HEALTH AND SAFETY
The success of Villanova’s plan to regather the community on campus depends on creating a deep culture of concern for every member of the community. We must be diligent—in every hour of every day and in each personal decision we make—to safeguard our own health and the health of others.
A safe academic year requires the commitment of all Villanovans to do their part. Members of the University community must exercise care and caution in their daily activities by adhering to protocols around wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), practicing social distancing, and engaging in self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19.
At its core, the University is about educating students, and we must all enter the spring semester focused on Villanova’s academic mission. Many programs and activities that have traditionally taken place will need to be scaled back, postponed, or even canceled in the interest of maintaining the health and safety of the University community. We must be prepared to work together and to be flexible and vigilant in our commitment to caring for our own health and the health of those around us.
Federal, State, and Local Guidance
The University has relied on federal, state, and local guidance in developing its plans, policies and procedures for a safe reopening.
In developing this plan, Villanova officials reviewed guidance from the Pennsylvania (PA) Departments of Education and Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The plan specifically addresses the five requirements set forth by the PA Department of Education that include:
- A strategy on how the institution will coordinate with local public health officials
- A strategy to safely resume in-person instruction
- A strategy to monitor health conditions in its campus community
- A strategy to mitigate and contain the spread of the virus on campus and to inform the Department of Health in the event that transmission occurs
- A strategy to communicate accurate and timely information to students, faculty, staff, and the communities it serves
Throughout the 2020–21 academic year, the University will continue to work closely on its COVID-19 health and safety protocols with the Chester County Department of Health, which is responsible for public health services in Delaware County during this crisis.
Faculty, staff and students completed a required training before they returned to campus. Signage has been posted throughout campus, including in residence halls, dining halls, classroom buildings, student centers, and academic buildings to educate the community on health and safety protocols.
Students are asked to review additional Health and Safety Directives outlined in the Student Handbook. Students are required to comply with expectations surrounding testing, quarantining and isolating. The University reserves the right to sanction students who violate local, state, and/or federal law or guidelines and/or the University’s health and safety directives, both on and off campus.
All students, faculty, and staff were provided with a personal wellness kit of disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, thermometer, and one cloth face mask. In addition to the wellness kits, students received a personal foldable chair that can be used for outdoor classes, physically distant student gatherings, and outdoor dining.
FACE MASKS AND PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
Following PA Department of Health guidelines, Villanova community members must wear a face mask that covers the mouth and nose inside campus buildings and while outside, unless doing a solitary activity where they can consistently guarantee 6 feet of social distancing with others.
The only exceptions to the mask-wearing requirement are:
- When exercising alone
- When eating and social distancing is maintained
- When showering or brushing teeth in a common bathroom
- When alone in your office
- When alone in your room, apartment or place of residence, or in your vehicle, or in any of these places with your roommate(s)
- Other exceptions as determined by University medical professionals.
For Faculty/Coaches: Within academic and athletic activities occurring exclusively outdoors, in accordance with PA Department of Health Guidelines, faculty, coaches, and student-athletes may remove masks to support essential job functions and Villanova athletic department sanctioned activities, provided distancing in excess of 6 feet is consistently maintained.
Individuals who are unable to wear face masks due to health reasons may request accommodations through the Office of Human Resources for employees and the Office of Disability Services for students.
Students, faculty, and staff are being asked to bring their own face masks to campus. An initial supply of disposable masks and paper bags (for storage between uses) will be provided to all community members.
Cloth face masks must only be worn for one day at a time and must be properly laundered before being used again. Having a one-week supply of cloth face masks will help reduce the need for daily laundering.
Disposable face masks will be available at dining and point-of-service locations for members of the Villanova community and also will be available for visitors, particularly at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
Additional or specialized PPE (e.g., N95 masks, gloves, disposable gowns, etc.) will be available based on recommendations developed in accordance with a standard PPE Hazard Assessment process by Villanova Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). Respiratory protection in excess of a face mask will be provided in compliance with OSHA guidance. Villanova EHS staff will complete risk assessments and administer all respiratory protection requirements.
Maintaining adequate social distance is fundamental to Villanova’s Health and Safety Plan. General principles that were observed in the University’s social distance planning include:
- Establishing staggered/modified schedules where possible
- Encouraging telework where possible
- Encouraging use of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and other tools for meetings and trainings, even when all participants are present on campus
- Utilizing a combination of administrative controls (signage, floor markings, etc.) and physical barriers/partitions
- Considering touchless entry where feasible
For students, these additional measures apply:
- All students must adhere to social distancing guidelines, i.e., typically maintaining a six-foot distance between people.
- Gatherings must be limited and controlled, and such that they are proportionate to the gathering space in order to allow for consistent social distancing of those present, whether inside or outside, and whether on or off campus. Masks must be worn if individuals other than a student’s roommate(s)/household are present.
- Students must comply with room capacity guidelines in all campus buildings, guest limitations in residence halls, and all government-issued guidelines regarding social distancing and gatherings.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands after touching your face.
While health care workers and others in high-risk areas should use gloves as part of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), current CDC guidelines state that gloves are not necessary for general use and are not a substitute for good hand hygiene. Washing your hands often is considered the best practice for common, everyday tasks.
Employees do not need to wear goggles or face shields as part of general activity on campus. Practicing goodhand hygiene and avoiding touching your face are generally sufficient for non-health care environments.
While custodial crews will continue to clean offices and workspaces based on CDC guidelines, additional care should be taken to wipe down commonly used surfaces. Before starting work and before you leave any room in which you have been working, you must wipe down all work areas with EPA-registered 60% alcohol solution or wipes, which will be provided by the University. This includes any shared-space locations or equipment (e.g., copiers, printers, computers, A/V and other electrical equipment, coffee makers, desks and tables, light switches, doorknobs, etc.).
If you are in a private setting and are not wearing a face mask, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow. Discard any used tissues into the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
REGULAR SYMPTOM MONITORING
Faculty, staff, and students who are returning to campus must conduct symptom monitoring, including temperature checks, every day prior to arriving at Villanova. The CDC provides a self-check symptom guide on its website.
In order to work on campus or attend class, members of our community must be free of any symptoms potentially related to COVID-19. At this time, these symptoms outlined by the CDC, include one or more of the following:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Fever greater than or equal to 100.4
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Runny nose or new sinus congestion
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New GI symptoms
- Loss of taste or smell
CLEANING AND DISINFECTING SUPPLIES
All disinfecting supplies in use meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) criteria. Key products include the SC Johnson® Professional TruShot™ Spray Disinfectant and Clorox® Total 360® electrostatic sprayer system. Other cleaning and disinfecting supplies that meet CDC and EPA standards also may be used.
CLEANING OF CAMPUS BUILDINGS
Villanova Custodial Services is responsible for the cleaning of all campus buildings. The Custodial Services team will monitor all restrooms to ensure that hand soap is available. Hand sanitizer stations have been provided in all classrooms, at the entrances to all buildings and all dining locations, and in other areas where people congregate.
All students, faculty, and staff are being provided initially with hand wipes in portable packages, which are easily carried and can be available for use at any time. Students, faculty, and staff are instructed to clean their classroom areas and workspaces before and after use, with particular attention to hightouch surfaces.
The residence halls, public restrooms, and common areas will be thoroughly cleaned daily, and high-touch points in these spaces will be cleaned twice a day. All offices will be cleaned three times each week, with high-touch areas being cleaned on a daily basis.
HEATING, VENTILATION, AND AIR CONDITIONING (HVAC)
During the COVID 19 pandemic, the University is committed to following the recommendations of all pertinent agencies to mitigate the transmission of the COVID 19 virus. The University is closely monitoring building Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) guidelines and recommendations issued by the Association of Physical Plant Administration (APPA), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
The following are the current recommendations:
Filtration: Filtration in the central air handling systems is a key point. ASHRAE uses Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) to gauge levels of filtration to be effective in capturing infectious particulates that are air bound. The current recommendation is to have central air system filtration at a MERV 13. The University’s central air systems across campus are currently utilizing MERV 8 pre filters along with MERV 13 final filters where physically possible based on current equipment.
Ventilation: The University is increasing the quantity of outside air to the maximum allowable level for each system. Operation schedules have been modified to follow recommended run times to reduce any airborne exposure to the virus.
Cleaning: All air systems, central & individual units, components have been cleaned and filters have been replaced. Preventive maintenance will continue to ensure units function at maximum efficiency.
Opening Windows: During hot humid weather, it is imperative that all windows in buildings utilizing central air systems be kept closed. Opening windows allows hot humid air to enter the building which eventually will condense on cool surfaces and create mold issues. The central air systems are programmed to bring adequate outside ventilation air into each building and condition it to avoid the development of mold.
Non-instructional spaces—including dining locations, libraries, meeting rooms, and administrative offices—were evaluated for social distancing options, based on space available and the nature of usage, with one or more of the following actions taken as needed for compliance with social distancing guidelines:
- Removing, covering, or taping seats as unavailable
- Installing partitions at points of service
- Installing floor markings where service lines form
- Posting room capacities and social distance reminder signage
- Encouraging virtual meetings whenever possible
- Establishing a formal approval process for all gatherings
- Erecting open-air tents in the main areas of campus (South, Commons, West, Main) that will be used for small student gatherings for studying, grab-and-go eating, and impromptu and other student meetings
- Distributing individual folding chairs for student use to promote gatherings outside, under tents, and in large areas
- Limiting non-instructional gatherings as follows: no gatherings will be permitted in the “red” phase (or during periods of increased infection rate on campus); 25 or less in the “yellow” phase; 250 or less in the “green” phase
COUNSELING SERVICES FOR STUDENTS
The University Counseling Center provides confidential personal/psychological counseling for all Villanova students. Appointments can be scheduled by phone by calling 610-519-4050 and leaving a message with the student’s name, spelling of last name, Student ID, and phone number. The student will receive a return call within 24 hours during normal business days to schedule an appointment.
Counseling is usually short-term, which is appropriate for most students. Those who need long-term counseling or whose treatment needs are beyond the Counseling Center’s scope of service will be helped with a referral to an off-campus provider.
Faculty and staff members may also call the Counseling Center to consult about a student’s mental health. Whenever possible, counseling will be provided via telehealth to observe the requirement of social distancing.
COUNSELING SERVICES FOR FACULTY AND STAFF
For faculty and staff at Villanova, Health Advocate is available to assist with personal, family and work issues.
SEASONAL INFLUENZA INFORMATION
Below is information on University-sponsored seasonal influenza clinics:
- Faculty and staff are encouraged to get a seasonal flu shot through the annual flu clinics sponsored by the Office of Human Resources.
- Seasonal flu clinics for the campus community (faculty, students, and staff) sponsored by Rite Aid pharmacy will be expanded this year. Rite Aid will accept most insurance plans on-site for these clinics.
- Seasonal influenza vaccines also will be available to students in the Student Health Center.
CENTERS AND OFFICES
There are a variety of centers and offices on campus that offer health resources for faculty, staff and students. The following offices and departments will be updating the information on how they deliver their services for the Fall semester. Please continue to check their websites for information.
For the most up to date information about visitors to campus, please visit the Visitors page.
SENIOR CITIZEN PERSONAL ENRICHMENT:
The University will continue its suspension of in-person courses as part of the Personal Enrichment Program for the Spring 2021 semester. However, on a limited basis, previously enrolled Personal Enrichment students will be permitted to register in online courses. Additional information will be shared in January via email and the College of Professional Studies website.