Spring Repopulation Protocols
The United States is currently 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 during the fall semester. 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 to 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 similar to the fall.
Spring Repopulation Protocols: Testing
All students are 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.
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.
This test does not require the kind of deep penetration into the nostrils that is part of some testing procedures. For the tests that Lycoming is utilizing, the swab only needs to be inserted far enough so that the tip is no longer visible. Students will be given the option of doing the swab themselves 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 within no more than one hour. Videos about antigen tests and test results help to illustrate 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, however, students are strongly discouraged 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. This step is an important one until testing has been completed, and we ask for your patience and cooperation with this step.
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. Assigned meal pick up times were determined with consideration to the class schedule. Students are asked to make every effort to manage their time to follow their assigned meal pick up times.
All other dining locations – Café 1812, Jack’s Corner and Gateway Café – will be closed to student use during the arrival testing period (January 24 to January 31). You are encouraged to plan accordingly and bring snack items with you when you return to campus. Food delivery services e.g., Door Dash, Uber Eats, etc., are allowed during the arrival testing period.
To support students who are unable to keep their assigned meal pick up time, dining services will offer premade sandwiches, bagels, fruit etc. for pick up at an earlier meal for a later meal.
Students who have dietary needs that are supported by Dining Services during the semester who have questions should contact Rachel Milburn, General Manager – Dining Services, at email@example.com
If there is a schedule conflict e.g., class or testing with your assigned meal pickup time that cannot be managed, contact your RLC - First Year Area (Asbury, Skeath & 1st floor Wesley), Kayla Cillo, firstname.lastname@example.org; Upper-class Area (Rich, Crever, Forrest & Williams), Elissa Donovan, email@example.com, Independent Living (East, 2nd & 3rd Wesley & Apartment/Commons), Tabitha Giacalone, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residence Hall Pairings
- Pairing A: Asbury Hall & East Hall
- Pairing B: Skeath Hall & Forrest Hall
- Pairing C: Crever Hall & Wesley Hall
- Pairing D: Rich Hall & Williams Hall
- Pairing E: Apartments & Commons
- 7:00am - 7:40am P - A
- 7:40am - 8:20am P - B
- 8:20am - 9:00am P - C
- 9:00am - 9:40am P - D
- 9:40am - 10:20am P - E
- 11:00am - 11:40am P - A
- 11:40am - 12:20pm P - B
- 12:20pm - 1:00pm P - C
- 1:00pm - 1:40pm P - D
- 1:40pm - 2:20pm P - E
- 4:30pm-5:10pm P - A
- 5:10pm-5:50pm P - B
- 5:50pm-6:30pm P - C
- 6:30pm-7:10pm P - D
- 7:10pm-7:50pm P - E
Resumption of Full Dining Services
Dining Services will resume normal dining hours on February 1: Monday - Thursday 7:00 am—8:30 pm; Friday 7:00 am—7:00 pm; Saturday & Sunday 10:00 am—6:00 pm
Café 1812 will resume normal hours on February 1: Monday - Friday 7:00 am—3:00 pm; Saturday & Sunday Closed
Jack’s Corner will resume normal hours on February 1: Monday - Friday 7:30 pm—12:30 am; Saturday & Sunday 7:30 pm—12:30 am
Gateway Café will resume normal hours on February 1: Monday - Friday 8:00 am—3:00 pm, Saturday 10:am – 1:00pm
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 the help of every student in executing the spring plan, we can have a similar experience in the spring.