Staying safe this holiday season

Message sent on November 12, 2020

Jennifer Lucas, Co-Director of Human Resources, shares tips for staying safe during the holiday season.

Dear Faculty and Staff,

The holiday season is quickly approaching and I imagine we are all looking forward to some rest and relaxation over the next few weeks. Unfortunately, due to the rise of COVID-19 cases across the country, our traditional gatherings with friends and loved ones may look substantially different than in previous years.

The CDC offers some helpful guidance on their website to slow the spread of COVID-19 at our holiday gatherings. Wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing, handwashing, staying home when we are sick, and limiting time indoors are all measures that will slow the spread of COVID-19 and help keep our friends and families safe and healthy this holiday season.

The CDC suggests some lower-risk activities, which still allow us the opportunity to connect with our family and friends:

  • Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household.
  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others.
  • Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family.
  • Shopping online rather than in person.
  • Watching sporting events, parades, and movies from home.

As much as we would like to be together in person, please keep in mind that the risk of spreading COVID-19 to our loved ones increases when we gather with people outside of our immediate household.

Additionally, the CDC includes some helpful tips for people who plan to travel during the pandemic. As a gentle reminder, if an employee travels to an area with high amounts of COVID-19 cases (as defined on Governor Wolf’s website), they must adhere to the following Gettysburg College protocols:

If the employee has NO symptoms:

  • Work remotely for 14 days, if possible.
  • If the employee is not able to work remotely, they can return to work as long as they:
    • Adhere to the practice of no close contact (adequate physical distancing in common and personal areas, etc.);
    • Wear a mask or face covering at all times and in all scenarios;
    • Utilize full hygiene and cleaning protocols for 14 days upon return (cleaning your personal space and all spaces you have occupied);
    • OR supply a negative COVID-19 test result.

If the employee has ANY symptoms:

  • Employees should contact their physician. Employees are encouraged to use telemedicine (video and phone visits) in order to limit potential exposure in physician offices. Follow your healthcare provider’s advice regarding testing, isolation, or quarantine.
  • Stay home. Do not come to work.
  • Employees may not return until all symptoms have passed and they have been fever-free for at least 72 hours.
  • Notify their supervisor immediately and discuss the possibility for remote work, if possible. Self-quarantine until they are cleared by their physician. If your doctor recommends that you are tested for COVID-19, inform the Human Resources Office.

We appreciate your continued efforts to follow all necessary precautions to keep our fellow Gettysburgians safe and healthy. Employees should isolate when they are sick, wear masks and face coverings on campus, and continue to maintain physical distance. Let’s not let our guard down over the next several weeks and months.

In the spirit of giving thanks, I am grateful to be a member of this wonderful campus community.

Please continue to stay safe during this upcoming holiday season.


Jennifer Lucas, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Co-Director of Human Resources
Gettysburg College