8.24.20: COVID-19 Health Protocols: Responding and Reporting

A message to faculty and staff from Nathan Urban and Pat Johnson

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As students return to campus, questions have arisen about what faculty and staff can do to support safe behavior on the part of students, faculty and staff on campus.

Some of you may have read reports of COVID-19 outbreaks at other universities, some of which have been forced to eliminate all in-person activities. Most of these cases are traced to large off-campus parties where mask wearing and social distancing are not practiced. This is a significant concern for us and we want to do everything we can to prevent these events.

We have provided some detailed guidance for how to respond to and report concerns, but we wanted to emphasize two specific situations here.

Many faculty and staff have asked about what they should do if they see people not wearing masks or not social distancing.

If you see a person or a small group not wearing a mask, the first thing that you should do is respectfully remind people to wear a mask and maintain six feet of distance. Often the most effective and immediate reminder is as simple as pointing to your own mask and perhaps saying “mask up” or “let’s be safe—keep your distance.”

Alternatively, some faculty and staff have asked about what to do if they observe situations in which large groups are gathering without social distancing and/or mask wearing—on or off campus, indoors or outdoors. These situations can occur or be observed with students, and also with fellow faculty and staff colleagues.

In any case where you are unable to address or redirect the behavior constructively, you should report the concern via the online reporting tool. If the gathering is on or off campus, you should also contact campus police at 610-758-4200.

We are implementing a zero tolerance policy for students participating in these large scale events, and students are aware and have agreed that these events are a violation of the code of conduct. You can read the message that was sent to students directly addressing this information.

Thank you for your hard work in preparing for this year! The success of this semester is up to all of us.


Nathan Urban
Pat Johnson