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 reopening in the fall 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 fall 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
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 fall semester—and 2020–21 academic year if necessary—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 will be provided with information regarding health and safety via a required training to be completed before returning to campus. Signage posted throughout campus, including residence halls, dining halls, classroom buildings, student centers, and academic buildings will continue to educate the community on health and safety protocols.
At the start of the semester, students, faculty, and staff will be provided with a personal wellness kit of disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, thermometer, and one cloth face covering.
In addition to the wellness kits, students will receive a personal foldable chair that can be used for outdoor classes, physically distant student gatherings, and outdoor dining.
Distribution details will be forthcoming.
FACE COVERINGS AND PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
We encourage the wearing of face masks or face coverings at all times; however, face masks or face coverings must be worn inside campus buildings and when social distancing cannot be maintained.
Signage regarding the use of face coverings will be posted at the entrances to all campus buildings and in common areas.
Below are the allowable exceptions:
- If extenuating circumstances interfere with the ability to wear a face covering (to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis)
- If working alone in a single-person office or workstation
Individuals who are unable to wear face coverings 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 coverings or 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 coverings 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 coverings will help reduce the need for daily laundering.
Disposable face coverings 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 covering 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
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.
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)
The University will closely monitor building heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) guidelines and recommendations issued by the following: the Association of Physical Plant Administration (APPA); the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); and the CDC.
ASHRAE uses minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) to gauge levels of filtration to be effective in capturing infectious particulates that are airborne. The current COVID-19 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 and, therefore, meet the recommended filtration effectiveness.
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. All air systems, central and individual units, and components are being cleaned—and filters replaced—prior to the return to campus with continuing preventative maintenance measures in place throughout the year.
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 preventthe development of mold.
Patient Care Considerations
COVID-19 Testing Considerations
Villanova University’s decisions on protocols and procedures related to symptom monitoring and testing are informed by research data and guidelines from the CDC, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Chester County health officials, and the American College Health Association.
The recommendations for COVID-19 testing continue to evolve, and, at the present time, these organizations are not recommending mass testing because it will assess a person’s infection status only at a single point in time. A person who tests negative in the morning may become infected in the afternoon, the next day or the next week. Given this, the University is focusing on the critical importance of its prevention, mitigation, and monitoring efforts and expects community members to follow personal safety practices at all times.
Faculty and staff who require testing for COVID-19 are advised to consult with their primary care provider for the type of COVID-19 test they need and the location options where they can get tested. The University’s healthcare plans will cover costs associated with COVID-19 testing.
Students who require testing for COVID-19 are advised to consult with the Student Health Center. Testing capabilities will include molecular testing for active infection and serum antibody testing via QUEST labs. These tests will be performed in the Student Health Center and sent out to QUEST labs for processing. The Student Health Center will also have capability to provide on-site rapid point of care molecular testing and rapid point-of-care antigen testing.
Patient Care Considerations for Faculty and Staff
Faculty and staff members who develop COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19, or have been in close contact with another individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, must:
- Notify their supervisor and contact the Office of Human Resources at email@example.com as soon as possible
- Contact their primary care providers to assess requirements regarding quarantine at home and self-monitoring for symptoms
- If the primary care provider recommends testing, the faculty/staff member should not return to campus until test results are known
- If the test results are negative, symptoms are improving, and the faculty/staff member is fever-free, they may return to work
- If the test results are positive, the employee must not return to work until 10 days have passed from the time tested positive and until symptoms are improving; the employee is fever-free without fever-reducing medicines for three days; and a note has been received from their primary care provider—which must be presented to the Office of Human Resources—clearing their return to work
Patient Care Considerations for Students
Students who develop COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19, or have been in close contact (as defined by the CDC) with another individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, must call the Student Health Center, open 24 hours a day/seven days a week, at 610-519-4070. The protocol below will be followed:
- Students will be advised to schedule a telehealth appointment or an in-person appointment with a provider or a nurse
- Students will be screened for respiratory symptoms and temperature checks prior to entering the Student Health Center
- Students will be assessed by Student Health Center staff to evaluate the need to quarantine and self-monitor for symptoms, determine if they need COVID-19 testing, or advise if they need a higher level of care
- Waiting room areas have been reconfigured to separate ill and well patient visits
- Clinic areas have been reconfigured into “zones” of care for patients requiring COVID-19 testing and treatment
- A triage system of disposition for students requiring self-isolation or quarantine has been established. Students who live within 300 miles of campus will be advised to quarantine at home, and those who cannot return home will quarantine in designated areas on or near campus.
- For students who may require a higher level of care in a hospital, initial referral will be made to the Main Line Health hospital system, which has four acute care hospitals: Bryn Mawr Hospital, Lankenau Hospital, Paoli Hospital. and Riddle Memorial Hospital
- The medical director in the Student Health Center maintains staff privileges at Bryn Mawr Hospital and will care for Villanova students admitted to the general medical floor
Adequate space to quarantine students who have had close contact with an infected person is critical to Villanova’s continued operations.
The CDC states several factors should be considered when defining close contact, such as proximity to an infected individual, the duration of exposure to the individual (e.g., longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk), whether the individual has symptoms (e.g., coughing likely increases exposure risk), and whether a face mask was worn.
Ideal quarantine space will eliminate shared community bathroom use since some students may become infected and some may not. For these reasons, the University has developed the following quarantine plan:
- Students who are able to will be asked to return home if they live within 300 miles of Villanova for the 14-day quarantine period.
- The Inn at Villanova, a University-owned and operated conference center and hotel, is being taken offline in Fall 2020 so the rooms can be used as quarantine space. The Inn is considered ideal for this purpose as each student will have a private bathroom and individual HVAC system.
- Two residence halls and two University-owned houses near campus will also be held open and available for use as quarantine space.
Contact Tracing and Proximity Tracking
If faculty, staff, or students test positive for COVID-19, local county health departments will be in contact with the individual and their close contacts regarding recommendations for quarantining and monitoring of symptoms to mitigate the spread of the virus. For students diagnosed with COVID-19, the Student Health Center staff will communicate with individuals who are considered close contacts.
Campus Monitoring, Surveillance and Voluntary Reporting
Faculty, staff and students should notify either the Office of Human Resources or the Student Health Center if they have visited an area of high prevalence (domestic or international) in the past 14 days. They should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. Employees considering University-related travel should consult with their supervisor and are asked to travel only if it is deemed “essential.”
Faculty and staff with known exposure to positive COVID-19 cases should contact their primary care providers regarding self-monitoring and quarantining. Students with known exposure to positive COVID-19 cases should contact the Student Health Center. Enhanced screening, such as routine temperature checks, will be advised where high volumes of students reside, where prior COVID-19 exposure has occurred, or when levels of community spread have increased. When deemed necessary by either the University or health officials, temperature screenings will be required prior to entry into campus buildings.
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.
CARES ACT AND STUDENT HARDSHIP FUND CARES
Villanova University is providing emergency financial aid grants to students whose lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis, many of whom are facing financial challenges and struggling to make ends meet. More information can be found on the Villanova CARES Act website.
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.
Travel and Visitors
Guidelines for student travel and travel for University-related business are being developed to keep community members safe and to limit unnecessary exposures.
Friends of Villanova and Senior Citizen Personal Enrichment Programs
To keep community members safe and to eliminate unnecessary exposures, the Friends of Villanova and Senior Citizen Personal Enrichment Programs will be suspended for Fall 2020. More information will be communicated regarding these details at a later date.
Admissions and Tours
The Office of Undergraduate Admission is currently working on a plan to resume campus tours and admission presentations in some format for Fall 2020. In the coming weeks, more information will be communicated here and on the Undergraduate Admission website.