University Plans and COVID-19 RESPONSE

University Plans and COVID-19 RESPONSE

The University has been made aware of COVID-19 cases that affect our campus. Cal U is working to mitigate risk for our students, our employees, and the communities where we live and work. Learn more

Cal U's plan for remote operations aligns with the State System of Higher Education's University Operational Framework.

Cal U Campus.

Guide to Operations


Learn about Cal U’s plan to provide a rigorous and engaging academic experience while protecting our campus community.

Read the Guide 

Learn about our Shared Commitment


Student on computer at Cal U.

FAQ for Students


The FAQ for Students has answers to many of your questions.




Use this link to register for the vaccination clinic on Aug. 27, 2021, in the Convocation Center.

Family members who have additional questions may call the Cal U Information Hotline at 724-938-5600 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please leave a message so we can return your call.

It’s important for you to have timely, accurate information as Cal U responds to the evolving public health situation. This webpage will be updated with current, accurate information pertaining to Cal U. Please check back regularly so you can stay informed.

Important Messages to Students, Faculty and Staff

August 12, 2021: Our Fall reopening plan and mask requirement


To our students, faculty and staff,

The Fall 2021 semester is almost here! I’m looking forward to the energy and excitement that comes with the start of a new academic year.

It will take all of us, working together, to keep our Vulcan Nation as strong and safe as possible this fall. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many counties in southwestern Pennsylvania are experiencing substantial spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, including the highly contagious delta variant.

New evidence shows that the delta variant causes more infections and spreads faster than early forms of the COVID-19 virus. Even fully vaccinated people may, in some cases, transmit the virus to others. So it’s more important than ever that we reduce the risk to our campus community.

What does this mean for Cal U?

  • Our University will start the fall semester at Level 2, as defined in our Guide to Operations. Classes will meet as listed in the schedule and residence halls will be open, with enhanced health and safety measures in place. To mitigate risk, the University strongly encourages vaccination for all members of our Cal U community.
  • Everyone regardless of vaccination status will be required to wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth when they are indoors on campus, beginning Friday, August 13. You must wear your mask in all classrooms and academic buildings, office buildings, performance spaces and common areas inside residence halls.

Masks will not be required in most outdoor settings. You may remove your mask when you are inside your own residence hall room, actively eating or drinking in the Gold Rush or other dining area, or alone in a private office. Learn more here.

  • If you are a student with a residence hall contract, you will be required to participate in COVID-19 entry screening and surveillance testing when you arrive on campus. One of the following will be required:
    • Present a negative PCR test that was administered within 72 hours before your arrival. (At-home tests do NOT fulfill this requirement.)
    • Provide proof of being fully vaccinated or having tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days.
    • Enter a modified quarantine until a COVID-19 test can be administered on campus and a negative result received. Students will be asked to restrict their movements around campus and wear a mask when interacting with any other person. On-campus testing information will be provided at check-in.

You and your family members must wear face coverings while you’re moving in, and social distancing will be encouraged. Masks will be required at all indoor events during Welcome Weekend and beyond, and at some outdoor events where social/physical distancing is not possible.

  • Free COVID-19 testing will be available to all Cal U students and employees throughout the semester. If you are symptom-free, you may visit the testing site in the Convocation Center from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. It’s a good idea to monitor your own health, especially if you haven’t yet been vaccinated.

Students with symptoms of COVID-19 should phone the Health Center at 724-938-4232 and make an appointment for testing. The Health Center will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday. Employees who experience symptoms should contact the HR office and their own healthcare provider.

Although the University cannot require students and employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, we know that vaccination is the best way to protect ourselves and those around us, including vulnerable members of our community.

The University will be offering a free vaccination clinic Aug. 27 in the Convocation Center for anyone who has not yet been vaccinated. The two-dose Pfizer vaccine has proven safe and effective against COVID-19, including the delta variant. You can register for your first dose here and plan to receive your second dose on Sept. 17.

We have a promising year ahead. Let’s all work together and start off strong.

Keep well, Vulcans!

Dr. Dale

Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson
Interim President, California University of Pennsylvania

May 21, 2021: University moves to Level 2, sets mask guidelines


To our students, faculty and staff,

As Pennsylvania relaxes its limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings, our University is “leveling up” for the summer term.

Beginning today, Cal U will operate at Level 2 as defined by our Guide to Operations, which has served as a blueprint for campus activities since the start of the pandemic.

  • Most Summer College classes will be offered online – our usual practice in recent years. (We expect to deliver a full schedule of in-person classes this fall.)
  • Telework is winding down, and all staff will return to campus no later than June 7.
  • Masks are no longer required outdoors, although social distancing is still recommended where possible.
  • Individuals who are fully vaccinated – two weeks after their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine – are not required to wear masks indoors, although social distancing is still recommended where possible. Fully vaccinated individuals who wish to continue wearing masks may do so.
  • Individuals who are not yet fully vaccinated should follow CDC guidance and continue taking precautions, including the requirement to wear a mask indoors except when they are alone.
  • In keeping with the University’s core values of Integrity, Civility and Responsibility, we trust that our students and employees will monitor their own health and use the “honor system” when deciding how to interact safely with others.
  • Out of respect for individuals’ privacy, it is not appropriate to inquire about the vaccination status of others.
  • The University will return to hosting some camps and conferences, with proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test required for guests at overnight events.

Health and safety concerns remain paramount, of course, even as vaccinations become readily available and coronavirus infections decline. We will continue to monitor the public health situation, as well as CDC and state Health Department guidelines, as our campus community gradually returns to pre-pandemic practices.

Looking ahead, we expect to resume fully in-person (Level 1) operations this fall. Moving to Level 2 this summer will allow us to transition gradually as we prepare to welcome students back to classes in August.

Together, we can make Cal U a safer place to work and learn. Please continue to care for yourself and those around you. 


Robert J. Thorn
Interim President
Pronouns: he/him/his

April 2, 2021: Coronavirus Relief Funds

To all Cal U students:

The federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA) includes funds to assist institutions of higher education and university students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Colleges and universities received CRRSA HEERF II funding based on a formula outlined in the legislation, which also details how universities are permitted to use this new round of funding. 

Cal U received about $2.1 million to provide emergency financial assistance directly to eligible students. Awards will be made to approximately 3,400 students for the Spring 2021 semester. Awards range from $590 to $700, based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Who is eligible for CRRSA HEERF II funding?
Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Education allow Cal U to distribute CRRSA HEERF II funds as direct emergency aid to domestic undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled in on-campus and online degree programs during the Spring 2021 semester, and who have a FAFSA on file.

This includes full-time and part-time degree-seeking students with a permanent U.S. address, whether they are living in on-campus residence halls, living at Vulcan Village or another off-campus location, commuting to Cal U for classes this spring, or studying 100% online.

How and when will my relief funds arrive?
Cal U began disbursing this aid on April 1, 2021. If you have direct deposit set up with Student Accounts, this money will be deposited to your bank account; it will NOT be used to reduce any balance you may owe to the University. It typically takes at least three days for a direct deposit to be posted to your account. If you do not have direct deposit, you will receive a check by mail at your permanent address. Checks will be mailed next week. You can sign up for direct deposit on VIP; look under the “Billing” tab for details.

The continuing public health crisis has changed all of our lives, and I appreciate the sacrifices you are making to keep yourselves, your families and our community safe. Please remember that Cal U is here to help. For more information about student services, look for the Coronavirus: FAQ for Students or use the search feature on our homepage,

Please continue to take care of yourself and those around you.


Robert J. Thorn
Interim President


The Pennsylvania Department of Health is using the COVIDAlert PA app in a voluntary effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Learn more about the app and how to download it to your personal digital device.

To reduce your risk of becoming ill, the CDC recommends these commonsense measures:

  • Stay home when you are sick. Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Use a regular cleaning spray or wipes to clean and disinfect surfaces you touch frequently, such as doorknobs, keyboards, computer mice, cellphones, etc.



The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security program (CARES) Act provides institutions like Cal U with federal funds to offer emergency aid “to provide emergency financial aid grants to students whose lives have been disrupted, many of whom are facing financial challenges and struggling to make ends meet” because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To be considered for these funds, degree-seeking students must have been enrolled in a face-to-face, on-campus academic program, have filed a 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and have met other eligibility guidelines. 


Studying or working from home? Check our these helpful resources:


Use your Cal U login and password to read the University’s 2020 Pandemic Response Plan and unit/department plans for responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.