Royals Back Together

A Safe, Healthy Campus

All students, faculty, staff and authorized visitors on campus must abide by the following, as required by the University and in keeping with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). 

The University’s plans are aligned with the CDC recommendations for a fully vaccinated campus. The CDC’s updated guidance for fully vaccinated campuses places the burden of determining the approach to unvaccinated individuals with the institution of higher education (IHE):

Some students, faculty, or staff might not be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine due to medical or other conditions. IHEs will need to determine prevention strategies, accommodations, and policies for any students, faculty, or staff who cannot be vaccinated.

  • The CDC recommends a layered approach that considers the following factors:
    • level of community transmission;
    • vaccination levels of faculty, staff and students;
    • robust and frequent screening with “high participation from the unvaccinated”;
    • and local outbreaks or trends.

Protocols for Vaccinated Members of the Community

The CDC issued guidance for vaccinated individuals in late June based on their findings that COVID-19 vaccines are “…effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death”, and that vaccines “…reduce the risk of people spreading COVID-19.”  

The following protocols for fully vaccinated members of the University community follow CDC recommendations: 

  • Fully vaccinated individuals can resume activities as they did prior to the pandemic without staying six feet apart unless otherwise required.
  • Indoors: Masks are required for all indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status for students, employees, visitors and guests (e.g. contractors, etc.).
    • Employees isolated in their personal office space or work area, when unshared with any other colleagues, do not need to wear a mask. However, when employees leave their individual office or work areas or have invited colleagues into their office, they must wear a mask. Staff in shared office areas must wear masks.
    • Masks are not required when students are alone in study rooms.
    • Students in University residence halls must follow the guidance provided on the following webpage: Face Coverings in Residence Halls.
  • Outdoors: Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear masks outside. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission if you choose to do so. The CDC especially recommends mask wearing if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.
Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to participate in campus-based surveillance testing. Vaccinated students are not required to provide a negative test prior to their return to campus.

Fully vaccinated individuals who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 should get tested 3-5 days after exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms. They must also wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until a test result is negative. Fully vaccinated employees who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 must contact the Office of Human Resources at 570-941-7767.

Fully vaccinated individuals who experience COVID-19 symptoms and/or test positive must contact Student Health Services (students) at 570-941-7667 or Human Resources (employees) at 570-941-7767. Student Life and Human Resources will undertake contact tracing as needed. Individuals should isolate themselves from others as directed by the contact tracer.

  • Vaccinated students who test positive for COVID-19 and are required to isolate must do so off-campus. The University will temporarily accommodate residential students who need to isolate as they solidify their off-campus isolation plan. Employees should isolate in their private residence.
  • Faculty members are notified automatically when vaccinated students assisted through Student Health Services are unable to attend class due to isolation.

Protocols for Unvaccinated Members of the Community with an Approved Exemption

The CDC acknowledges that even fully vaccinated campuses will have members who are not vaccinated. The following protocols for unvaccinated members of the University community follow CDC recommendations:

Generally, unvaccinated individuals with an approved exemption (i.e. students and employees) can participate in classes, events and activities so long as they follow the requirements below. As an added safety precaution, unvaccinated individuals may be restricted from specific activities, events or programs.

All unvaccinated students with an approved exemption (undergraduate and on-campus graduate) must submit a recent negative COVID-19 PCR test result (or a positive result on or after May 30, 2021) via their Student Health Portal in order to be permitted access to campus. This applies to unvaccinated residential, commuting, and off-campus students with approved exemptions who will come to campus this semester.

All COVID-19 tests must be PCR tests, and be dated as follows:

  • First-Year Residential and Commuting students - On or after August 24, 2021
  • Returning residential students – On or after August 25, 2021
  • Returning commuter and off-campus students – On or after August 26, 2021
  • Returning or first-year students approved for early arrival should be tested within 72 hours of their expected arrival date.

All unvaccinated individuals must wear masks while indoors and in outdoor settings when social distancing is not possible. Masks are not required when students are alone in study rooms or for employees isolated in their personal office space or work area, when unshared with any other colleagues. 

However, when employees leave their individual office or work areas or have invited colleagues into their office, they must wear a mask. Staff in shared office areas must wear masks.

Unvaccinated individuals should maintain social distance with others as much as possible. 
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All unvaccinated individuals must participate in frequent on-campus PCR testing. Testing will be scheduled at least once per week throughout the semester. 
  • Students will be tested via salvia PCR testing on the same day each week.
    • Students will be notified of their testing day prior to August 30 and must appear for testing in Student Health Services between the hours of 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. on their testing day.
  • Students will be notified of a test result by Student Health Services only if their test result is positive or they need to be retested.
    • It is not necessary to isolate while awaiting test results, unless you have symptoms or a known exposure to someone with COVID-19.
  • Employees will be tested on a weekly basis at the Office of Human Resources. Human Resources will coordinate a test day/time with each unvaccinated individual. Employees will be notified of a test result by Human Resources only if their test result is positive or they need to be retested. It is not necessary to isolate while awaiting test results, unless you have symptoms or a known exposure to someone with COVID-19.
All unvaccinated individuals must be alert for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19 by completing a daily screening application.
  • The University provides a wellness screening application for use by unvaccinated students and employees with an approved exemption. It is available both through the My.Scranton portal and the University’s mobile application for IOS and Android mobile devices.
    • Unvaccinated students and employees with an approved exemption are required to use the wellness screening application every day by responding to a series of simple questions regarding symptoms as recommended by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Completion of the questions each day will require use of a personal thermometer.
    • When symptoms are reported through the screening, the application will automatically notify the appropriate department for students or employees and provide additional instructions by email. The application does not store data from personal submissions.
  • Unvaccinated students who experience symptoms of COVID-19 must promptly isolate and contact Student Health Services for medical advice. Employees must contact Human Resources and promptly isolate.
Individuals with symptoms should isolate immediately, make arrangements for testing and follow established isolation protocols. Students can receive testing through Student Health Services. Employees should secure testing through off-campus providers.
  • Student Life and Human Resources will conduct contact tracing as per established protocols for students and employees, respectively.
  • Unvaccinated students who test positive for COVID-19 or are required to quarantine must do so off-campus. The University will temporarily accommodate residential students who need to isolate/quarantine as they solidify their off-campus isolation/quarantine plan. Employees should isolate or quarantine in their private residence.
  • Unvaccinated students who cannot attend class due to isolation/quarantine must notify the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students will contact the respective advising center so faculty can be made aware through normal channels.
  • Faculty members are notified automatically when unvaccinated students assisted through Student Health Services are unable to attend class due to isolation/quarantine.

Facilities, Air Handling and HVAC

  • Non-Instructional Room Setup: All meeting, office and general space areas of facilities will be returned to their pre-pandemic setup and use. Departments may ask to retain plexiglass or other adjustments in consultation with Facilities Operations.
  • Building HVAC Systems: Maintain settings and adjustments made during 2020-21 in response to the pandemic.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Departments should monitor their use of PPE and request additional supplies 7-10 days before running out by contacting the Purchasing Department through this online ordering form.
  • Campus Cleaning Protocols: High touch areas of classrooms and laboratories are cleaned at an increased frequency, and hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes are available should students or faculty wish to wipe down desks or tables before or after use. Maintenance and cleaning procedures for offices will mostly return to normal, pre-COVID daily cleaning procedures. High touch areas will continue to be wiped down regularly. Sanitizing wipes will remain available for department offices for those who wish to use them.
  • Personal Air Purifiers: The University has supplied personal air purifiers for offices and residence hall rooms identified as needing additional air flow support.

Shared Responsibility And Plan Enforcement

While we expect and hope that everyone will cooperate and comply with the Royals Back Together Plan, there may be some who choose not to do so or who object to provisions for various reasons.

Learn More

Responding To A Resurgence Of COVID-19

The University will continue to monitor the spread of the virus, especially within the broader region, and will respond accordingly. Any additional institutional actions, including decisions related to increased campus safety measures, will be informed by this ongoing assessment and by guidance or directives from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and/or U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.