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Lock Haven -- This week, Lock Haven University announced some of their plans for the "Return to the Haven," consisting of a more normal but heavily modified campus experience.

The fall semester will include a mix of in-person, face-to-face instruction and remote instruction. Other University activities will also resume with special limitations and safety protocols.

“This will indeed be a different experience than we are used to as we institute necessary safety precautions to provide for the health and well-being of all members of our community,” said LHU President Robert Pignatello. “This will also require all of us to take personal responsibility to protect ourselves and each other.”

LHU officials have been in regular consultation with the Office of the Chancellor, other State System institutions, state and local healthcare officials, University bargaining units, and other state and local officials for the last few months. These discussions, along with CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Education guidelines, shaped the fall semester agenda.

LHU also convened seven working groups to help guide decisions regarding the fall semester - their final reports were disseminated to the campus community last week.

These plans, which are preliminary, are based on the most current and best information available at this point. They are subject to modification as conditions change and new information becomes available. More exact details of the final reopening plan will be distributed on the University's website as updates take place.

The next several weeks will be spent soliciting additional input from LHU faculty, staff, coaches and students throughout the remainder of the planning and implementation process. The University plans to distribute a survey to faculty, coaches and staff to help further inform and determine the university’s “Return to The Haven” strategy.

Currently, LHU plans to end face-to-face instruction and activities for the semester following Thanksgiving. The University will determine how exactly to implement this using input from the campus community; updates on this and the official start date for the fall semester will be posted on the LHU website soon.

COVID-19 remains a risk and LHU recognizes the need to continue to be vigilant to maintain social distancing, practice personal hygiene, cleaning, and public health protocols, and follow recommended guidance in order to mitigate its spread. A variety of actions are being considered to ensure a teaching, learning, and living environment that is as safe and engaging as possible. As part of this process, the university is working to meet PASSHE and PDE guidelines for reopening and CDC guidelines for overall safety.

The university is working on actions across several critical areas including:

Safety and hygiene measures

  • New protocols for frequent self-administered temperature checks
  • Timely testing for symptomatic individuals through the University Health Center
  • Cooperating with local agencies for quarantine and contact tracing when appropriate
  • Providing PPE kits for all employees and students
  • Installing plexiglass shields between instructors and students, at service desks, in work spaces, and in bathrooms
  • More frequent cleaning in common areas
  • Providing additional disinfectant sprays and wipes in classrooms, dorms, restrooms, etc.
  • Placing additional hand sanitizing stations around campus
  • Increasing the scope of the campus flu vaccine program

Learning, residential and social environments

  • Limiting the number of students allowed in a classroom at a given time
  • Changing teaching schedules to avoid creating high-traffic situations
  • Highly flexible instruction modalities
  • Classes that do or can switch between face-to-face sessions and online/remote teaching 
  • Participating in Distance Education Workshops over the summer to prepare for virtual instruction
  • Upgrading 32 additional classrooms with remote learning technology
  • Extending the breaks between classes
  • Adjustments to occupancy levels and other restrictions to residence halls
  • Dining hall policies are still under development

Communications

  • Indoor/outdoor signage to promote distancing and encourage greater care for personal hygiene and health conditions
  • Educational ads on TV monitors and flyers across campus, the LHU website, and social media accounts

Personal responsibility

  • Students will need to sign a COVID-19 social contract
  • Modifications to the student code of conduct
  • Students, faculties, and staff will be required to wear face masks on campus and in classes
  • Campus staff must wear face coverings when distancing is not possible

Phased implementation

  • Employees will be notified about plans to return to work in the next several weeks
  • The plans assume that Clinton County remains in the "Green Phase of reopening at the start of the semester

The University will continue to investigate and, as appropriate, implement steps to provide for the health and safety of the campus community. More information will be released throughout the summer as the university works to finalize its plans.

“We are encouraged by our positive enrollment and retention numbers for this fall,” Pignatello said. “The latest fall 2020 headcount enrollment projection represents a slight increase from the official fall 2019 enrollment. This is the first time in seven years that LHU is showing a projected fall enrollment increase. In addition, first time freshman deposits are up 15 percent from this time last year. As of this week, retention is 72.9 percent, which is 7.1 percent ahead of last year on the same date. We look forward to welcoming a new class of students to The Haven Family as we soar higher together through these challenging times.”

This story was compiled by an NCPA staff reporter from submitted news. To see a list of our editorial staff please visit our staff directory.