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 This Spring

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

Widener’s extensive safety plan includes:

  • Students who will be living on campus or will be on campus one day per week or more for any reason are required to receive regular COVID-19 tests and will have access to an app to receive reminders and schedule testing. Only those who are in compliance and have negative test results will be permitted access to campus.
  • Students planning to occasionally visit campus to use a campus amenity, such as the library or University Center, will need to be tested before they will be admitted.
  • Once you have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, you will be exempt from the testing protocol if you upload confirmation of your vaccine to the secure university system at https://widener.medicatconnect.com/, click the upload button and follow the instructions.
  • Contact tracing is being conducted with the assistance of public health officials.
  • Masks covering the nose and mouth are required indoors and outdoors at all times. (ADA exceptions will be reviewed as needed). See our Face Covering Policy
  • Social distancing is required in all campus spaces.
  • 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 that exceeds 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.
  • Meetings and events are not taking place in person, except for approved instruction.
  • Even if meeting participants are on campus, one-on-one and larger meetings are being held electronically; individuals are not gathering in offices or meeting rooms.
  • Unless it is not possible, staff are working remotely. Academic deans and area supervisors provide necessary individual guidance.
  • Offices that must be staffed are staffed in shifts to reduce density.
  • We are not hosting visitors on campus, with the exception of official, scheduled individual or small group student recruiting that maintains required precautions.
  • Faculty and staff attend meetings off campus only through electronic means.
  • Anyone experiencing symptoms, anyone testing positive for COVID-19, or anyone who has been in close contact (within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes) with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 must follow mandated quarantine/isolation requirements.

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 with you to connect you with the Department of Health and/or your medical provider. Additionally, they will 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.

Health & Safety Plan for PA Dept of Education

The Pennsylvania Department of Education required Pennsylvania postsecondary education institutions to publish a “Health and Safety Plan” before resuming in-person operations. See Widener's Health and Safety Plan 

Additional Information

Counseling & Psychological Services

We are living in stressful and uncertain times. Our Counseling and Psychological Services is available by telephone (610-499-1261) and email during regular business hours (Mon-Fri, 9-5 p.m.) until further notice.

Non-essential travel is not recommended at this time. If a student does travel, it may impede their academic progression, based on the academic and professional requirements of their program. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their academic dean prior to making travel arrangements.

In accordance with CDC guidelines, 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.

The university has assembled a collection of Frequently Asked Questions to assist faculty and staff as we maneuver the changing landscape. See FAQs on My Widener. 

We are observing strict distancing requirements; therefore, all faculty and staff who are able to work from home should continue to do so. If you plan to report to campus, please check with your supervisor. 

If you are a non-exempt employee working remotely, you are required to work your regular work hours. 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.

Resources for Working Remotely

  • "KEEP WORKING" Website: This site provides you with a one-stop location for information relevant to working remotely. 
  • Loaner Equipment: We are not offering loaner laptops (or printers, scanners, etc.) for working remotely. 
  • ITS HelpDesk Support: ITS HelpDesk 24/7 Support is still available, via QuickTicket submission or by phone at 610-499-1047. 
  • In addition to the KEEP WORKING site, we have built KEEP LEARNING (student-focused) and KEEP TEACHING (all faculty).  These can all be found on myWidener.edu using the search word “KEEP”.

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?

Faculty and staff should check their email for further information and updates.

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

 

The Widener Student Emergency Fund was established 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. Funds have been made available through the donations of alumni, faculty, staff, and friends and the availability of awards is dependent on the balance of the fund.

Apply for Assistance

Archive of Recent University Communications

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

Dear Widener Community,

As the days get longer and warmer, hopeful thoughts turn to summer and the possibilities of more active and social lives. We are encouraged by government estimates that ample supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine may be available by late spring or early summer.

We are continuing to plan for the summer and fall semesters, and will be releasing details about summer operations in the coming weeks. We expect to safely expand on-campus summer classes and activities, and offer in-person research experiences by keeping COVID-19 testing, masking, and distancing in place.

As we plan, we are mindful that Widener has not experienced virus transmission in our in-person classes during fall or spring, nor have we seen a notable employee-to-employee spread. This is a testament to our community’s commitment to making smart and safe choices to protect ourselves and each other.

I am optimistic that we will welcome far more people back to campus this fall to a vibrant and active campus community, as we monitor the increasing distribution of vaccines.

We have reached the one-year mark of life in this pandemic and I am moved by the strength of our Widener community. We have maneuvered through ever-changing circumstances that repeatedly presented sizable challenges. We have weathered disappointment, loss, and uncertainty with grace, courage and determination. And now, with widespread vaccination on the horizon, there is good reason for hope.

With Pride,
Julie E. Wollman, PhD

Dear Students,

As final exams conclude, the university is sharing steps you need to complete during winter break to prepare for a successful start to the spring semester.

Widener will add a comprehensive testing program to our existing safety policies that include mask use, social distancing, hand hygiene and a commitment to stay home if you experience fever or other COVID-19 symptoms. Before the semester starts, all students who will be living on campus or will be on campus one day per week or more for any reason during spring semester must:

  1. Determine the date you will return to campus.
  2. Self-quarantine for two weeks (14 days) prior to that return date.
  3. Update your personal email address and phone number in the Widener Self-Service User Profile, which will be used by the university’s contact-tracing team in the event they need to contact you.
  4. Download the Aura – Sequential Testing and Certification app. It has a gold and black wreath-shaped avatar.  You will receive more information via email in early January to begin using the app.
  5. Complete an initial COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to your planned return date. You may do this at either an on- or off-campus testing site. If you use an off-campus site you must upload your results to our secure university system to confirm your negative status. To do that, visit the patient portal at https://widener.medicatconnect.com/, click the upload button and follow the instructions. This is the only phase of testing where Widener will accept results from an off-campus testing site.

If you are able to visit campus in the 72-hour-prior-to-arrival window, on-campus nasal swab testing will be available at no cost to all students, faculty and staff beginning in early January. You may schedule this through the Aura app, which will list campus testing locations.

Widener strongly encourages students to opt-in to receive text message updates from Student Health Services. To opt-in:

  1. Visit the patient portal at https://widener.medicatconnect.com/.
  2. Find your name at the top right of the screen and selected “Edit Your Profile.”
  3. Add or edit in your cell number and check the box to receive text message reminders.
  4. Click “save.”

Student Health Services will contact anyone with positive test results to determine next steps.

Students must have a negative test result before they may gain access to campus. All students will be retested when they arrive for the start of spring semester and then participate in our ongoing testing program. This will include weekly tests for most students, and testing three times per week for some student athletes participating in sports designated as high-risk by NCAA guidelines.

The Coronavirus page on the website will be updated over the break to answer frequently asked questions and provide detailed information about testing procedures that will be in place for spring.

Please contact us at covid@widener.edu with questions.

Sincerely,
Ellen DeLuca, CRNP
Director, Student Health Services

Dear colleagues and students:

I am writing to share more information about Widener’s spring return-to-campus plan. The recent rapid rise of COVID-19 cases in our region, our state, and across the nation is concerning. We are continually monitoring the pandemic and will update you on any impact that state or local guidance or requirements may have on our plans.

Safely welcoming more students to Main Campus this spring continues to be our goal and our law schools will continue to offer all remote instruction. We are finalizing a contract with a company that will allow us to introduce a robust COVID-19 testing program. We have received helpful advice from universities that have successfully implemented similar programs, and while these testing programs require complex logistics, they have been effective at minimizing virus spread on other campuses.

Our spring testing plan includes the following:

  • All students returning to campus will be required to self-quarantine for two weeks (14 days) prior to their arrival.
  • Students must get a COVID-19 test and receive a negative result before returning to campus to live, take classes, or participate in any activities on campus. 
  • Students who will be on campus for any reason are required to receive regular COVID-19 tests, provided by the university with no out-of-pocket costs.
  • Student athletes will follow NCAA testing guidelines and state masking guidelines for safely practicing and for competing if the MAC allows competition.
  • Faculty and staff returning to campus will also be required to participate in our regular testing program, provided by the university with no out-of-pocket costs.
  • Following current state guidelines, offices will be staffed remotely if at all possible.

To assist the Widener community in gaining access to campus, Campus Clear will be replaced with Aura, an app that will track test results and compliance, provide users with convenient reminders when testing is required, and connect to the Widener ID to grant building access only to those compliant with the testing protocols.

More detailed information about the testing program, as well as procedures guiding on-campus housing, dining, facilities, and activities will be communicated in the coming weeks and posted on the Coronavirus website. Regular updates on positive cases in the Widener community, as well as data from our testing program, will continue to be posted on our website dashboard.

In addition to our testing program, we will significantly expand contact tracing resources this spring to further mitigate virus spread on campus. It is vital to the success of our return-to-campus plan, and it is a state mandate, that masks and social distancing are required at all times on campus.

Widener’s investment in testing, and in this plan, is key to keeping health and safety our top priority as we increase the number of in-person and hybrid classes and welcome more students to campus. We will continue to follow state guidelines for remote work and will hold all meetings virtually with the exception of approved classes, labs, clinical experiences, and activities.

We need your investment, too! The plan requires cooperation from all members of our community to be successful. Contact us at covid@widener.edu with questions and remember that further details will follow.

I look forward to working together to begin a safe return to campus this spring.

With pride,

Julie E. Wollman, PhD
President

Dear Students and Colleagues,

I am writing to share Widener’s plans for the spring semester. Many details are still in development and may be updated as we continue to monitor the evolving nature of the pandemic.

Fortunately, COVID-19 test availability has significantly improved, as has the time it takes to process and report results. We are developing a comprehensive testing program that will allow more of the Widener community to return to campus. With an entry and surveillance testing program in place that was developed with public health experts, we intend to expand the number of in-person undergraduate classes and offer on-campus housing to additional students this spring. Most graduate courses will continue to be offered remotely.

All students, faculty, and staff who come to or live on campus will be required to follow our testing protocol and participate in a robust contact tracing process. These safety measures, layered with mandatory indoor and outdoor mask use, strict social distancing, daily health tracking and reporting of symptoms, and frequent handwashing, should help us maintain low infection rates on campus.

To the greatest extent possible, university employees will continue working remotely this spring to keep campus population density down so student presence can be our priority. Our faculty and staff commitment to student success throughout the pandemic has been unwavering.

We will begin the spring semester on Tuesday, January 19 to allow members of the Widener community to quarantine between the New Year holiday and their return to campus. In order to maintain the scheduled semester end date, the university will not take a spring break. This will help to reduce potential virus transmission related to spring break travel.

When registration begins on November 2, students will be able to view the format for every course: in-person, hybrid, or remote instruction. We plan to expand in-person courses, but students will continue to have the option to choose remote instruction, with the exception of some clinical experiences where in-person instruction may be necessary.

We plan to expand the number of students living in single rooms in our residence halls this spring; interested students must complete the housing application in MyWidener by November 16. We will have space for all first-year undergraduates who wish to live on campus, as well as rooms available for returning sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

We are working to ensure our first-year students have some in-person classroom experiences, as well as safe, socially distanced activities on campus. We are also planning for athletic team workouts, but it may be some weeks until our athletic conference determines whether our students will engage in competition.

I know you may have additional questions as we continue to finalize plans for the spring semester. Many answers are available now in our frequently-asked-questions documents in MyWidener and on the Coronavirus page of the Widener website. More will be added as preparations are finalized and I strongly encourage you to monitor your Widener email daily for announcements and updates, including details about testing requirements as they are finalized. You may also reply to covid@widener.edu with any questions.

While we must remain vigilant about our community’s health and safety during the pandemic, it is encouraging to announce these steps toward a more populated and vibrant campus. Stay well!

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 March 26, 2021 at 12:04 p.m. 

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