COVID Update for Employees for Winter Break and Spring Semester

By Caitlin T. Burns | December 14, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As we prepare to extend our limited campus opening for the spring 2021 semester, we want to provide information on employee health and safety protocols and on the University’s winter break.  

On Dec. 10, Pennsylvania Governor Wolf’s office announced updated protective mitigation efforts against COVID. These measures, which run Dec. 14 through Jan. 4, 2021, include the prohibition of indoor gatherings of more than 10 people and outdoor gatherings of more than 50 people. We will continue to monitor all federal, state, and local guidelines and mitigation measures in place, as well as consult with the University’s leadership and public health experts, on the best ways to protect the health and safety of Arcadia community members. 

COVID Operational Tiers and Employee Risk Pyramid
The University has adopted an Operational Tier system to help manage Arcadia’s response to COVID challenges and outline the steps we must take toward mitigation. This system will allow Arcadia to remain All-Modes Ready operationally as well as academically and seamlessly shift, if necessary, to a different operational tier during the spring semester. For more information on the University’s Operational Tier system, visit 

The University also has developed the Arcadia University Occupational Risk Pyramid for COVID-19 Testing, based on an OSHA model, to categorize the risk of staff and faculty positions. These levels (very high, high, medium, and lower risk) will help with planning for employees who will be on campus (based on the Operational Tiers) and need COVID-19 testing. Testing may depend on, among other variables, employee duties, responsibilities, and potential interaction with community members. Vice Presidents and departmental supervisors will meet with their teams and Human Resources to help categorize employee risk levels. Human Resources will be in contact with employees who will need COVID-19 testing before and/or during the spring semester and relay information about testing processes and protocols. 

Winter Break
The University will host a Holiday Celebration on Tuesday, Dec. 22, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Please mark your calendars to save the date to connect with colleagues online. If you would like to contribute ideas for the celebration, please contact Lisa Stephens

Winter break is Thursday, Dec. 24, through Jan. 1, with the University reopening on Monday, Jan. 4. Supervisors and departmental leaders will update staff members on operational expectations and any duties during the winter break. Spring semester classes begin on Jan. 25.  

Employee Expectations 
Any employee who has questions or concerns about workplace operations and their expectations for the spring semester should contact their direct supervisor or Human Resources. 

We in Human Resources wish each of you a happy and healthy holiday season and new year, and we look forward to a productive and safe spring semester. If any employees have questions, contact us at 215-572-2173 or


Mary E. Sweeney, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Associate Vice President, Human Resources and Employee Experience