|Dear Colleagues, |
Commencement activities are just two weeks away. In the past few weeks, many soon-to-be graduates have expressed their desire for the ceremony to be mask-optional; I know that others, out of concern for themselves and their loved ones, would like us to require masking. The College leadership team and I wanted to wait until closer to the event to review data on community levels and CDC recommendations before changing masking requirements for this large, indoor event. Per the CDC website, the COVID-19 Community Level in Lebanon County and the counties surrounding it are Low. For counties with Low Community Levels, the CDC says, “People may choose to mask at any time.” Since the beginning of the pandemic, LVC has committed to following CDC guidelines. Therefore, we are changing the Commencement masking policy to mask-optional but highly recommended.
*Attendees can help protect others by masking up.
*If an at-home COVID-19 test is available to you, take one before Commencement. Anyone who tests positive must not attend the ceremony.
*If you have any symptoms on the day of Commencement, do not attend.
*If you are traveling to campus from a county with Medium or High Community Levels, mask up.
*KN95 or N95 masks are the more effective options for those who choose to wear masks.
I understand that some attendees will be uncomfortable or unhappy with this change in protocol. There are no easy answers. Frankly, it would be difficult to enforce a masking requirement, especially on such an emotional and meaningful day when students want to be photographed without masks, and when other large venues do not require masking.
I do, however, strongly encourage all attendees to mask up for the good of the whole community. I look forward to celebrating our students’ accomplishments. If you are unable to attend, look for photos and video on social media after the event.
Archive for the ‘Employee Information’ Category.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, LVC has committed to following CDC guidelines in determining policies and practices. Per the CDC website, the COVID-19 Community Level in Lebanon County and most counties in which our students and employees reside have Low Community Levels. Therefore, the College has decided to return to pre-COVID-19 policies and practices concerning in-person courses.
Effective starting Summer 2022 and in subsequent terms, the following policies and practices will be in place regarding in-person courses:
1. Unless a course is designated as an online offering in the course schedule, it will occur in person.Students may not take in-person courses remotely, except if approved on a short-term basis (generally limited to three weeks) due to medical circumstances with appropriate documentation. If a student requires a short-term accommodation for remote learning, their circumstances will be evaluated by the appropriate office (e.g., Health Services, Accessibility Resources), and the Registrar’s Office will send a communication to instructors.Faculty may not teach undergraduate courses remotely during fall and spring semesters, except if approved on a short-term basis (generally limited to three weeks) due to medical circumstances with appropriate documentation or approved in advance by the Provost/VPAA according to the College’s online/hybrid course policy. The policy allows for the following circumstances:The professor has expertise in a specific course and cannot teach fully on campus;There is a circumstance that prevents the course from meeting in person. For example: The professor is ill, injured, or otherwise unable to come to campus for an extended duration;Hybrid or online instruction has a compelling pedagogical benefit to the course. For example: an education course teaching online learning;The department, in the spirit of innovation and as a way of improving pedagogy, desires to offer a course or courses in hybrid/online format to evaluate and assess the effectiveness of this modality for the course or to compare the pedagogical effectiveness to the course’s in-person offering; orLimited other reasons at the sole discretion of the Provost/VPAA.2. Classrooms, labs, and other instructional spaces will return to normal distancing.
3. Masking indoors will remain optional but highly encouraged.
Please note that these policies are subject to modification if there is a significant change of circumstance regarding COVID-19 or another infectious disease.
|President James M. MacLaren, Ph.D., shared the following important messages this morning. He separately noted that as of now Commencement attendees will be required to wear masks, but that College and its health partners will reevaluate the protocols closer to Commencement Weekend. |
1. Starting Monday, March 21, Lebanon Valley College will go mask optional. We made this decision in consultation with our Penn State Health advisors and based on the low COVID-19 infection rates in Lebanon County.
*Your professors may continue to require masking in classrooms, labs, and other learning spaces in which individuals are in proximity for extended periods. Continue to carry a mask with you, and please follow your professors’ requirements. The Student Conduct Code will apply to students who do not comply with professors’ masking requests.
*Masks are optional in the residence halls, social spaces, and dining spaces. Use good judgment and be respectful of your peers.
*Masking will remain in place for LVC Live this Saturday since many people will visit campus from out of town.
*Please note that this policy is subject to change if infection rates rise or a new variant develops.
2. Please join me next Thursday, March 24, at 7 p.m. on Zoom to learn about the results of our recent campus climate survey; progress made in diversity, equity, inclusion, and intercultural affairs; needs, and next steps. You will hear from Dr. Felicia Brown-Haywood, associate vice president of diversity, equity, inclusion, and institutional success.
Regarding campus climate, I am deeply disappointed to learn of inappropriate Yik Yak posts targeting individuals and marginalized groups of students. Such comments are unacceptable and not in line with LVC’s values as an institution. As members of the LVC community, I urge you to treat all individuals with respect and care and live the values of Inclusive Excellence. There has been positive progress recently, and I know we can—we must—do better.
*Please make a report here if you witness or experience a bias incident. If you are comfortable being contacted, a member of LVC’s Bias Response & Education Team will reach out to you to offer resources and support.
*If you need personal support or a listening ear, I encourage you to contact Annesha Edwards-Carter, director of diversity, equity, inclusion, and intercultural affairs, at email@example.com or counseling services at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your academic advisors, professors, and staff are here for you.
We are partnering with WellSpan Health to host a vaccine clinic on on Feb. 18. Students, employees, and employee families can receive a first, second, or booster dose of Pfizer. We must have at least 15 registered individuals by Friday, Feb. 4, to host the clinic. Sign up on Redbook.
Given the regional surge in COVID-19 infections and the transmissibility of the omicron variant, LVC will begin Spring 2022 semester courses remotely for two weeks, starting January 17. The College made this decision in consultation with Penn State Health in the hopes that infections will be on a downward trajectory by the end of the month. However, we will continue to monitor the situation closely and make further adjustments as necessary.
*In-person classes are now set to begin January 31. (Note: Provost Cowart is working with health professions programs that have a pedagogical need for some students to begin in-person learning January 17. If you are a health professions student or an education student with a teaching placement, please look for messages from your program director or chair.)
*Students—residential and commuter—should delay their return to campus until January 30. Those who need to return earlier than January 30 must complete this Request for Early Move-In form by Thursday, January 6, at 4 p.m. Exemptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis for students with exceptional circumstances.
*Student-athletes will be contacted by their coaches with their report dates.
*Vaccinations and boosters are highly effective in mitigating the spread and severity of COVID-19, even the latest omicron variant. In fact, the majority of those hospitalized and critically ill are unvaccinated. Higher vaccination and booster rates maximize our ability to return to and sustain in-person learning.
*Any student who has reported being boosted will be entered into a weekly drawing for a $100 gift card starting January 17 and continuing through the end of the semester. Report being fully vaccinated or boosted here. Please get your flu shot as well.
*The CDC has made changes to its quarantine and isolation recommendations. Students who have received their boosters or have completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last five (Pfizer) or six (Moderna) months or have completed the primary series of J&J vaccine in the last two months will not be required to quarantine if exposed to someone who tests positive.* Otherwise, you will be required to quarantine if you are a contact of someone testing positive.
Upon your return to campus:
*We will not require re-entry testing. However, we encourage you to get tested before your planned return. If you have symptoms of an illness, delay your return to campus until you are well.
*If you are experiencing symptoms of any illness—even if it is a sniffle and even if you are fully vaccinated, fill out the Daily Symptom Tracker in MyLVC. Shroyer Health Center staff will contact you. DO NOT visit Shroyer without an appointment, and please do not visit an urgent care center in lieu of seeing the healthcare professionals at Shroyer.
*Please wear surgical masks, N95s, or cloth masks of at least three layers. Universal indoor masking will continue, including in residence halls. Residential students are required to mask up inside residence halls. The only exception is when roommates are inside their room with no other visitors.
*Please follow all masking, testing, isolation, and quarantining guidelines. Contact tracing and surveillance testing of unvaccinated individuals will continue. Those who do not comply will be subject to disciplinary action under the student conduct code.
*Classroom distancing of at least three feet will continue. Practice social distancing of at least six feet whenever possible.
*If it is determined that you must isolate or quarantine, you may be required to go home until you are cleared to return to campus.
Contact email@example.com if you have questions.
Thank you for your flexibility and understanding.
*Please check the CDC and FDA websites for the latest information about vaccination protocols and timelines for your age group.