Spring break next steps

Message sent March 11, 2020

The Campus Emergency Response Team (CERT) sent following message to the community. It contains information on extended Spring Break through Sunday, March 22.

Dear Campus Community:

As announced yesterday, the College has extended Spring Break for students in response to the coronavirus through Sunday, March 22. The purpose of this email is to share important guidance and next steps. We recognize that this is a rapidly evolving situation and we are most grateful for our College community’s patience, understanding, and flexibility during this time.

First, and most importantly, we want to emphasize that there are no confirmed or suspected cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) at Gettysburg College or in our county.

The outbreak, which is affecting people across the world, presents a set of unprecedented questions. All of higher education is seeking the best possible answers in an uncertain context. The College has convened a dedicated group to lead our response to the outbreak, in consultation with senior leadership and others, with the health and safety of our community foremost in mind.

The group continues to address a set of pending issues. Chief among them is how the College should best continue to ensure that students will make academic progress in a safe and constructive learning environment. This requires an assessment of the implications of students returning to a residential environment or the appropriateness of moving to a remote learning for a period of time as some other institutions have done. While we are all still seeking to fully understand the magnitude and complexity of this unique situation in our world and in the College’s history, we are confident--with the help of our dedicated faculty and staff--that we will be able to provide a rich academic experience for our students in the months ahead.

Please remember to check the Gettysburg College Coronavirus information page for updates. We are committed to provide updates as often as appropriate, and no less frequently than every Monday.

Implications and Guidance for Extending Spring Break

The College understands that students were not expecting to have an extended break. Therefore, if students need to return to campus to gather essentials they should follow the guidance below. Beginning on Thursday, March 12 at noon, student access to residence halls will be limited to the student’s assigned hall so that we can limit interaction in support of social distancing as recommended by public health professionals. For those students who are currently on campus, please note that the only residence hall to which you will have access is yours.

As of noon tomorrow (March 12, 2020), anyone who needs to return to campus or needs to remain on campus must first fill out the My Housing Access Request Form on CNAV/MyHousing and receive approval. This registration form:

  1. Provides important medical information to Health Services;
  2. Serves as a notification to the College that you are returning to gather essential materials from your room and will return to your home immediately;
  3. Is the means to make a request to stay on campus for extenuating circumstances.

The registration must be approved by College Life and the Health Services before your return.

Any student who is permitted to remain on campus will be required to do a health screening and is expected to engage in social distancing practices such as avoiding large gatherings (more than 25 people).

Students who are NOT currently on campus

  • We encourage students who are away from campus for Spring Break to return home or remain home, including those with scheduled plans to return to Gettysburg.
  • If you need to return to campus briefly to pick up essential items, you will be permitted to do so. Please fill out the My Housing Access Request form on CNAV/MyHousing to let us know if you are planning to return for essential items. Please contact your Financial Aid advisor if you need financial assistance with returning to campus or to your home.

Students who have pre-scheduled College transportation to return to Gettysburg

  • You must amend your travel and make plans to remain at home or return home from a Spring Break destination.

Students currently on campus who can easily leave

  • If you are currently on campus, but have the ability to return home, we ask that you do so and to please take any essential belongings with you.
    Student athletes: please await further instruction from your coach.

Students who must remain on campus

  • We understand that not all students are able safely or feasibly to leave campus, perhaps because of travel restrictions and other extenuating circumstances. Students in this situation should seek approval to remain on campus through the My Housing Form. Unless circumstances make doing so unsafe, the College will continue to provide housing and dining for students who are unable to return home.
  • Please complete the My Housing Form and the Health Screening Form to provide Health Services with current health information. Students remaining on campus are encouraged to engage in social distancing practices such as avoiding large gatherings.

Campus events

Until further notice, the College is discouraging any and all non-essential large, College gatherings (of more than 25 people) that are not related to core academic activities. Please use your best judgment when deciding if your event should be postponed, canceled, or continue as scheduled. To aid in your decision making, consider if your event can be handled virtually and/or if your event is necessary for students to graduate or for employees to do their jobs.

Once a determination has been made, event organizers should notify event participants of their decision.

Updated Travel Guidance

  • All non-essential, work-related, off-campus travel, domestic or international, with or without students, is suspended until further notice. Any employee who feels that their travel is essential must fill out the travel request form and wait for approval from your Vice President or the Provost.
  • Please proceed with caution for personal travel in areas that are currently affected by the coronavirus. If you travel domestically to a state that has declared a state of emergency you must register your personal travel and receive approval before returning to campus.
  • All College shuttles and rental cars that have been reserved for travel have been suspended. Rental vehicles can be rescheduled pending travel approval via the request form.

Students who are Studying Abroad

Students who are studying abroad should continue with their programs unless told otherwise. The Center for Global Education will be in touch with students directly if there is a change in their program.

Public spaces

  • Identified dining facilities will be open for students and employees who are not able to leave campus.
  • Musselman Library will transition to card access only.
  • The Jaeger Center is closed effective immediately.

Visitors to Campus

  • The College asks that you reduce visitation by unaffiliated groups or people. When considering if a visitor should come to campus, please ask if the meeting can be held virtually and/or if the visitor is necessary to students graduating or are essential to employees fulfilling their job responsibilities or to the operation of the College.
  • Students who have been approved to remain on campus are not permitted to have overnight visitors.

College Employee Information

Other than for students on the extended spring break, the College is open and operating as business as usual. All faculty and staff should follow their normal schedules, unless otherwise notified.

Faculty and employees who are sick should remain at home and not report to work. Faculty and employees who are experiencing flu-like symptoms should not return to work until they have been fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.

If you have not accrued enough sick time, please be in touch with your supervisor to make arrangements.

Infection Control

Please continue to take reasonable and everyday actions to help prevent the spread of illness:

  • Voluntary Home Isolation: Stay home when you are sick with respiratory disease symptoms. At the present time, these symptoms are more likely due to influenza or other respiratory viruses than to the COVID-19-related virus. If you have a fever, you should be fever-free for 24 hours, without fever reducer, before returning to campus.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and rub your hands vigorously. Please use hand sanitizer stations that have been placed at key locations on campus.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Avoid shaking hands. Illnesses spread this way.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.

Facilities Services is following an increased protocol of disinfecting high traffic areas on campus. This includes more frequent disinfection of high touch point areas including door handles, drinking fountains, bathrooms, classrooms and common areas. During Spring Break, Housekeeping is spraying a disinfecting agent on surfaces throughout residence hall lounges, community bathrooms, and classrooms. The College will continue to ensure public bathrooms are stocked with hand soap and paper towels. Hand sanitizer stations will continue to be stocked as product availability allows.

Ongoing Planning

Leaders across the College are continuing to plan for the short- and long-term actions we need to take to best support the health and wellness of our community. Please note that this planning is proactive and designed to ensure that we will minimize disruptions should we have to make a significant adjustment in our day–to-day operations.

The College is committed to maintaining a supportive environment for all members of our community. Please do all that you can to promote a compassionate response to this global issue.

If you have questions, please reply to this email to be directed to the appropriate person.


Campus Emergency Response Team (CERT)