A Message from Student Affairs Vice President Segar About the Fall Semester

Posted on 8/7/2020 9:00:07 PM
Dear IUP Students,

I know that these last six months have been full of unknowns. You’ve been thrown curveball after curveball, and many of you have been shaken to your core. None of you deserve the disruption dealt to you due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please know that while I don’t know every one of your circumstances, I empathize with you. Some of you finished up a senior year of high school without a prom, senior trip, or graduation ceremony. Returning IUP students had their spring 2020 semester abruptly disrupted at spring break. Others, such as our own senior class of 2020, had their internships and college commencement ceremony postponed, only to be disappointed when we made the tough decision to move it to a virtual platform. We know that choices like this aren’t popular, and that they are very upsetting.  And although the actions we take do not reflect what any of us want, our decisions are rooted in what we believe will be best for your health and safety, and the health and safety of our employees and community.

It feels like an understatement to say that this week has been one of change. Just as you were adjusting to  the information set out in our fall 2020 plan announced on July 15, new concerns and information about the virus in our state and community forced  us to rethink our plans­­ – which is why you opened your email on August 5 to receive the plans for a Fall Rebalance. While much of the safety and health information is the same (wearing masks and social distancing), there is brand new information about course delivery for you to process. It’s a lot of change all at once, but necessary to rebalance our commitment to health and safety with our commitment to your educational success and progress.

We heard your shock, anger and disappointment, and we take your feelings very seriously. I understand that some of you are upset  about the decision to rebalance the look of the fall semester, while others are relieved  that the decision was made. Unfortunately, IUP, not unlike the rest of the country, has had to adapt to the unpredictable and ever-changing circumstances in which we find ourselves. So, while some of you may not be returning to class in-person, please know that my colleagues and I are here for you, and hope that you will continue to communicate with us – the good, the bad, and the ugly. We are here. We are listening. In the case that you need help from our professional counselors, please reach out to the Counseling Center.

Many people in the IUP family have gone above and beyond over these past several months, but I’d like to send a particular quick shout out to all of the members of SGA and GSA for their hard work over the summer. These students have often put their plans on hold for you – to answer questions, convey information, and to work to make your fall semester as fruitful as possible. Thank you. I also want to say thank you to all of the students who have been open and welcoming to their advice and programming.

While the fall rebalance was put into place to lessen the density of folks on campus, there are many campus resources – services, programs, facilities and opportunities – that are available to you to help your fall 2020 semester be enjoyable and successful. We need your continued help and support to make these programs, activities, and facilities available to you, now and for the future. We have received many inquiries about changes in fees for the fall semester. The Student Co-op reduced the Student Activity Fee by 17% beginning this academic year and more information can be found here. While we refunded a number of fees in the spring semester, we have made the decision not to restructure fees for the fall semester because services, programs and events will continue, technology needs are greater than ever, and facilities will be open and available to you. We know that this will not be a popular decision, but please know that without your support of these fees, as we all eventually return to campus, university services and facilities will not be available at the level you need and deserve now and in the future.

People who know me know that I am the perpetual optimist. I genuinely believe that is just a temporary interruption to the way of life at IUP that we love and miss. I eagerly look forward to the day when we can all gather together in the Oak Grove, shoulder to shoulder, not a socially distant six feet apart. I am confident that while these times have been difficult for all of us, and not what anyone wanted, we will be stronger because we made it through these challenges together, as a Crimson Hawk community.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us via iup-hawks@iup.edu.

P.S. Be safe and take care of yourself and each other – which means wear a mask, practice social distancing, stay away from large gatherings, and wash your hands. We will get through this together!

Respectfully,

Dr. Tom Segar
Vice President, Student Affairs

Resources, Facilities and Opportunities

  • The Counseling Center will be offering telehealth appointments over the fall semester. The hours of operation in the Center will be Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No walk-ins will be accepted at this time, but students can schedule an appointment by phone at 724-357-2621 or by email at counseling-center@iup.edu. Students not able to teleconference via their own equipment can arrange to reserve a room within the Center to receive the services they require. For after-hours emergencies, students should contact the 24-Hour County Crisis Help Line at 1-877-333-2470.
  • The Center for Multicultural Student Leadership and Engagement, located in Elkin Hall, will be modifying most of their fall programming to fit a virtual format, including the 6 O’clock Series. The facility will be open, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. As in all areas of campus and the community, students should follow proper social distancing practices and should wear masks should they need to meet within the Center.
  • For the fall semester, all varsity athletic competition has been postponed by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. The Athletic Department will be implementing a “Safe Return to Play” that outlines best practices to allow student athletes to train and work out safely to prepare for the spring semester starting in September, while following social distancing guidelines. Due to spacing and safety concerns, Memorial Fieldhouse will not be available for general public use and Zink Gyms will be used for academic scheduling only. Miller Stadium will be available for individual use but will not be scheduled for any organized activities for the fall semester.
  • The Student Co-op and Hadley Student Union Building will operate under limited capacity in the following ways:
    • The Co-op Store will be open Friday, August 14 and Saturday, August 15, from noon until 4:00 p.m. See the hours for the rest of the semester. Textbooks should be ordered online; pick-up will take place in the lobby outside of the store. Students can also choose the option to have their materials shipped to them. The store will be opening for anyone wanting to shop, but the store will operate at half capacity.
    • Most HUB meeting rooms have been equipped with Owl Pro cameras that capture 360-degree video and audio for a near-in person experience and allow for remote meetings. Individuals wanting to attend any meeting in person should follow social distancing and mask requirements. The rooms will be set up according to their size to allow for social distancing.
    • Lounge areas will have seating removed to ensure safe social distancing practices.
    • PNC Bank will be open and will accept students by appointment only. The three ATMs will be accessible and operational.
    • The HUB Fitness Center will be open during Welcome Week (August 17 to August 21) from 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wellness checks will be performed for any person looking to utilize the facility, and stations will be cleaned after each student’s use. It will operate under limited capacity to allow for appropriate social distancing guidelines. Throughout the regular semester, the hours are as follows:
      • Monday through Thursday: 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
      • Friday: 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
      • Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
      • Sunday: Closed
  • The Gym will be open for Group Fitness Sessions only. Group Fitness will continue virtually at no extra cost to the student, and an in-person schedule will be released within a week or two. For more information, visit @IUPCampusRec on Twitter/Instagram or email GQCR@iup.edu
  • The Hawk Hub Food Court will be open. Students should utilize the entrance near the Delaware Room.
  • STATIC programming will be primarily virtual. The programming schedule will be released soon.
  • Break Buses will not be available due to the inability to properly social distance.
  • Indigo Buses will be up and running for the fall semester.
  • The Department for Disability Access and Advising will be open during regular business hours, Monday-Friday, 8 am-4:30 pm. No walk-ins will be accepted at this time; students should schedule an appointment, which they can attend remotely. D2A2 can assist students with disabilities in connecting with their professors to ensure the best learning experience possible. To schedule an appointment, contact disability-access@iup.edu.
  • On-campus housing is available to any student who wishes to live on campus. Please contact the Housing Office at iup-housing@iup.edu. On Wednesday, August 6, all students should have received an email that outlines specifics about living on campus for the fall semester. Further questions can be directed to 724-357-2696 or via email at iup-housing@iup.edu. Students who do not wish to live on campus but who have signed a contract can have their contract voided by contacting the Housing Office before move-in.  Students should share their plans via the online form “Tell us your fall 2020 plans,” found on the Fall 2020 Housing page.
  • For Dining specifics, please visit the Fall 2020 Dining page. As with Housing, students who would like to cancel their meal plans can do so by contacting iup-dining@iup.edu. Students interested in signing up for a meal plan may do so via the MyIUP portal. IUP Dining has been working hard to ensure the safety of customers and employees as they prepare to open. Working within the CDC guidelines and through guidance of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (Food Licensing), Dining Services has created a comprehensive plan to ensure that we offer the safest program we can and continue to provide first-class food and service.
  • Health Services will provide most services that were available before COVID-19. In order to maintain the health and safety of our students, walk-in visits are discouraged but same-day appointments can be made by calling 724-357-2550. Students with questions or looking to make an appointment can also contact health-inquiry@iup.edu. The Center hours of operation are Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. As a reminder, COVID-19 testing is available for symptomatic students only.
  • The Food Pantry and Help Center will be open and will serve on and off-campus students. More specifics about hours of operation will be posted online.
  • The Student Support and Engagement Team (SSET) has been hard at work to set up the Guide program. All incoming freshmen students will be assigned a Guide who will follow them throughout their time at IUP. Guides will work as liaisons to assist you when you require campus resources. First-year students will hear from their Guide during Welcome Week. All upperclassmen are also able to take advantage of this program, should they require it. You can refer yourself or someone else that may need assistance by emailing iup-hawks@iup.edu. Additionally, SSET will continue its outreach efforts regarding programming to provide you with meaningful face-to-face and digital engagement opportunities.
  • Safety Kits will be available to all IUP students. They include hand sanitizer, washable cloth face coverings, a multi-use disposable forehead thermometer, facial tissues, and other items. Students who are not freshmen but are new to living on-campus will receive the Kit at their residence halls during check-in. First-year students will receive their Kit at the KCAC via the moving staging area. Students living off-campus can pick up their kits in Folger Hall on Saturday, August 22, through Tuesday, August 25, from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m.
  • Folger Hall will be open as a place for all students to study individually or in small groups. We invite all commuting students to campus to take advantage of this space as a home base while you are on campus during the school day. Bagged meals will be offered for lunch and dinner during the following days and times: Monday to Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.; and Friday 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The facility is closed on Saturday and Sunday.
  • The Hawks Q&A Center is a new resource at IUP. We are excited for the chance to assist you in offering seamless answers to your questions about anything concerning IUP. Please look for more information before the start of the semester.
  • The library will remain open to all students, with study spaces spaced out and limited to ensure social distancing. You’ll need to request the books you need at the front desk. Java City will be closed.
  • Computer labs will be available to all IUP students, as long as they follow guidelines for face coverings and social distancing. You may be required to make arrangements in advance to use a computer lab.