COVID-19 Fall Planning Group Provides Update on Fall Plans

Posted on 6/16/21 1:08 PM

As announced in February, IUP is planning to return fully to face-to-face instruction for fall 2021, with the intention of providing the best educational experiences for students while following Centers for Disease Control and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines for health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Conditions will continue to be monitored; plans will change if conditions and/or CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines change.

While mitigation measures for the summer sessions remain unchanged, the following changes are planned for the fall semester:

  • Employees, students, and visitors are no longer required to wear masks while outdoors on campus. It is recommended that people who are not fully vaccinated wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people.

  • Masking will be required indoors and on IndiGo buses to help ensure the safety of a mixed population of those who have and who have not been fully vaccinated.

  • Social distancing will not be required.

  • IUP classrooms and other meeting areas will be returned to their original pre-pandemic configurations (no social distancing).

These decisions are based on several factors, including:

  • All State System of Higher Education institutions are not legally permitted to require vaccinations of students or employees. Institutions are not permitted to ask the vaccination status of an employee, student, or visitor, so we remain unsure of the COVID-19 vaccination rate of IUP employees and students.

  • CDC “Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) Where Not Everyone is Fully Vaccinated,” resulting in a mixed population of individuals who are fully vaccinated and people who are not fully vaccinated on campus.

    • o “Fully vaccinated” means it has been two weeks since receiving the second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

  • Monitoring COVID-19 vaccination rates. As of June 15, the Indiana County COVID-19 vaccination rate (fully vaccinated people age 18 and older) is 36 percent, and Pennsylvania's COVD-19 vaccination rate (fully vaccinated people age 18 and older) is 44.1 percent, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. National COVID-19 vaccination rates (fully vaccinated adults age 18 and older) is 43.9 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

To help the IUP community stay safe and well, several COVID-19 mitigation efforts introduced in the spring 2021 semester will continue in the fall 2021 semester, as listed below:

  • COVID-19 vaccines will be available, free of charge, for students at the IUP Health Service.

  • Free asymptomatic testing will be available on campus for students; a number of community sites provide free COVID-19 testing.

  • Symptomatic testing for students will be available at the IUP Health Service.

  • IUP will continue to monitor COVID-19 test results and will notify close contacts of individuals who test positive for the coronavirus.

  • If you have been identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 positive person, you will be contacted by IUP via text or email. Students who are contacted will be advised to consult with the IUP Health Service for instruction and additional testing.

  • On-campus residence hall space will be provided to students who are positive for COVID-19 or presumed positive and who have been advised to self-isolate.

  • Following CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidance, individuals who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 and who are exposed to the virus will be advised by IUP health professionals to self-quarantine. Individuals who are fully vaccinated will not be required to self-quarantine as long as they are asymptomatic.

  • No proof of vaccination will be required of employees, students, or visitors.

  • No employee or student should ask colleagues, students, or visitors about COVID-19 vaccination status.

  • Information about COVID-19 positive cases will be shared on the IUP website.

We will continue to provide updated information on mitigation efforts and other important news on the COVID-19 Response Plan website. We also will send emails with updates as any new decisions are made.

Thank you for your continued efforts to keep the IUP community safe and well.