Saint Joseph's University students walking on campus practicing safe distancing

Return to Campus
Health and Safety

As of August 10, 2020

OVERVIEW

Saint Joseph’s University continues to be committed to its mission of educating students in the Jesuit tradition of excellence while keeping the community as safe as possible. While much of our campus experience will look different, some things won’t change – our care for one another, our formation of students with and for others, and our dedication to our students’ rich and deep educational experience.

Saint Joseph’s University continues to be committed to its mission of educating students in the Jesuit tradition of excellence while keeping the community as safe as possible. While much of our campus experience will look different, some things won’t change – our care for one another, our formation of students with and for others, and our dedication to our students’ rich and deep educational experience.

Saint Joseph’s has the ingenuity and agility to meet today’s unique challenges. These are extraordinary times, and we are preparing for many scenarios that the pandemic may present. In fact, we call our approach and mindset Hawk Hill Ready. Exhaustive preparation aside, our preference – and that of our students – is to be on campus and in person as much as possible. We believe that a full campus experience enhances the education of the whole person – mind, body and spirit – and accentuates the student-faculty relationship while advancing research, scholarship and creative expression.

With this in mind, we planned a phased and measured return to campus, starting with expanded essential personnel in early June, a small pilot of on-ground summer classes in late June, followed by employees’ phased return over the summer, then the balance of our community for an on-ground fall start on Monday, August 24.

This document overlays general health and safety guidance, with government and agency recommendations, and specifies the University’s approach to returning to campus for modified in-person campus experience.

It’s important to note that this plan serves as a high-level overview to our approach and individual department plans are being developed with more granular detail. All community members should familiarize themselves with the plan and refer back often as conditions and content changes.

Although we can’t eliminate all risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection, the Saint Joseph’s community can work together to help reduce the risk by staying informed, following all signs and guidelines, and supporting others in following safer hygiene and distancing practices.

 

 

Mandeville Hall being seen through the trees.

Our Guiding Principles

General health and safety guidance should be followed in all of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s phases for reopening, while additional measures will be needed during times of significant community spread.

The Saint Joseph’s community embraces our educational mission and a culture of care and wellness for self and others, designed for a safer campus.

  • Our approach and commitment to physical distancing, face coverings and other safety measures are grounded in the Jesuit values of care for the individual, care for the community and care for the institution.
  • Our mitigation strategy will de-densify common areas as much as possible to allow for physical distancing and other mitigation practices to dining, living, teaching, learning, working, gathering and practicing spirituality.
  • Our University community has engaged in robust planning for the fall semester and our faculty and staff are at the ready to respond to changing conditions, continuing to deliver high quality instruction, advising, student life and support services.

 

Because the University educational experience extends beyond the campus, with students and other community members living, studying, dining and commuting in the surrounding community, Saint Joseph’s strongly encourages all community members to extend all face covering, physical distancing and other hygiene practices as much as possible to areas outside of campus.

Scope

This guide provides a general health and safety plan for returning to campus. More comprehensive procedures are being developed for the following areas and will be communicated to applicable employees and students:

  • Physical and Mental Health
  • Residence Life
  • Human Resources
  • Classroom and Laboratory Environments

In addition to University-wide plans, all departments and divisions created plans specific to their work areas and communicated these plans to employees. Plans address the following, as applicable to each work area.

  • Staggered work shifts and lunch breaks
  • Telework
  • Distancing and shared spaces
  • Traffic flow
  • Signage

Expert Guidance

Saint Joseph’s plan is and will continue to be informed by the latest scientific evidence and guidance from government and higher education industry resources including:

  • NCAA and A-10 Conference
  • American College Health Association
  • Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania

Our Plan
Click below to learn about what Saint Joseph's University is doing to prepare.

ADDITIONAL MEASURES

Travel

  • Non-essential, University-sponsored travel remains suspended until further notice. Area vice presidents or deans will determine what is considered essential travel.
  • All fall study abroad programs are postponed. Contact the Center for International Programs for more information.
  • All international travelers, regardless of passport, are asked to observe a 14-day quarantine period prior to returning to campus per CDC guidance.

Cleaning and Disinfection

  • No cleaning or disinfecting measures will completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19 exposure or infection, but University providers and community member can work together to increase cleaning and disinfecting of work and living spaces.
  • The University is working proactively with its housekeeping provider on enhanced cleaning protocols.
  • Certain areas have been prioritized for enhanced routine cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection based on the risk of transmission, including public restrooms.
  • Special attention is given to high-touch surfaces, with touch-and-go sanitizing several times daily.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting procedures follow current CDC guidelines, and are updated according to the latest available public health information.
  • The University will use EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19.
  • Cleaning supplies will be provided and restocked on a regular basis in classrooms and department offices, as all community members are asked to disinfect their classroom and other work spaces upon arrival in the space.
  • Public Safety’s Customer Service Center has been designated as the University’s supply center for COVID related supplies.
  • Specialized equipment such as N95 respirators have been assigned to designated employees whose occupations may require close contact with students who become ill. Departments coordinate with the Office of Environmental Health and Safety for the required OSHA training, fit-testing, PPE assessments and selection of designated employees.

Ventilation

  • Increased ventilation will not eliminate the risk of COVID-19 exposure or infection, but will be used with other measures to help reduce the risk.
  • Weather permitting, some events, gatherings and classes will be held outdoors.
  • The University operates and maintains air handling systems according to ASHRAE standards to optimize climate control, energy efficiency and indoor air quality with the proper amount of outside air and room air changes.
  • In line with public health guidelines, the circulation of outside air is increased whenever possible by opening windows in buildings with or without centralized systems.

Visitors

  • As noted above, guests/visitors are prohibited from visiting campus housing and dining facilities.
  • Outside visitors should be limited to essential business operations whenever possible.

UPDATES AND COMMUNICATION

Guidelines change frequently as more is learned about coronavirus and conditions evolve quickly. Therefore, the University’s approach will need to adapt to those changes. All aspects of this plan, including but not limited to the return-to-work and semester schedule, all class, residence and dining arrangements, are subject to change by the University.

Community members will be kept informed through this website, which serves as the primary source of information. In addition, faculty, students and staff will receive regular updates through the start of fall semester classes. During the semester, faculty and staff will receive “Hawk Hill This Week,” a weekly e-newsletter, and students will receive Hawk Hill Happenings.

If immediate communication becomes necessary, the University will use the SJU Safe mobile application and emergency notification system. Additionally, the University will launch a communications campaign and post signage to inform and remind the community of best practices and expectations.

Questions and Resources

Community members may have questions based on their unique circumstances. After reviewing this guide, please consult the following resources to address specific questions.