Impact of Governor Wolf’s directive on Messiah College and other FAQs 03.20.20

Note: Messiah College does not have any reported or confirmed cases of the COVID-2019 Novel Coronavirus as of the time and date of this posting.

The following information was added to the emergency response page today. We will continue to update as additional decisions are finalized.

How is Messiah impacted by Governor Wolf’s closure of all “non-essential businesses” in the state?

Messiah’s leadership has reviewed the governor’s March 19 directive and received communication from the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP). Accordingly, the College believes we are operating in compliance and good faith by already having made the decision to move our educational delivery online, and by sending the majority of our students and employees home to learn and work remotely.

Following spring break, we will have a very limited number of students residing on campus (primarily our international students). We will correspondingly have a limited amount of employees who will be on campus during this time whose primary role is to care for our remaining residential students and for critical campus infrastructure.

At this point, unless you are specifically scheduled to be on campus by your supervisor for this purpose, all campus employees are to be working from home and are not to come to campus until further notice. Moving forward, employee card access will be more restricted than it has been to date. Employees who have emergency need for entrance to campus facilities will need advance approval from their senior administrator and will then need to contact dispatch to gain entry to campus buildings. Employees should contact the senior administrator of their division with additional questions.

Likewise, students who are not approved to be living on campus this semester should not be on campus to visit other students or employees, be in campus buildings, etc. This is important for the safety of our campus community and for compliance with our state and national public health agencies. 

An additional impact of the governor’s directive was the restriction of construction-related contracted services, which means that the construction of the new Admissions and Welcome Center will be discontinued until further notice. (Although there a few contractors on campus who are finishing up some crucial repair work, as allowable under the governor’s directive.) The campus will receive additional information regarding the impact on the Admissions and Welcome Center project at a later time.

How is Messiah supporting students’ online educational success?

Messiah College is committed to supporting students as they move their educational experience online for the duration of the spring semester. We realize this may be a new experience for some students, and are providing a wide range of services and assistance to help students succeed in their online coursework and to stay connected to teaching faculty and other cocurricular educators.

View list of student support resources

What protocol would Messiah use if an employee or student tested positive for COVID-19?

Messiah College leadership is dedicated to caring for the public health of its campus and surrounding community. To that end, the College has established the following protocols and procedures if a student or employee were to test positive for COVID-19.

 Although the majority of our students and employees are working remotely, the College continues to have a small group of students and dedicated staff on campus.  As much as is humanly possible, these people need to be engaging in social distancing and vigilant good hygiene practices.  This means following the practices below:

  1. Avoid working closely together. Allow for 6 feet of distance as often as possible.
  2. Wipe down key-boards, phones, door handles, counter-tops and other work space frequently.
  3. Wash hands frequently – as in every time you change the area in which you are working, before eating, after visiting the restroom, after handling equipment, etc. In other words, every chance you get.
  4. Cover coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue/paper towels or your elbow.
  5. If you begin to feel unwell, contact the Engle Center and remove yourself from the company of others.

In addition to engaging in vigilant hygiene practices, the following protocols should be followed related to managing illness:

  1. If a student or employee believes that he/she has been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, he/she should call the Engle Center so that the Engle Center can help assess the situation. The Engle Center may recommend imposing a self-quarantine for 14 days.
  2. If a student or employee does not feel well and/or exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough and shortness of breath), he/she should immediately remove him/herself from the company of others and contact the Engle Center for assessment and instruction. The individual may be asked to make a list of all people with whom he/she had recent contact.  Additionally, the College will thoroughly clean the individual’s campus space. The Engle Center will provide specific direction on self-quarantine/isolation, but the student or employee should expect the duration to be no less than 14 days and until symptoms of the virus are completely resolved.
  3. If a student or employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, the individual must advise the Engle Center, if he/she has not already done so. The Engle Center will manage appropriate notifications, including working to notify those with whom the student or employee had contact. Anyone with a COVID-19 diagnosis is required to follow self-quarantine/isolation practices for no less than 14 days and until symptoms of the virus are completely resolved.