Guide to Reopening


This document summarizes key changes being made at Cal U in preparation for reopening the campus to faculty, staff and students, and it serves as a guide to precautionary measures designed to prevent the spread of illness at the University.

This document is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all University plans, policies and procedures.

This is a “living document” that will be updated and amended in response to changing conditions. Portions of this guide were designed based on the Phase 2 recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, the KUALI “Higher Ed Return to Campus Guide” checklist, and guidance from state and federal government agencies, including the state Department of Education.


This plan assumes that Washington County will be in the “yellow” or “green” phase of the governor’s Phased Reopening and Recovery Plan at the start of the Fall 2020 semester. During the “red” phase there is no provision for in-person instruction at Pennsylvania colleges and universities, with the exception of certain medical, nursing and allied clinical health training programs.

According to the state Department of Education: “It is possible that counties may transition from red, to yellow, to green and back to yellow and red.” Such transitions could trigger changes in University planning and operations.

  • In the yellow phase, guidelines restrict gatherings of non-instructional activities to no more than 25 people.
  • In the green phase, larger non-instructional gatherings (up to 250 people) may be permitted.

In the interest of health and safety, Cal U reserves the right to limit the size of gatherings in certain locations.

Cal U will comply with the order issued July 1, 2020, by the state Department of Health that requires individuals to wear face coverings if they are "outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet from individuals who are not member of their household" or "in any indoor location where members of the public are generally permitted," such as classrooms and other campus locations. Read the Secretary of Health’s July 1 order regarding face coverings



Cal U has adjusted its academic calendar. The Fall 2020 semester will begin one week earlier than originally planned.

Move-in to campus residence halls will occur by appointment only. University Housing will contact students regarding appointments and move-in procedures.

  • Move-in appointments for new students will be scheduled on Thursday and Friday, August 13 and 14.
  • Appointments for returning students will be scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, August 15 and 16.

Classes will start on August 17 and end on November 19, with final exams on November 20 and November 23-25.

Students will depart from campus before Thanksgiving and return to Cal U in January to begin the Spring 2021 semester.


Admission Criteria and Deferred Start

For the Fall 2020 class, Cal U will waive the SAT/ACT test score requirement and utilize a holistic review process to make admission decisions.

Accepted students who do not wish to start classes in Fall 2020 may defer their start date to Spring 2021 while maintaining their financial aid, including Vulcan Merit Scholarships.


Faculty will be encouraged to follow a liberal attendance policy. Students who are feeling ill should not come to class.

The University’s Pass/No Credit policy will be in effect for the Fall 2020 semester.

Classroom Locations

Cal U has engaged the services of Rickes Associates Inc., a higher education planning firm with expertise in space optimization, to assist with assigning classes to campus locations that support appropriate social distancing.

Classroom assignments will be available in VIP later this summer. Learn how to view and print your course schedule.

Course Delivery

For the health and safety of both faculty and students, Cal U will make social distancing a priority for on-campus classes.

  • To the maximum extent possible, on-campus classes will be taught in person, utilizing technology that also allows students to participate in real time from a remote location. This will allow students who are uncomfortable attending face-to-face classes to participate via Zoom or a similar technology from their residence hall, home or other location.
  • Some on-campus classes will use scheduling to achieve social distancing by reducing classroom occupancy. For example, a student enrolled in a class that meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays may be scheduled to attend in person on Tuesday and via real-time technology on Thursday. A similar schedule might be used for a class that meets three times per week.
  • Some lecture-and-lab courses may take a hybrid approach. For example, the lecture portion would be delivered online, with labs held in person.
  • Some large classes may be taught entirely online if a suitable venue is not available; others may be held in large spaces such as the Morgan Hall auditorium or the Convocation Center.

Course delivery decisions will be finalized as the fall term approaches.

To the extent possible, Cal U will provide a full schedule of online/remote classes for students in on-campus programs if they request remote instruction only. Faculty members seeking adjustments to their teaching schedule should contact the Human Resources Office.

Cal U Global Online programs will continue to be offered 100% online.

To maintain the value of a Cal U degree, the Verification of Student Identity Policy will be in effect for all in-person, blended and online programs.

Books and Learning Technology

The Cal U Bookstore in the Natali Student Center will be open, with social distancing guidelines in place.

Manderino Library will be open, and physical books will be available to borrowers.

University Technology Services (UTech) will have a limited number of laptops that can be borrowed for short-term use. To request a “loaner” laptop, email


Cal U Athletics will follow guidance from the NCAA and PSAC, as well as federal, state and local guidelines, for all aspects of its operation.

Educational and informational materials will be sent to student-athletes, coaches and staff in advance of their return to campus.

The Athletic Department’s complete plan, including team-by-team operations, will be available later this summer at

Screening and Reporting Illness

Pre-screening of coaches, student-athletes and administrative staff will be conducted via a survey on June 1 and again 14 days prior to return. This is intended to identify any comorbid conditions, confirm there has been no high-risk exposure to COVID-19, and confirm the absence of typical COVID-19 symptoms in the 14 days prior to campus return.

On-site screening will be conducted when student-athletes return to Cal U. Student-athletes who do not participate in the screening process will not be permitted to train with a team.

A pre-participation physical exam will be conducted for first-year, third-year, fifth-year and transfer students, and for students flagged during the screening process. Screening will include a temperature check, brief medical history and other testing, as recommended by NCAA guidelines. Student-athletes and staff will wear masks and sanitize hands to reduce the risk of exposure during the exam.

Throughout the season, any student-athlete who feels ill should report symptoms to their athletic trainer. Student-athletes also will contact the Health Center, which will coordinate their care.

Athletic Training Room

Athletic training clinical faculty will be available to address orthopedic/musculo-skeletal type injuries.

  • Appointments for rehabilitation will be scheduled to maintain social distancing; student-athletes may not congregate in the AT facility unless they are being treated.
  • Student-athletes will wear face coverings and have their temperature taken before entering the athletic training facility.
  • Pre-practice treatments will be kept to a minimum so facilities can be cleaned and modality apparatus washed and disinfected between treatments.
  • All staff will wear a mask and gloves when performing hands-on therapy.

Athletic training equipment will be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Student-athletes and athletic trainers must wear masks and wash hands prior to each session.

Weight Room

The weight room will be available for use in improving student-athletes’ strength and conditioning.

  • The weight room will be open during scheduled hours only. It will not be used outside those hours by students-athletes, staff or coaches. Arrival times will be staggered to promote social distancing.
  • Equipment will be moved to allow social distancing.
  • Weight rooms will be cleaned between sessions. Athletes will be required to clean their station before and after their workout.
  • Student-athletes will have their temperature taken prior to starting a workout.
  • Student-athletes should bring their own water bottles; the drinking fountain will not be used.

Sport Practice and Competition

Practice facilities will be open during scheduled times only; facilities will not be open for general use (such as shoot-arounds).

  • The number of student-athletes practicing at one time may be limited; arrival times may be staggered to promote social distancing.
  • Athletes will have their temperature taken before every practice and competition.
  • Athletes should bring their own water bottles and towels to practice.

Team meetings will be held remotely, if possible, or with adequate social distance.

Competition venues will follow capacity guidelines in effect on game day. The number of spectators may be limited. Spectators may be asked to wear masks and follow social distancing protocols.

Seating may be adjusted to promote social distancing and create additional space between athletes, game-day staff and spectators.

Visiting teams will be notified about Cal U’s health and safety measures before their arrival on campus.

Travel for Student-Athletes

Athletic administration, head coaches and athletic trainers will monitor federal and state restrictions on travel throughout the season. Travel rosters may be necessary for all sports to reduce costs and ease social distancing concerns.

  • Athletics will follow University guidance on whether travel to practice sites and overnight travel is permitted.
  • Athletics will work with transportation providers to promote safety. Buses and other vehicles will be cleaned before athletes are transported. 


The Gold Rush and other dining facilities in the Natali Student Center will be reconfigured to promote social distancing.

To avoid congestion, the Gold Rush will be open continuously throughout the day: from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Dining services initially will be limited to counter service, rather than buffet-style service.

Diners should use hand sanitizer before entry, and they must follow guidance regarding traffic flow and social distancing as indicated by signage and other visual cues (e.g., floor markers, taped-off areas, etc.).


Residence Halls

A variety of room configurations will be available in on-campus residence halls, including single and double rooms. Roommates will be considered a “family unit” and expected to behave in ways that protect each other’s health.

Social distancing will be required for all meetings within the halls.

Residents may contact their RA to schedule use of lounge and/or kitchen areas. Students are expected to use disinfectant wipes to clean these areas after use.    

There will be no visitation in the residence halls. (Students should contact the Housing Office if parents wish to schedule a visit.)

NOTE: Move-in to campus residence halls will occur by appointment only. Arrivals will be scheduled to relieve congestion in the residence halls. Masks will be required and social distancing guidelines will be in effect. University Housing will contact students regarding appointments and move-in procedures.

  • Move-in appointments for new students will be scheduled on Thursday and Friday, August 13 and 14.
  • Appointments for returning students will be scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, August 15 and 16.

Vulcan Village

Vulcan Village is owned by the nonprofit Student Association Inc. For information about fall semester plans, phone Vulcan Village at 724-938-8990.


The website will serve as a hub for official information about the University’s pandemic response and plans for the fall semester.

A banner at the top of the Cal U homepage ( will direct users to this webpage, which includes important information and periodic updates for students, faculty and staff. Along with other information, messages from the President’s Office and other key areas will be available on this page, which is accessible to the public.

Additional information will be shared regularly with the campus community using a variety of channels. Campus email is the primary mode of communication with all students, faculty and staff. Other channels include, but are not limited to:

  • Online news site (edu/news)
  • FAQ webpages
  • Social media platforms
  • Daily Announcements
  • Alumni e-blasts and e-newsletter
  • Parent/family e-newsletter
  • D2L and VIP (for current students)
  • Slate (for prospective students)
  • Digital signs on campus
  • Printed posters, fliers and signs
  • Cal U Alerts (emergency messages only)

COVID-19 cases

To keep the Cal U community informed, the communications team will maintain a webpage providing current information about cases of COVID-19 that have been self-reported to the University. No personally identifying information will be provided. The page will be accessible through a link on the page.

Alumni communications

The Office of University Development and Alumni Relations will communicate with alumni, donors and University friends utilizing the Cal U Alumni social media accounts, e-blasts, the alumni website ( and personalized communication between prospect managers and their donors. 


Cal U will develop guidelines for on-campus and game-day events based on information from federal and state authorities and public health experts at the CDC, state Department of Health and other agencies.

Cal U will not accept reservations from non-University clients or for events with non-University attendees during the Fall 2020 semester.

Cal U reserves the right to deny, cancel, postpone or re-locate on-campus and off-campus University events based on health and safety considerations.

  • Some events may be held virtually; attendance at others may be limited to enable social distancing. Athletic game-day events will be held only if spectators are permitted to attend sports competitions.
  • Face coverings and hand sanitizing may be required at events; participants will be notified about any health and safety measures required.
  • Food service at events may be limited to prepackaged or takeout-style items only.
  • Wherever possible, the University will utilize prepaid, hands-free or cashless payment systems to collect admission fees.
  • Large events that involve 250 people or more will be limited. Events such as sport competitions, concerts and trade shows warrant special precautions, such as:
    • Limiting attendees to 50% of the occupancy rating of the venue.
    • Placing hand-sanitizing dispensers at venue entrances.
    • Installing signs and other visual cues to encourage social distancing in tickets lines, restrooms and food lines.

To discuss an event request, email or phone Becky McMillen, executive director of Conference Services, at 724-938-4625.


Certain exercise equipment in Herron Recreation and Fitness Center may be taken out of service to allow for greater social distancing while exercising.

Face coverings and social distancing will be required in the fitness center; users must swipe in and out with their CalCards.

Visitors should bring their own water bottles, towels, etc. and should not share these items.

Lockers will be assigned for a full semester. Showers will be open by appointment only.

Disinfectant will be provided; users are expected to wipe down equipment before and after use. Custodial staff will thoroughly clean the facility on a regular schedule.


Coordination with Public Health Officials

Cal U will partner with Mon Valley Hospital and other regional facilities to assure that COVID-19 testing is available for students who report to the campus Health Center with symptoms consistent with coronavirus infection.

The University is coordinating its pandemic response with Washington County Emergency Management; Cal U requests guidance and reports information as required to the state Department of Health.

Personal Responsibility

Students and employees have a responsibility to safeguard their own health and the health of others. This includes following CDC and University guidelines:

  • Stay home if you feel sick, and avoid close contact with others until symptoms subside. Avoid contact with people who are ill.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face (eyes, nose and mouth) with unwashed hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue, or into your elbow (not your hands). Dispose of used tissues right away.
  • Wear a face covering or mask that covers your nose and mouth to reduce the spread of droplets that can carry disease.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that you frequently touch. This includes door knobs, light switches, desks, phones and keyboards.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Cal U is committed to implementing enhanced cleaning measures campus-wide. Individuals can assist by washing hands or using hand sanitizer frequently, properly disposing of trash, and utilizing cleaner or disinfecting wipes to clean high-touch areas after using shared equipment (e.g., keyboards, touchscreens, fitness equipment) or common areas.

  • Custodial Services will continue to utilize a hospital-grade disinfectant for cleaning. This is a longstanding practice at Cal U.
  • Custodial Services will emphasize cleaning of high-touch points, such as door handles, elevator buttons, water fountain handles, handrails, microwave buttons, light switches and faucets.
  • Key locations such as restrooms, athletics areas, the fitness center and dining areas will be sanitized regularly using a disinfectant sprayer or misting machine.
  • Hand-sanitizer dispensers have been strategically located throughout campus. Facilities Management staff will monitor and refill dispensers as needed.
  • Disinfectant solutions will be available in break rooms so individuals can wipe down countertops, tables and appliances before and after use.
  • To prevent the spread of illness, paper products for hand drying will be provided in restrooms with faucet handles or egress doors. Individuals are encouraged to use a paper towel as a protective barrier to shut off the tap and open the door to exit the restroom.
  • Signage in restrooms, common areas, hand-sanitizing stations and vending areas will encourage proper hand washing/sanitizing and cough/sneeze etiquette. Signage and visual cues in areas where lines typically form (e.g., ATM machines, checkout lines, dining areas) will promote social distancing.

Counseling Center Operations

The Counseling Center offers services to support students’ mental health and well-being. Tele-counseling services are encouraged. Patient privacy will be a primary consideration during tele-counseling sessions.

In-person counseling will be limited to emergencies and situations where tele-counseling is not effective or the patient does not have access to necessary technology.

Couch/chair covers will be wiped down between in-person sessions.

Health Center Operations

The Student Health Center responds to students’ health and wellness needs. Students should call ahead (724-938-4232) before visiting the Health Center unless they are experiencing an emergency such as respiratory distress or an injury with profuse bleeding.

  • Health Center staff will determine whether tele-medicine services can be utilized, or if an in-person visit to the Health Center is warranted. Special arrangements will be made for students showing symptoms of an infectious nature.
  • Students advised to report to the Health Center in person will be instructed on which door to use. Patients with general medical issues will use the front door; those with COVID-19 symptoms will use the back entrance.
  • Health Center workers will use respiratory protection when encountering patients showing signs of infectious disease.
  • All students will be required to use hand sanitizer when entering and leaving the Health Center. Patients in waiting areas must wear face coverings/masks and will be seated at least 6 feet apart.
  • An isolation area has been established for students who are diagnosed with COVID-19. Health Center staff will follow current protocols for testing.

Testing, Contact Tracing and Quarantine

Cal U will follow state Department of Health guidelines for testing, contact tracing and quarantine.

Students who visit the Health Center with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be referred for testing. Employees will be sent home and referred to their medical providers.

If a student is suspected of having COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Unless the student chooses to return home, they will be instructed to self-isolate in a designated area on campus and the Health Center will monitor their condition.
  • While a student is in isolation, University Housing staff will arrange for food delivery and address other needs.
  • Linens in designated isolation rooms will be professionally laundered.

Contact tracing

If a member of the Cal U community is diagnosed with COVID-19, contact tracing can help to keep our campus safer by identifying others who may be at risk and directing them to quarantine or obtain medical care.

The state Department of Health will take the lead in contact tracing. Campus contact tracing teams have been identified and trained to support the Health Department as needed.


Masks / Face Coverings

Wearing a mask or face covering offers a measure of protection for yourself and others. Until further notice, the requirement for wearing a mask or face covering on campus will be determined by the University, based on expert guidance.

In particular, Cal U will comply with the order issued July 1, 2020, by the state Department of Health that requires individuals to wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor locations outside the home.

In keeping with this order, and for the health and safety of our Cal U community, students and employees must wear a face covering in classrooms, public areas and common spaces; when two or more people are in a vehicle; when riding in an elevator; in high-volume customer service areas; where 6 feet of social distancing cannot be consistently maintained; and as directed by management to support those at high risk.

  • Masks or face coverings may not include demeaning or derogatory logos; profanity; racist or sexist wording or designs; offensive script; promotion of wrongful drug abuse; or offensive imagery. The mask should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face and must be worn covering the nose and mouth. The mask should allow for breathing without restriction.
  • The University will provide employees with either a disposable mask or a reusable cloth mask, depending on availability. Employees may provide their own masks. Employees are responsible for laundering the reusable masks supplied to them.
  • Students will be supplied with one branded, washable, reusable face covering, or they may provide their own. Students will be responsible for laundering the reusable face covering supplied to them.
  • In a limited number of locations (e.g., Health Center, fingerprinting station), the University may have disposable paper masks available.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety will manage PPE inventory and order critical PPE supplies (masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, thermometers, etc.).

  • Hand sanitizer will be available in common areas and main-floor elevator lobbies in all buildings.
  • Cleaning stations will be placed in public computer labs (Noss Hall, Manderino Library and residence halls). These stations have cleaning wipes for computers and tables, hand sanitizer and a trash receptacle.
  • Nurses, police officers, selected custodial staff and selected facilities staff will be fit-tested annually with respirator protection to ensure that front-line workers are protected in the event of a disease outbreak, chemical spill or other hazardous incident.

Social Distancing

Social distancing (sometimes called physical distancing) means keeping space between yourself and other people. The practice can help to stop the spread of disease through respiratory droplets that can carry viruses and other germs, including the coronavirus. The CDC and state Department of Health recommend keeping 6 feet away from others – about two arms’ length – to slow the spread of COVID-19.

For All

  • Individuals should remain 6 feet apart in high-traffic areas including checkout lines, building entrances and exits, interior doorways, ticket booths, ATM lines, etc.
  • No more than three (3) passengers at a time may occupy an elevator. Passengers must wear masks and wash or sanitize their hands after using the elevator. Those who are able should take the stairs whenever possible.

For Students

  • The number of computers in public labs at Noss Hall and Manderino Library will be reduced to create an acceptable distance between users.
  • Whenever possible, in-person classes/labs will be held in a space large enough to permit social distancing. Students should check their schedule for class locations.
  • Capacity limits may be established for spaces such as offices, conference rooms, break rooms, performance areas and common areas.

For Customer Service Staff
Examples of customer service staff include deans and office staff in academic departments, as well as staff in areas such as Admissions, Academic Affairs, Administration and Finance, Academic Records, Articulation and Transfer, Conference Services, Facilities, Financial Aid, Housing and Residence Life, Human Resources, Information Desk, Library Services, Mailroom, Payroll, PSECU, Purchasing, SAI, Student Accounts, Student Affairs, Student Success, University Technology Services (UTech), University Police and the Vulcan Learning Commons.

Customer service areas will:

  • Continue to provide and promote online/remote services, when feasible.
  • Provide social distance cues for high-traffic areas.
  • In key areas where social distancing is not feasible, use “sneeze screens” or plastic barriers to separate staff from visiting students, families and others, or use cubicle-type barriers in areas where privacy is needed.
  • Alternate/stagger staff to enable social distancing and reduce staff exposure.
  • Schedule appointments, when feasible, to keep groups from congregating at customer service windows.

Special procedures will be in effect for high-touch activities such as fingerprinting. These may include required temperature checks, masks and hand sanitizing for visitors; gloves, masks and faced shields for employees; and enhanced cleaning of equipment.

For Maintenance Staff

  • Masks must be worn when two or more employees share a University vehicle. Employees are required to sanitize campus vehicles and carts at the beginning and/or end of each shift.
  • Employees should limit the sharing of tools. Shared tools or other equipment should be wiped with a sanitizing agent before and after use.
  • Facilities staff must wear gloves when working in a student residence, in the Health Center or in food preparation areas. Custodial staff must wear gloves when using industrial-strength cleaning agents.
  • Where possible, employees should work alone. When this is not feasible, they should follow social distancing guidelines until further notice.


University Technology Services (UTech) will be available to assist students, faculty and staff with technology issues. Email or call 724-938-5911 to reach the UTech Helpesk.

  • UTech Desktop Services and Helpdesk staff will wear disposable gloves when working on computers, keyboards and other equipment.
  • Staff will wash hands or use hand sanitizer regularly, and use disinfecting wipes to clean surfaces, especially in customer service areas.
  • Staff in customer service areas will wear masks when interacting with students and employees.
  • Students who need to borrow a “loaner” laptop for the Fall 2020 semester may email the UTech Helpdesk ( to request an application.

Disinfectant will be available at campus print stations.


Vulcan Flyer Shuttles

The contractor will follow CDC guidance for public transportation regarding vehicle cleaning, social distancing requirements and rider protection, such as the wearing of face coverings or masks.

University Vehicles

Employees should ride alone in vehicles where operationally feasible if travel is required for work. Employees who normally have multiple employees in the vehicle due to safety or work standards should follow their agency-specific protocols.

  • If a driver is alone throughout the trip, a mask is needed only when interacting with others, such as at a tollbooth or drive-through window. If more than one person is in the vehicle, all occupants must wear masks.
  • Employees do not need to wear a mask if it impedes their vision, if they have a medical condition, or if it would create an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task.
  • Employees should limit stops when traveling between their home and worksite. Employees should wash their hands upon arrival at the worksite and prior to departing.

University vehicles will be sanitized daily or between each user, whichever is more frequent. 

The number of back-to-back bookings should be minimized to allow vehicles to be sanitized between uses.


All travel requests must be approved by the area Vice President and the University President, per the University’s travel policy.


Campus visitors must adhere to all health and safety measures in place throughout the University and its affiliate locations. This includes visitors to locations such as:

  • Academic buildings
  • Campus bookstore
  • Convocation Center
  • Dining facilities
  • Herron Recreation and Fitness Center
  • Kara Alumni House
  • Manderino Library
  • Natali Student Center
  • Parking areas
  • Performance spaces and backstage areas
  • Public spaces, indoors and outdoors
  • Residence halls
  • SAI Farm
  • Sports venues and training facilities
  • Vulcan Village
  • Welcome Center