Coronavirus Information

Coronavirus Information

All university notifications about additional developments with the illness, Widener’s response to it, or any impact on university classes or operations, will be communicated here. 


Staying Safe 

Protect the Pride: Keeping Yourself and Others Safe (photo of mascot wearing mask)

Widener’s extensive safety plan includes:

  • When masks are necessary, they should cover the nose and mouth. (ADA exceptions will be reviewed as needed).  
  • Education about how to protect one’s own and others’ health on campus, reinforced by campus signage and clear community expectations.
  • Enhanced disinfecting of classrooms and buildings in accordance with CDC requirements for living, learning, and working.
  • Hand sanitizer is available in academic and administrative buildings, as well as hand sanitizer refill stations in key locations to refill personal sanitizer bottles.

Reporting Illness or Potential Exposure to Covid-19

If you start to exhibit any concerning symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or flu-like symptoms; believe you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must contact Student Health Services at (610) 499-1183 or studenthealth@widener.edu. They will work to connect you with the Department of Health and/or your medical provider. Additionally, they have the ability to communicate with people with whom you may have come into contact. Your name will not be shared with anyone.

Community alerts of positive case results are shared by email and do not identify names. Positive cases are reported on our online dashboard.

Additional Information

We encourage you to review the CDC travel guidelines as you consider university-affiliated global travel. The Center for Civic and Global Engagement can also provide support through information related to travel. Contact Chris Ebbers, director of Global Engagement at clebbers@widener.edu. 

Difficult circumstances can generate worry and anxiety. It is in trying times that we must recommit to the principles of We’re All Widener and dedicate ourselves to practicing compassion, respect and inclusion. We recognize no one group is responsible for the spread of this virus and we treat all members of our community – whose diverse backgrounds enrich our campus – as part of the Widener family. 

If you are a faculty/staff member or student who would like to report discrimination, please use the form (can be anonymous) on the:

Report It Page

For information on education, workshops, or programs, Chief Diversity Officer Micki Davis is available to all students, faculty, and staff. Reach her at mmdavis@widener.edu or (610) 499-4103.

Flexible Work Arrangement

Faculty and staff at all three campuses have returned to campus-based operations. Working remotely offered advantages to many during the pandemic and some employees have chosen to pursue flexible work arrangements available from the university.

If you are a non-exempt employee working remotely, overtime requires prior approval from your supervisor. You are required to take rest and meal breaks while working remotely in compliance with federal and state regulations. You must continue to complete web time entry. Managers will need to continue to review and approve time entry.

The university cannot be responsible for expenses associated with your remote work space.

Isolation & Quarantine Period Guidelines

The university is following CDC guidelines on isolation and quarantine periods. The recommendations are available on the CDC website.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status:

  • Stay home for five days.
  • If you have no symptoms after five days, or your symptoms are resolving, you may return to work.
  • Continue to wear your mask around others for another five days.

If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and you have been boosted, or you have completed the Pfizer or Moderna two-part vaccines within the last six months, or you have received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine within the last two months:

  • Wear a mask around others for 10 days.
  • Get tested on day five, if possible.
  • If you develop symptoms, get tested and stay home.

If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and you are unvaccinated, or you received the two-part Pfizer or Moderna vaccine more than six months ago but are not boosted, or you received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine more than two months ago and are not boosted:

  • Stay home for five days, then wear a mask around others for five more days.
  • If you cannot quarantine, wear a mask for 10 days.
  • Test on day five if possible.

If you test positive, contact Student Health Services at 610-499-1183.  All symptom management should be handled by your primary care provider. Widener will not require proof of a negative test for employees to return to work on campus.

Taking Time Off for Self-Quarantine or If You or a Family Member is Sick

Under Widener's COVID-related time-off policy:

  • The University will provide all employees with 14 additional sick days to be used in the event of self-quarantine or if you become ill with the virus. If an employee is absent beyond 14 days, the employee should contact human resources to apply for Family Medical Leave (FMLA) and Short-Term Disability (STD).
  • Employees may use accrued vacation or sick time if they are not able to work remotely to care for immediate family and household members who are not ill but need care due to any COVID-19 related closures of schools or day care centers, or for other breakdowns in care arrangements.

Employee Resources

  • The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available for employees who may feel stress and anxiety around these events.
  • Complete the Emergency Contact form in the tasks section of MyWidener.
  • Employees on Widener’s health insurance plan have access to Telemedicine in the event they cannot get to a medical provider and as a method for doctors to safely screen and treat patients for COVID-19. Members can visit MDLive and then click Activate Now. 

Additional Questions?

Please visit the Alumni website for helpful alumni resources and services, important information about events, as well as a multitude of ways you can help support students during this trying time. 

Widener Student Emergency Fund

The purpose of the Widener Student Emergency Fund is to assist undergraduate and graduate students in navigating unexpected financial dilemmas that may negatively impact their continued studies. These may include the loss of a job, a family crisis, a debilitating illness, or a major national crisis. The fund has been established with gifts from alumni and staff. Anyone interested in supporting Widener students in need may donate to the fund at any time.

Donate to the Widener Student Emergency Fund

Widener University received funds as a result of the CARES Act to support students with expenses related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during the Spring 2020 semester. Instead of requiring students to apply for funds, Widener is automatically sending Emergency Financial Aid Grants to those students who meet eligibility requirements. 

Learn More About CARES Act Funds 

In addition, Widener University received funds from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) also known as HEERF II. Widener is planning to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to those students who meet eligibility requirements.

Learn More About HEERF II Funds

Widener University also received funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) also know as HEERF III. Widener is planning to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to those students who meet eligibility requirements. 

Learn More About HEERF III Funds

Archive of Recent University Communications

Dear Widener Community,

We continue to closely monitor our campus communities’ COVID data.  Our very high vaccination and booster rates, very low COVID-19 infection rates with no serious illness reported, and continued low transmission rates in the regions around our three campuses are all favorable outcomes, allowing us to adjust masking guidelines for the start of summer sessions. 

Masks will be optional in nearly all locations on our campuses beginning on Monday, May 16. Masks will continue to be required inside all university healthcare clinics, including Student Health Services, but will no longer be required in any other indoor setting or in university vehicles. Students participating in learning experiences off campus should follow the masking policies of the organization.

Anyone who wishes to continue wearing a mask for any reason is encouraged to do so. Because “We’re all Widener,” we will respect individuals’ decisions and treat them with sensitivity.

Throughout the summer we will continue to closely monitor our campus case trends and community transmission rates. If numbers increase, it may require us to return to broader masking requirements based on these metrics and CDC guidance.

To assist with this monitoring, it is important to report if you have tested positive for COVID-19, or if you believe that you have been in contact with someone who has by contacting Student Health Services at (610) 499-1183 or studenthealth@widener.edu. And, continue to stay at home if you are sick or experiencing any symptoms of illness. 

I thank you all for your resilience during the last two years and for helping to protect the health of the Widener Pride. If you have any questions you may send an email to covid@widener.edu.

Warm regards,


Julie E. Wollman, PhD
President

Dear Widener Community,

After conversations with students, faculty and staff; review of Widener’s very high vaccination and booster rates and very low COVID-19 infection rates; CDC classification of low transmission rates in the regions around our three campuses; and careful consideration of CDC guidance on mask use, the university will begin a phased-in approach of easing mask requirements beginning Monday, March 21. On that date, which is two weeks after our return from spring break, Widener will move to mask-optional operations in most indoor spaces across our three campuses. This phase will be in effect through the spring semester.

During this time, masks will still be required in:

  • All in-person classes, labs and clinicals.
  • All university healthcare clinics including Student Health Services.
  • In university owned or rented vehicles when someone else is present.

We anticipate that some individuals taking part in one-on-one meetings will ask the person they are meeting with to wear a mask, or opt to meet on Zoom. Please continue to have a mask with you when on campus. Widener Partnership Charter School and the Child Development Center will be communicating their own policies separately from this message.

As long as health data remain favorable, the university will move to a second phase and ease requirements further at the start of the summer semester. At that time, masks could become optional everywhere except inside the Student Health Services office and other healthcare clinics.

We are sensitive to the fact that phase one represents a significant change. Anyone who wishes to continue wearing a mask is encouraged to do so. Some of us will likely continue to wear masks in certain situations and because “We’re all Widener” I am confident that choice will be respected.

If circumstances should change with the virus at any time, we will re-examine the policy and may return to more intensive masking requirements based on CDC guidance, local transmission rates, and our campus case trends.

Thank you for helping our university community successfully manage the past two plus years of the pandemic and for your understanding as we together welcome and adapt to significantly improving conditions. If you have any questions you may send an email to covid@widener.edu.

Warm regards,

Dr. Julie Wollman, PhD
President

Dear Widener Community,

As we look forward to returning to Widener’s campuses for the start of in-person classes next week, I want to thank you for your cooperation with our efforts to bring everyone together safely.

Compliance with our updated vaccination policy, including Widener’s booster requirement, is making it possible to resume in-person classes Monday, January 24 as planned. We will be welcoming back to campus:

  • All students and employees who are in compliance with our vaccination policy, including boosters, and have uploaded their updated vaccination card.
  • Fully vaccinated students and employees who are not yet eligible for a booster, but will be receiving the booster and uploading their updated vaccination card within one week of their eligibility.
  • Students and employees who have been granted an approved exemption from the policy.

For your convenience, Campus Safety will move all Main Campus identification card operations to the lobby of University Center from Monday, January 24 through Wednesday, January 26 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. They will help anyone who needs assistance uploading vaccination cards, addressing building access issues with their Widener identification card, or obtaining new identification cards. These operations will return to Lipka Hall under normal operating hours on Thursday, January 27.

Masks continue to be required indoors and we strongly recommend wearing an N95, KN95 or KF94 mask. We are purchasing a supply of these masks that will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis on all three campuses, for those who may have been unable to obtain them. Watch for a message about their availability. You may also choose to double mask, using both a cloth mask and a surgical mask for extra protection.

It is extremely encouraging to see decreasing infection statistics in Pennsylvania and Delaware this week, and while it is possible Widener may see an uptick in case numbers as we resume in-person classes, that should be temporary. It is important to remain vigilant by wearing your mask properly, washing your hands frequently, and staying home when you are ill.

If you haven’t already uploaded your updated vaccination card, please do so by today’s deadline at https://widener.medicatconnect.com/home.aspx. Sign in with your Widener credentials and follow the prompts.

Thank you for your patience with our remote start this spring. Now it’s time to come together for a productive semester!

I look forward to seeing you on campus,

Julie E. Wollman, PhD
President

Dear Widener Community,

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked OSHA’s COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandate that called for large employers to either require the COVID-19 vaccine, or test workers for the virus. Under the decision, workplaces like Widener may still choose to require their employees be vaccinated or test regularly. Yesterday’s action does not change Widener’s policy requiring vaccinations and boosters for our employees and students.

We adopted our vaccination and subsequent booster policy to help protect the health and well- being of our community. Vaccines and boosters have proven to reduce severity of illness and hospitalizations. And based on the CDC’s updated guidelines, anyone fully vaccinated and boosted is no longer required to quarantine after an exposure to someone with COVID if they continue to wear a mask for 10 days.

With every member of the university community compliant with our vaccination policy, we can minimize time lost and more effectively keep everyone learning, working, and engaging with one another in person on our vibrant campuses. If you have not received your booster and uploaded your updated card, please do so as soon as possible. The deadline is next Friday the 21st.

Although it has peaked in our region, as the omicron variant continues to spread, we anticipate that cases may increase with our return to in-person classes on January 24. We expect this increase to be temporary and not to disrupt our plan for in-person classes.

Masks are another important layer of protection and will continue to be required indoors on our campuses. We strongly recommend wearing an N95, KN95, or KF94 mask, or double masking with a cloth mask and a surgical mask. These options provide the best defense for you, and for everyone in our university community.

As always, you must stay home when you are sick or have any symptoms.

Health care is a personal responsibility and amid a public health crisis like COVID-19, it also becomes a community responsibility. We appreciate all you do to keep our community healthy and to allow us to return to the in-person experience we value so highly.

With pride,
Julie E. Wollman, PhD
President

Dear Widener Community,

I write to share important updates and requirements for the start of the spring 2022 semester.

COVID infections are rising rapidly in our region. As a result, with the health and safety of our campus communities as our top priority:

  1. All spring semester classes and nearly all labs normally held in person will begin remotely and remain remote through at least Sunday, January 23, 2022. Students, please check email regularly for communication from your professors. Students in clinicals, watch for a message today from your dean. Student-athletes, watch for a message today from the athletic director.
  2. All students and employees, who don’t already have an approved exemption for the spring 2022 semester, are required to receive a booster dose of the Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or any other World Health Organization approved vaccine and must upload their updated vaccination record card prior to January 21, 2022 to https://widener.medicatconnect.com/home.aspx. Upload a photo of your vaccine card including your booster information as soon as possible.
    If you are not yet eligible to receive the booster because it has been fewer than 6 months since your second dose of the vaccine, you are required to receive the booster dose and upload your proof of booster no more than 7 days after you become eligible.
  3. We will offer two vaccine booster clinics on the Main Campus in Chester: one on Thursday, January 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and one on Friday, January 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. These clinics will be open to all students, employees, and family members from all campuses. Register here. 
  4. Essential employees, and some employees in facilities remaining open, are expected to report to campus during the period of remote classes. All other employees may work remotely until they resume their regular work arrangement on January 24. If you are unsure of your situation please consult your manager. Masks covering the nose and mouth while indoors will continue to be required. 

These decisions have been made after careful study of the scientific research to date and with the expert guidance of the university’s Health Advisory Team, for the health and safety of our campus community. 

I wish you the very best as 2022 begins and look forward to coming back together fully in person as cases subside and our Widener community has had time to receive vaccine boosters. Collectively, we have worked hard and very successfully to mitigate virus transmission and we will continue to do so in the new year. Thank you!

Warm regards,

Julie E. Wollman, PhD
President
Widener University

Dear Widener Community,

As we all know, the Omicron COVID variant is causing a spike in cases in many US communities. Experts anticipate increasing cases throughout the winter holidays.

Our Health Advisory Team continues to meet regularly, and university leaders also continue to monitor the course of the pandemic daily so that we can make decisions in the best interest of our Widener community. Throughout the winter break we will continue to examine the data and expert recommendations to determine the safest response for the spring semester and if any changes need to be made to our plans and campus mitigation strategies.

While there is much that we do not know about Omicron, what we do know is that people who are vaccinated and received the booster are less likely to get the virus, less likely to have serious disease, and less likely to transmit the virus. If you have not done so already, I strongly urge you to get a booster dose immediately.  

We also know that other preventive measures help slow the spread of the virus. For the health of our community, I encourage you to:

  • Wear a mask anytime you are in indoor public settings;
  • Maintain distance from other people when possible;
  • Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face;
  • Avoid large gatherings, particularly with people who may not be vaccinated;
  • Monitor your health for any symptoms of COVID. 

Our university community has done a remarkable job of keeping each other safe this fall semester. Thank you for your commitment and diligence. As we enter this new wave of the pandemic, please remain vigilant and prioritize your health and the health of others.

Monitor your email frequently. If it becomes necessary to make changes in our pandemic response for the start of the spring semester, we will announce that to all members of our university community via email as soon as decisions are made and no later than January 1st.

I wish you a wonderful and safe winter break despite the latest setback brought on by Omicron. Living through this pandemic for nearly two years has been draining and challenging for all of us. I hope that you take this time to recharge and to enjoy safe gatherings with loved ones.

Warm regards,
Julie E. Wollman, PhD
President

Dear Widener Community,

We’ve crossed the two-week mark of the fall semester and I want to thank everyone for contributing to a very positive start. It is great to be back together! Widener is a highly vaccinated community.  More than 97% of our entire campus community is vaccinated, and others either have approved exemptions or are on leave. Our entire on-campus student vaccination rate is 98.2 percent and our entire on-campus employee vaccination rate is 94.4 percent.  With the addition of our masking policy, we are one of the few institutions that are providing this strong combination of safety measures to protect students, faculty, and staff against COVID-19 and its variants.

While national infection rates are at concerning levels, it is important to remember public health information has shown the majority of those testing positive and experiencing serious illness are unvaccinated.

Throughout the pandemic, Widener has experienced zero cases of classroom transmission of the virus.  In the first two weeks of this semester, we have posted just six positive cases in total from our three campuses; none involved classroom transmission. We attribute this low number to our careful planning and our commitment to the health and well-being of our community.

We recognize positive and breakthrough cases are an unsettling reality, and we are prepared to handle them. Anyone who tests positive must contact Student Health Services immediately. Student Health Services will conduct contact tracing and reach out to close contacts of those who test positive, while keeping health status confidential for all involved. Close contacts will also be offered testing and provided more instruction. The university is prepared with space dedicated for student isolation and quarantine if needed. 

Widener develops its COVID-19-related plans by carefully monitoring information coming from the Centers for Disease Control and health departments in Pennsylvania and Delaware, where our campuses are located.  We rely on input from our Health Advisory Group, comprised by public health experts and our Crisis Management Team, Provost’s Council, President’s Leadership Team, Education and Enforcement Group, and multiple task forces that have included faculty and staff, an industrial hygienist, and students. Our efforts are tireless, and ongoing.

As this work continues, we encourage on-campus events and activities to be held outdoors whenever possible. And we’re asking that everyone in the Widener community also does their part. Stay home if you are sick. Wash your hands. Follow our masking policy, which is explained in detail on our website and will be updated there if changes are made. Seek testing if you feel ill, or if you are identified as a close contact of someone who is.

Our goal is to provide the most robust in-person learning experience possible under challenging circumstances that are constantly evolving. I am grateful for your cooperation and your commitment to keeping our Widener community safe.

With Pride,
Julie E. Wollman, PhD
President

Dear Colleagues and Students,

As of this morning, both our main campus in Chester and our Delaware Law School campus in Wilmington are now in counties with a “substantial” level of community transmission of COVID-19 as defined by the CDC. Commonwealth Law School in Harrisburg is in a county that still has “moderate” transmission. This news about Chester and Wilmington is disappointing, but as we have throughout the pandemic, we will follow CDC guidance.

As a result, effective immediately and until further notice, everyone on our main and Delaware Law campuses will be required to wear a mask indoors. When they are alone in their offices, or in a space with no other people nearby, or when dining, staff and faculty members may remove their masks. Students may remove their masks in their residence hall rooms and while dining.

We will allow visitors to the university, however all visitors must be hosted by a student, faculty, or staff member and be reminded by their hosts of our mask requirement. We will not permit external overnight guests in the residence halls. 

These same guidelines will apply to Commonwealth Law School if Dauphin County moves to “substantial” or “high” community spread.

We are monitoring the situation very carefully and will make additional updates to our policies if they are necessary to support the health and vitality of our community. I will continue to communicate any changes to the campus community through email.

I recognize that this is a troubling development; we have worked very hard as a university community to stop the spread of the virus and we continue to do so. At some point, perhaps in the near future, our regional rates will improve and we will be able to safely remove some or all of these requirements and restrictions. As always, the health of our campus community and your loved ones is of paramount importance.

Thank you for your patience and your attention to these new policies,

Julie E. Wollman, PhD
President

Dear Students:

As we prepare to return to in-person classes and operations for the fall semester, Widener University is establishing a COVID-19 vaccination policy that requires all faculty, staff, and students who will be on our campuses to become fully vaccinated by August 2. Our goal is that all members of the Pride may safely experience Widener’s hands-on, inclusive, and personalized learning environment in person.

Widespread vaccination will help us return to the robust campus experiences we enjoyed before the pandemic, both in and out of the classroom. It will allow us to eliminate our masking and distancing policies this fall. It will allow more of our students to attend in-person events, play intramural sports, dine at the same table with friends, attend performances, cheer for our student athletes, and most importantly, have more in-person interactions with their classmates and faculty.

Please do not wait to get vaccinated. Everyone who is not enrolled or teaching in a fully online program must upload their completed COVID-19 vaccination record by August 2. You will be considered fully vaccinated after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine, or after one dose of the single-dose vaccine.

To upload your completed vaccination record, visit widener.medicatconnect.com/home.aspx and sign in with your Widener credentials. To upload your record, click upload and select the appropriate file. If you have already completed this process, you do not need to do it again. If you need assistance accessing the vaccine, please email covid@widener.edu for information about resources in your local area.

Exceptions to the vaccination policy will be considered only for documented medical conditions. Questions regarding student medical exemptions can be directed to Student Health Services at (610) 499-1183. Students enrolled in fully online degree programs and individuals participating in online-only continuing education programs will not be required to adhere to the policy, but are still strongly encouraged to become vaccinated.

If you have questions about the vaccination policy, a list of frequently asked questions is available on MyWidener and at www.widener.edu/coronavirus. You may also direct questions to covid@widener.edu.

I thank you all for your participation in creating a safe working and learning environment. I look forward with excitement to the upcoming fall semester and a return to the vibrancy that we all enjoy on our main and law campuses.

With pride,
Julie E. Wollman, PhD
President

Disclaimer
COVID-19 or other pandemics or epidemics may impact the learning experience in unpredictable ways.  The University reserves the right at all times to cancel, suspend or delay all or any classes or programs provided by the University, to transition all or any classes or programs to an online or hybrid format, closing campus facilities, or to take any other measures that the University deems necessary in order to protect the health and safety of University community members and/or to comply with health and safety laws, orders, ordinances, regulations, and health and safety guidance issued by local, state and national public health officials.


This page was last updated Sept. 26 at 2:25 p.m. 

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