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:

  • Contact tracing is being conducted when positive test results are reported.
  • Masks covering the nose and mouth are required indoors with a few exceptions. (ADA exceptions will be reviewed as needed). See our Masking Policy
  • 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.
  • Properly configured work spaces are available on campus for student use between in-person classes.
  • Visitors are welcome on campus and must be hosted by a student, faculty or staff member. See our Visitor Guidelines.

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

All university-affiliated global travel is suspended temporarily. We encourage you to review the CDC travel guidelines as you consider future global travel.

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.

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

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.

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

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’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

Dear Colleagues:

We are encouraged by the reduction of COVID-19 cases, the growing availability of vaccines, and assurance from elected officials that any adult who wants to be vaccinated should be eligible to do so by May 1. These developments are shaping our approach for fall, and we are planning for a return to in-person classes and expanded residential housing on our campuses.

The university remains committed to safe operations that support the health and well-being of the entire Widener community. We will continue to follow public health guidelines this fall as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which may include wearing masks and distancing.

One of the critically important things each of us can do to prepare for a successful fall semester is to get vaccinated against COVID-19. As vaccines are becoming more readily available, we are strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated as soon as it is possible. To assist, the university hopes to be able to offer a COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Main Campus in the coming weeks to enhance access for the Widener community.

I am very pleased to share an optimistic and hopeful message after a long year marked by disappointment and loss. Provided the positive trends with the virus and vaccinations continue, and there are no unforeseen public health setbacks, fall 2021 at Widener will be a much more familiar experience. I look forward to seeing you on campus!

With pride,
Julie E. Wollman, PhD

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 September 14, 2021 at 2:51 p.m. 

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