will livestream the event for the benefit of students or family members who will be unable to make the trip to campus.

    Recognizing that many of you will need your degrees in order to pursue your post-graduate opportunities, we also plan to record a virtual event that confers your degree on Saturday, May 16. In addition, while you will each walk across the stage on October 4, you will also receive your diploma in the mail shortly after May 16.

    The weekend of October 2-4 is also Homecoming Weekend, and we will invite your fellow alumni to join the celebration of the wonderful achievements of the outstanding Class of 2020. The weather is usually beautiful in Williamsport in early October, and with a little good fortune, we will be together outside on our beloved Fultz Quad.

    The past three weeks have been unlike any in recent history. Even as I have been saddened by the consequences of this pandemic, I am encouraged by the spirit and sense of obligation evident among the students, faculty and staff of Lycoming College. You have selflessly adapted to remote learning and done your part to slow the spread of this pandemic. You have affirmed the admirable character of your class, and your legacy will be one that is remembered for decades.

    I am thankful for your understanding during this unprecedented time in recent human history, and I am moved by your dedication to each other, your education, and our community. I look forward to seeing you again on October 4, and celebrating your Lycoming story.

    Sincerely,
    President Trachte

  • Message From President Trachte to Students, 3/19/20
    3/19/2020, 4:45 p.m.

    Dear Lycoming College Students:

    Our extended spring break will end on Monday, March 23, and I am writing to provide you with an update on the progress we have made on implementing remote instruction as well as offer some more specifics about how this transition will take place. In addition, I want to let you know that, although the College has now moved to a mostly remote work environment, the phones are still being answered and someone will get back to you.

    In addition, we have delayed fall course registration and are preparing to conduct this process remotely, including full consultation with your faculty advisers. Specifically, phase 1 registration has been delayed and will last from March 30 through April 13.

    Implementing Remote Instruction

    Your faculty members are now prepared to begin remote instruction and you will begin to hear from them during the next few days. I have joined their discussions during the past several days and I want you to know that they are committed to helping you succeed.

    Some students have expressed a worry about completing their coursework without access to specialized software, laboratory equipment, or studio labs. I can tell you that your faculty are aware of this limitation, and they are making adjustments in course requirements so that access to this type of software or equipment will not be required. Those students who are on campus or live locally will not have an advantage because of their proximity to campus; all course requirements have been changed such that this type of campus access will not be needed.

    I can also tell you that your faculty understand that you will encounter some challenges as we enter this new mode of instruction. We ask that you be patient and calm and know that you will not be penalized if you need help accessing online materials. Should that happen, let your faculty member know. They will attempt to fix the problem and, if necessary, your faculty will refer it to Information Technology Services. You will not be penalized for any problems that you encounter accessing materials in a timely manner.

    The faculty are also aware that the capacity of students to access technology is not uniform. Some students are on campus because they cannot go home for a variety of reasons. We also know that some of you may be home without access to computers or the internet. If that is your situation, please let your faculty member know, and they will attempt to provide low technology alternatives. If the faculty member is unable to provide an alternative, they will refer you to Information Technology Services; and the faculty will be flexible with deadlines.

    Students taking practicum courses or internships should have heard from your faculty supervisors about the solutions that faculty and academic administrators have devised so that students can earn credit for academic experiences like internships and practicum. If not, I suggest that you email Vice Provost Susan Ross at ross@lycoming.edu.

    Some of you are counting on the College’s May term offerings to complete your degree work, and the College will have several course offerings for May term. We are not yet ready to determine if these courses will be offered in our traditional on-campus model or if we will transition May term to remote learning as well.

    Similarly, some students may have an interest in summer study abroad to earn credit. At this point, I can tell you that it is simply too early to know the feasibility of such plans but I encourage you to be in touch with the Center for Enhanced Academic Experiences CEAE@lycoming.edu.

    One-Time Change in Grading Policy

    The College also understands that students are anxious about the switch to remote learning and concerned about a potential negative impact on their GPAs. Consequently, the College has adopted a one-time change to grading that will provide a measure of insurance against such a possibility.

    For spring semester 2020 only

    • All grades earned from C and up will continue to be recorded as normal.
    • All passing grades below C (which are C-, D+, D and D-) will be converted to Pass (P) on student transcripts, while grades of Fail (F) will continue to be F.
    • P grades will not be used in GPA computations.
    • Pass grades in spring 2020 can be used to fulfill all college requirements, including distribution, major, minor and prerequisite requirements.
    • Students receiving a P will not be eligible for spring 2020 Dean’s List.

    Students will all be placed into this system automatically, so you do not need to contact the registrar to sign up for it. In the meantime, stay calm and I am confident that the transition to remote learning will be a smooth one.

    In closing, I want to say thank you. I greatly appreciate the patience that all of you have exhibited as our Lycoming College community addresses the challenges posed by COVID-19. I have been heartened by how our community has come together and reached out to care for others. If you have a specific problem that has not been addressed, then please contact me or Dean Miller and we will connect you to the person who can solve your issue.

    Sincerely,

    President Trachte

  • Message to Students Regarding Residence Halls
    3/15/2020, 9:30 p.m.

    Dear Students,

    I am writing to follow up on President Trachte’s email from Saturday, March 14; and I join him in thanking you for your patience and understanding as the administration and faculty make decisions about how Lycoming College addresses the impact of COVID-19 on our campus and the nation. I have been impressed by your resilience and determination.

    As the President indicated, we are not closing the residence halls, but we are asking that you not plan to live in the residence halls unless your circumstances need an exception and receive approval from me. We will have services available to students who remain on campus but those services will be re-scaled in light of many fewer students using them. We continue to ask that students contact me if they have a need to remain on campus in the coming weeks. If you have already been in contact with me, you are not expected to do so again. Students moving out of the residence halls should follow the procedures described below. We will appreciate every effort made to clean excessive messes and leave the rooms as you found them.

    Check out; moving out of the residence halls for the semester

    It is not necessary to schedule a date or time to come to campus to move up and/or, pick up belongings

    Express Check-Out (self-checkout)

    • Forms are available outside the Residential Life Office (First Floor, Rich Hall –normal business hours) or at the Office of Public Safety (weekends or after business hours).
    • The completed form with all keys (apartment/bedroom/laundry if you live in the apartments) are to be returned to the Residential Life or Public Safety Office prior to leaving campus.
    • All keys (unit/bedroom/laundry if you live in the apartments) should be returned when you checkout using the Express Check-out form in the provided envelope:
      • Keys to any other campus facility (bike room, Greek lounge, lab, office, etc.) should be returned to the office that issued the key.
      • Do not leave keys in your unit/room.
    • Remove all personal belongings
    • Clean stoves, refrigerators, and kitchen cabinets
    • Clean bathrooms
    • Dust and sweep your area
    • Dust and sweep all common areas
    • Remove all sticky items
    • Return all furniture to its proper place

    If you have questions or concerns about check-out, please contact either Residential Life (normal business hours) or Public Safety (weekends or after business hours).

    Note: The College is not requiring that you come to campus this week to remove your belongings. We recognize that some of you may want to move out as soon as possible while others may simply choose to get a few things (i.e., computers and notebooks) and complete moving out at a later date.

    Storage – It is not feasible for the college to store items for all students. We recognize, however, that some students may face obstacles in moving belongings home on short notice. If you need to store personal items for the remainder of the semester and/or for the summer, please contact the Office of Residential Life or Public Safety. Space will be allocated to students who live the greatest distance from the college or have a need that is approved by the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of students. Students are responsible for obtaining their own boxes, totes, etc.

    Shuttle Services – You can expect to receive an email on March 16 from, Barb Eldred, Administrative Assistant to the Vice President for Student Life, regarding shuttle services that will be made available between Wednesday, March 18 through Sunday March 22. Please do not purchase a plane ticket until you review Ms. Eldred’s email. If you should have questions about the shuttle services please, contact Barb Eldred at eldred@lycoming.edu.

    Shuttle services will also be provided at the end of the semester for those who need to stay on campus for the remainder of the semester.

    Week of Extended Spring Break (March 15-22)

    Dining Services – March 15 (dinner) through March 22, 2020:

    Wertz Dining Hall:

    • Breakfast - 8:00 AM to 9:30 AM
    • Lunch - 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
    • Dinner - 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
    • Additionally, meal plan replacements (bag lunches) will be available for students on campus for student teaching or internships

    In order to provide the safest service possible during a time when nationally steps are being taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19:

    • Dining staff will serve all food options other than beverages
    • Dining will provide wrapped single use silverware
    • Use of Student To Go Beverage Cups will not be allowed but dining services will provide disposable cups with lids upon request
    • Use of green Reusable Take Out Containers are permitted under the same protocol as always of returning them upon entry and getting another or a ticket

    Note: Retail operations will not be open at Café 1812, Jack’s and the Gateway Café.

    Parkhurst Dining Services and the administration will be meeting this week to discuss dining options for the remainder of the semester for those staying on campus. Please be assured some form of dining services will be provided. I will write again this week to those staying on campus with an update on dining services.

    Medical Assistance (extended week of spring break):
    Medical assistance will be available for those staying on campus. During the extended spring break, please go to Health Services during regular business hours, or to Public Safety on weekend days or after business hours.

    In the event you are showing flu-like symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you should follow these steps that the college has developed in collaboration with UPMC Williamsport.

    • During regular business hours, you should call Health Services; after hours call Public Safety.
    • You will be asked to answer a series of questions to assist medical professionals in assessing if you may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. It is voluntary to answer these questions but cooperation in answering the questions will lead to the best medical response.
    • If your circumstances suggest exposure to the virus, you will be masked and asked to wait in a private area until state and local health officials are contacted.
    • If recommended, you will be brought to the UPMC Williamsport emergency room for a medical assessment and appropriate care.

    The Health Center will resume regular business hours tomorrow, March 16.  The Health Center staff will be available to provide medical assistance or to talk about your personal circumstance as it relates to COVID-19.

    As always, if you should have questions please do not hesitate to contact the appropriate office or me directly. Best wishes for the remainder of the semester.

    Sincerely,
    Dean Miller

  • Message from President Trachte Regarding Remote Instruction for Remainder of Semester
    3/14/2020, 9:00 p.m.

    Dear Lycoming College Students:

    Our understanding of the COVID-19 national and global health crisis has continued to evolve over the past few days. In particular, public health officials have now made it clear that the current rate of transmission of COVID-19 in the United States creates a serious risk that the national health system will be unable to treat properly those who become infected and require hospitalization. We know that we as a nation and college community must take steps that the experts tell us will slow the rate of virus transmission.

    This recognition has led to the closure of public school systems around the country, and public officials, including Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, have strongly encouraged everyone to avoid bringing together large groups of people.

    It is now evident that colleges and universities, including Lycoming College, have an obligation to make difficult decisions and take significant steps. We have been called upon to take actions that support the national effort to slow the rate of virus transmission and increase the likelihood that our country can properly take care of those who become infected.

    Recognizing this imperative, I write today to share that Lycoming College has decided that, when the extended spring break ends on March 23, we will suspend face-to-face instruction and teach using remote formats for the remainder of this semester.

    We have considered the option of implementing remote learning for several weeks with the hope that face-to-face instruction could be resumed prior to the end of the semester. We concluded, however, that this option was both unlikely and unwieldly. Epidemiologists project that the number of cases of COVID-19 infections will likely peak during April or May. In addition, there are likely to be other significant obstacles faced by both students and faculty in transitioning back to on-campus instruction.

    This decision has been a difficult one. I understand that many of you, especially seniors, will be disappointed that we will not finish the semester gathered together as a community. I ask, however, that we all come together and recognize that this is a time when we are called upon to sacrifice our individual interests for a greater good and take actions to protect ourselves and others from becoming infected. Our actions and those of others can contribute to the national effort to slow the rate of transmission. These actions will also make it less likely that those who are more vulnerable to the effects of the virus—many of them family members and friends—will become infected. Finally, given the current acceleration of known cases of COVID-19, having hundreds of you return from many different parts of the country, including some locations where significant numbers of infections are being diagnosed, would create a significant risk of a major outbreak on campus.

    Your faculty members have been working during the past week on specific plans for how each course will be conducted remotely. Those preparations will continue this coming week, and you can expect to be contacted by your individual course faculty members on or before March 23.

    • At this time, we anticipate that the semester will end on May 8.
    • Students who face challenges and barriers in accessing remote technology should communicate with their professors.

    Given this decision, we ask that students who are not currently on campus plan not to move back into the residence halls unless you have communicated with Dean Miller about why you need an exception and received approval.

    • We understand that some students will need to come to campus to pack up their belongings, and Dean Miller will send a communication about the procedures to be followed.
    • Dean Miller’s message will also address what to do if you are unable to return to campus to retrieve your belongings.
    • We also know that there are students who are unable to return home and/or need additional time to leave campus. We intend to support students who need to stay in the residence halls and a re-scaled set of food options will be available.
    • We will also assist those students who wish to return home but need assistance doing so. Those who need help in making plans to return home should contact Dean Miller’s office.

    I know that seniors and their families will now wonder what will happen to Commencement. I can tell you that the College will make every effort to hold a graduation ceremony, and I am hopeful that all the steps that we are taking as a nation and a college community will make it possible to have the ceremony on our regularly scheduled date. We will communicate specifics about Commencement as soon as it is possible to have some level of certainty about how the national health crisis is unfolding and how and when we can come together to celebrate this important moment.

    The decision to move to remote learning also means that all campus events planned for the spring semester are postponed indefinitely.

    • We know that many of these events are important to students and their families and we will explore options for rescheduling during the coming weeks.
    • Students who are members of spring athletic teams can expect to hear from the Department of Athletics during the coming week.

    We anticipate that this decision will raise questions about refunds and other financial matters. I ask for your patience as the administration and faculty have been focused on ensuring that all students will have the opportunity to earn credit for the courses in which you are currently enrolled. We have not yet addressed the question of refunds and other financial issues.

    This time period is an unprecedented one for our nation and Lycoming College. As President of the College, my priorities are the health and safety of our community and working with the faculty to make it possible for Lycoming students to earn academic credit for this semester. I also believe that as a community we have a moral obligation to make sacrifices that will help our nation mitigate the consequences of this pandemic. I welcome hearing your thoughts and questions as we move forward.

    Sincerely,

    President Trachte

  • Message from President Trachte to Faculty and Staff, 3/12/20
    3/12/2020, 1:30 a.m.

    Dear Faculty and Staff:

    I write to provide an update on how COVID-19 will impact the College’s operations.

    First, similar to many other institutions, we have decided to extend spring break for one week; but we are currently working toward resuming classes on Monday, March 23.

    As was explained in my message dated March 11, the Provost and I think we need to make it possible for all students to earn credit for the courses in which they are currently enrolled. Toward that end, the Provost has met with members of Faculty Council and is planning workshops and assist faculty in developing options for students to complete courses remotely.

    Second, we have asked that students not return prior to Saturday March 21. We must recognize, however, that returning to campus may be the best option for some of our students. Consequently, we are not closing the residence halls. In addition, students who have remained on campus during spring break will also be permitted to stay in residence halls, although we have encouraged them to explore other alternatives. The College will ensure that reasonable food options are available for any students on campus. In addition, we have been assured that UPMC Health has the ability both to treat and diagnose individuals who might manifest symptoms. Dean Miller will coordinate this aspect of our response.

    I plan to update the community again on Thursday, March 19. During the intervening time, faculty and staff should be focused on preparing for the possibility that students will complete their academic work remotely. Please note that this is an extraordinary time; and it will require all of us to be flexible in working with students.

    I have also asked Dean Miller to contact students on Monday, March 16, and ask that they indicate whether they are likely to return to campus on March 23 or prefer to complete courses remotely. This information will be helpful as we plan next steps but I ask that we also understand that we and they change our decisions based upon additional information that becomes available.

    The Provost and Faculty Council are organizing workshops during the week and preparing other resources to support faculty in determining how to deliver courses remotely as needed. While we have not made the decision to move all instruction to remote learning, we should anticipate that some students will decide to exercise this option.

    The Provost and I recognize the need to be flexible with faculty members as well as students. At this time, we are asking that we prepare both for the resumption of on-campus instruction and accommodating students remotely. That said, we do understand that some faculty may decide for any number of reasons to exercise the remote option exclusively, even if we resume on campus teaching. That choice will also be supported.

    As was stated in my message dated March 11, faculty who have concerns about teaching face to face will have the option to teach all courses remotely. That message also noted that staff who have concerns about working on campus should make arrangements with their supervisor and/or Human Resources to work remotely.

    We will also use the next few days to prepare for other scenarios involving remote work. In particular, we will institute a process to ascertain the hardware and software that staff will need to work remotely, identify “essential functions that must be maintained,” and to the extent possible provide cross-training that would allow someone to replace an “essential” employ who is unable to work.

    I have received questions about many other things, including athletic contests, musical and theatrical performances, student life sponsored trips, and other programs. At this point, we have decided that no activities will take place during the extended spring break week. We will also use that week to gather more information and make decisions about other activities scheduled for the remainder of the semester.

    Additional questions are likely to emerge and I invite you to share them with Provost Sprunger or me.

    A number of seniors have asked about Commencement and I believe that we need to wait as long as possible to make that decision.

    I ask that you understand that we are all in a very confusing, fluid and complicated situation. Information about the spread of COVID-19 changes every day. In response, government guidelines and policies are evolving rapidly. As a community, we will need to be flexible and ready to adapt to changing information. I will appreciate your patience and understanding.

    Sincerely,

    President Trachte

  • Message from President Trachte regarding Spring Break Extension
    3/11/2020, 11:00 p.m.

    Dear Lycoming College Community:

    I write to provide an update on the College’s decision regarding COVID-19 and how it will impact the College’s operations.

    First, Lycoming College has decided to extend spring break for one week; but we are currently working toward resuming classes on Monday, March 23.

    As was explained in my message dated March 11, we will make it possible for students to complete the semester either remotely or by attending classes on campus. In either case, it will be possible for all students to earn credit for the courses in which they are currently enrolled.

    Second, we are asking that students not return prior to Saturday, March 21. We understand, however, that returning to campus may be the best option for some, and we are not closing the residence halls. We do ask that you contact the Office of the Dean of Student Life by emailing millerda@lycoming.edu if you plan to return prior to March 21. Students who have remained on campus during spring break will also be permitted to stay in residence halls, although we encourage consideration of other alternatives. The College will ensure that reasonable food options are available for any students on campus. In addition, we have been assured that UPMC Health has the ability both to diagnose and treat individuals who might manifest symptoms.

    You should anticipate another update on Thursday, March 19. Please note that we will be flexible in allowing students to make plans.

    Students can expect to receive an email from Dean Miller on Monday, March 16, asking that they indicate whether they think it is likely that they will return to campus on March 23, or if they prefer to complete their courses remotely. We understand that students may change their decision based upon additional information that becomes available, but their responses will aid our planning process during the next week.

    During the extended week of spring break, the faculty will be preparing courses to deliver remotely. While we have not made the decision to move all instruction to remote learning, we realize that some students will likely decide that they want to complete their academic work remotely. We will be ready to accommodate that option. I want to stress, however, that we are still hopeful that those who prefer returning to campus for face-to-face on-campus instruction will have that option available.

    I have received questions about many other things, including athletic contests, musical and theatrical performances, student life sponsored trips, and other programs. At this point, I can tell you that no events or activities will take place during the extended spring break week. We will also use that week to gather more information and make decisions about other activities scheduled for the remainder of the semester.

    A number of seniors have asked about Commencement, and I want them to know that we will make every effort to hold a Commencement ceremony.

    I ask that you understand that we are all in a very confusing, fluid, and complicated situation. Information about the spread of COVID-19 changes every day. In response, government guidelines and policies are evolving rapidly. As a community, we will need to flexible and ready to adapt to changing information. I will appreciate your patience and understanding.

  • Message from President Trachte, 3/11/20
    3/11/2020, 10:00 a.m.

    Dear Lycoming College Community:

    I am writing to let you know that the leadership of Lycoming College has been monitoring the rapidly changing landscape surrounding the COVID-19 virus and we anticipate sending a message later this evening that will address the question whether classes will resume as scheduled after spring break. This communication will be sent directly to students, faculty, staff and, where possible, families of our students.

    As was expected, during the past week, many more cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the United States, including in Pennsylvania, and around the world. In addition, a number of institutions of higher education have made announcements about "going online," delaying the resumption of classes, discontinuing travel, and other matters. We are aware of those announcements but also know that it is important for each institution to make decisions that are in the best interest of its students and employees. We also want you to know that we are regularly monitoring guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

    At this time, I would like to share some decisions and preparations that have already been made.

    • At the beginning of spring break, the Provost communicated with faculty about preparing to deliver courses remotely should that become necessary.
    • The College will make every effort to identify ways that students can complete courses and earn credit for the spring semester.
    • Students who have health conditions that create greater risk in the event of exposure to COVID-19 will be supported as their circumstances require. Some students may have the option of remaining or traveling home and not returning to campus; under those circumstances, the College will assist in an efficient way with making arrangements for completion of courses.
    • Other students with health conditions placing them at greater risk may not have the option of going home, and the College will assist students who return to campus and have the need to self-quarantine in ways recommended by the CDC. We plan to identify students who may be at greater risk and work to address their needs.
    • Students who have decided that they are not comfortable returning to campus will also be assisted in making arrangements to complete their academic work remotely.
    • We are working on a case-by-case basis with our students who are studying in other countries this semester.

    Members of the community who have questions or need to make arrangements should contact the following:

    • Faculty members should contact the Office of the Provost or write to Provost Sprunger.
    • Staff, especially those who need to work remotely, should contact Human Resources or their supervisor.
    • Students should contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs or write to Dean Miller.

    I welcome your questions and thoughts regarding this situation. Again, you can anticipate an additional communication later this evening regarding the resumption of classes.

    Sincerely,
    President Trachte

  • Message from President Trachte, 3/2/20
    3/2/2020, 9:00 a.m.

    Dear Lycoming College Community:

    This message comes in light of the increased news coverage and higher levels of concern that have emerged regarding the 2019 novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

    While we have concluded that no immediate changes to College operations are warranted, we want you to know that the administration has been actively monitoring the situation and taking a number of steps both to support students studying abroad and to prepare the campus in the event that transmission of the COVID-19 becomes a significant issue for our community. We are actively monitoring communications from the CDC, the WHO and the PA Department of Public Health. In addition, we have established communication with the infectious disease program at UPMC Susquehanna. Finally, we are updating the Emergency Protocol for Lycoming College’s Global Disease Response that was adopted in 2006 and has been revised regularly.

    You should also be aware that a number of practices to impede the transmission of flu-like viruses are regularly in place. High touch points on campus, including door knobs, are cleaned regularly with a disinfectant. Parkhurst Food Service has Virus Spread Protection protocols in place. Hand sanitizers are found in various places throughout campus and we will be installing additional units and checking them regularly for refills.

    Spring Break Travel

    With students currently on spring break, I want to share some basic guidelines regarding travel.

    • Please monitor CDC guidelines for travel that can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html Currently, China, Iran, Italy and South Korea have been designated as areas to “Avoid Non-Essential Travel,” but other countries or regions could be added.
    • Persons with health conditions such as compromised immune systems, cardiac issues or recent steroid treatment (e.g. asthma may be at higher risk) and should consult their medical provider about travel plans, especially to affected areas.

    Contingency Preparations Underway

    There are no current known cases in COVID-19 in our community. Given the uncertainties surrounding the virus, however, the following preparations are also underway.

    • The CEAE is handling communications and issues involving students studying abroad and May term travel courses.
    • The Office of Human Resources will communicate protocols for working remotely if that step becomes necessary.
    • The Office of the Provost will coordinate efforts to support teaching and learning if class cancellations or similar steps are required.
    • The Office of Student Life will coordinate communications regarding residence halls if additional steps are required.
    • The Office of Finance & Administration will coordinate steps to continue administrative operations remotely if that should become necessary.

    Finally, I want to stress that we are committed to supporting all faculty, staff and students as this situation evolves. We will keep you updated as the situation warrants.

    I encourage you to contact your supervisor or other relevant campus offices if you have questions or concerns. Toward that end, please find below a summary of CDC recommendations concerning COVID-19.

    Best regards,
    President Trachte


    CDC Guidelines for Prevention and Treatment

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html

    There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
      • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
      • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
      • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.