Arcadia University has made the necessary decision that all academic courses and experiences will remain online for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester. This decision has been made after careful assessment and in consultation with local officials and experts in public health and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What does this mean for finishing the academic year?
Arcadia’s faculty and staff are transforming all courses and other academic experiences into a fully online/remote modality for the remainder of the spring semester. Faculty and staff are pursuing this undertaking with energy and creativity.
The semester continues fully online after spring break. Important spring milestones such as Capstone and final exams and projects will also occur online.
Arcadia will approach the complex academic consequences of these changes with flexibility. Exceptions to relevant academic policies will be worked through case by case, and some deadlines are being adjusted. Most immediately, priority registration for the Fall 2020 semester is being delayed by two weeks to allow additional time for advising. Registration will now take place from April 13 through April 24, and all undergraduate and graduate students will register for classes online after working with their academic advisers. More details about the delayed, fully online Fall registration and additional support for students and their academic advisers will be forthcoming.
Ongoing academic support for students will be available as usual. Professors are accessible electronically, and all offices that provide various kinds of academic, professional, and personal support are continuing their work online.
Arcadia is looking at options to reschedule the travel portion of all remaining Spring 2020 Global Field Study Courses, depending on faculty and student availability. We must consider the global response to COVID-19 and needs of host countries. We know that some graduating seniors need these credits/requirements to graduate this spring; we will work with each of you directly to determine possible next steps.
How does this affect course registration?
The Academic Affairs team is deeply committed to meeting the individual needs of students, faculty, and staff. While we expect that more changes will be necessary, we've already made adjustments to some academic processes:
Registration for Fall 2020 will begin April 13 (delayed by two weeks).
Deadline to withdraw from courses (with only an adviser’s approval) has been extended to April 13 and may be extended further.
How does this affect grading?
Arcadia has adopted a revised pass/fail grading policy for the Spring 2020 semester. The following opt-in policy applies to all undergraduate students, without exception. Individual graduate programs will determine whether their students are eligible to opt-in to this revised pass/fail policy.
Students will have an opportunity to opt-in to a pass/fail grading rubric for any or all of their Spring 2020 courses beginning on April 13 and extending until two weeks after they receive their Spring 2020 grades, an end date which we expect to be May 22, 2020.
Please note that students must affirmatively choose to opt-in to the pass/fail grading rubric.
Students who choose to retain the standard letter grading rubric can do so and need not take any action.
Undergraduate students may elect to opt-in to a pass/fail grading rubric for any undergraduate course, without exception – including courses that fulfill major/minor and Arcadia Undergraduate Curriculum (AUC) requirements.
Faculty will not be notified of students’ grade system choices and will continue recording regular grades throughout the semester.
Graduate programs may have specific criteria for courses that are eligible for pass/fail.
Although no academic adviser or instructor approval is necessary for students to opt-in to a pass/fail grading rubric,students are very strongly encouraged to consult with their academic advisers and instructors before making these decisions. This decision is particularly important for undergraduate students who are planning to enter graduate programs that have prerequisites for grades in specific courses, or those who are seeking certification or other credentialing.
The window to make an opt-in decision begins April 13, which provides time for students to schedule academic adviser and instructor consultations, and to assess otherwise how they are adjusting to the fully online educational environment. The last day to withdraw from courses—only with permission from an adviser—has been extended to April 27 so that students have flexibility as they make their decisions. Additional information about the process will be coming soon. If faculty or students have any questions related to this effort, please email Kate Hanley (firstname.lastname@example.org), and she will coordinate a response from Academic Affairs.
What if I need additional technical support to complete my coursework online?
The Information Technology website is updated regularly with guidelines and resources to help provide students, faculty, and staff with the best online learning experience possible. Visit their website to see vendor offerings of resources such as free wifi, software, etc. For technical issues, students can contact Helpdesk@arcadia.edu for additional needs.
What is the status of summer programs?
Given the uncertainties about current restrictions on social contact and travel, heads of schools and colleges are preparing Summer 2020 sessions for a fully online academic term. Summer research programs will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. More details forthcoming.
How can I access various registration and academic forms?
Registrar forms are available online, and more are in the process of being converted to fully online, interactive links. If a form you need immediately is not yet electronically submittable, please email appropriate information to GUS@arcadia.edu.
What does having restrictions on public events mean for large-scale events like Commencement?
The University is committed to holding an on-campus Commencement for undergraduate and graduate students of the Class of 2020 when it is safe and we have adequate time to prepare for a celebration of this size and importance. We will salute the Class of 2020, and their families, for the hard work and adaptability they have demonstrated. More details will be communicated shortly as they are finalized.
Are students being forced out of housing?
No. Students who have nowhere else to go will be able to remain in housing for as long as we are able to offer this option. Government restrictions may continue to increase, potentially reducing services we can offer.
Although the decision is based on guidance from the CDC, we strongly encourage students to plan for and seek other accommodations, if at all possible. Members of the Student Affairs team have been reaching out to students who remain on campus. If you have questions email email@example.com.
What does this mean for picking up my belongings from residence halls and housing?
In light of the extension of Gov. Wolf’s stay-at-home order through April 30, it is vital that we maintain social distancing expectations. Therefore, pending further actions by the Governor, the earliest resident students will be able to retrieve their belongings will be May 1. We acknowledge the state-wide order may be extended beyond April 30, and will keep you informed as the current deadline approaches.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-572-4026.
Are my personal items secure?
The University has taken the necessary steps to secure your personal items. As we pass the three-week mark, the University needs to secure the sanitary conditions of the residence halls. This week, University personnel will remove perishable food items left in residence halls including unsealed food and items left in refrigerators that would attract rodents or be susceptible to pests or mold. University personnel will NOT go through personal items, wardrobes, personal trunks, etc. In addition, University personnel will practice social distancing and will wear protective gear inside of resident rooms.
Can my belongings remain on campus through the summer?
Students have to make arrangements for their belongings to be picked up by move out day in May. We will make every effort to help students from a distance who may have gone home and still have belongings on campus. Those with extenuating circumstances should contact email@example.com.
How can I pick up packages from the Mailroom?
The Mailroom is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day for local students. Alternatively, you may call the Mailroom to have items forwarded to your preferred address (though you will be responsible for any associated postage costs).
With classes moving online for the remainder of the semester, I’ve moved off campus. Will there be refunds of unused room and board fees for undergraduate students?
The University will process a prorated credit of 47 percent, the unused portions of the housing and meal plan fees, for undergraduate students no longer residing on campus. These credits will apply automatically to your account; any remaining credit will carry forward to the next academic year Fall 2020. For students who are graduating or transferring, these refunds will be processed automatically. Continuing students seeking a refund rather than a credit, or resident students with any financial concerns, should contact One-Stop Shop (215.517.2339, firstname.lastname@example.org).
What's the status of Arcadia Athletics?
On March 16, the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Presidents decided to cancel all spring athletics practices and competition through the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The announcement follows the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) decision on March 12 to cancel all remaining winter and spring championships.
How will the stay-at-home order for Pennsylvania residents affect me?
Under Governor Wolf’s order, personnel at postsecondary institutions in all 67 counties who are providing life-sustaining services—including, but not limited to: administration, food preparation and distribution, housing, security, information technology, building maintenance, and operations (e.g., payroll)—can continue to be deemed essential and are permitted to continue their work, provided they adhere to social distancing guidelines.
In alignment with this stay-at-home order, the University announced on March 23 that it was extending alternative work arrangements for two weeks to minimize the number of employees on campus. We will continue to provide updates as we receive guidance from state, county, and local officials.
Supervisors will be providing additional information regarding longer-term alternative work assignments. Plans should be based on guidelines previously shared by HR, and should also embrace our University’s lived values. All of those in a supervisory position should engage their direct reports in daily check-ins and update departmental and unit continuity plans, where needed, to augment plans submitted to HR two weeks ago.
Employees can submit any questions to the Office of Human Resources through this online form.
Students with questions or concerns should contact Student Affairs at 215-572-2933; leave a message and we will make every effort to get back to you within 24 hours. Students still residing on campus with an urgent matter should contact Public Safety (215-572-2800, 215-572,2999) or the on-call Student Affairs staff member. Student Affairs will send a message to students still residing on campus shortly.
What's the status of work-study?
All student employees who were working the weeks prior to spring break and have not exhausted their financial aid allocation will continue to be paid for the hours they were scheduled to work through the remainder of spring 2020 or until their financial aid award is exhausted. Students who are working remotely should continue to work as approved by their supervisor and will be allowed to exceed their financial aid award cap. Any questions or concerns about or from student workers or student worker supervisors should be sent to One-Stop Shop (email@example.com).
Have Arcadia’s spring programs been affected by COVID-19?
In light of elevated warning levels and from the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and in consideration of ongoing challenges and risks presented by the COVID-19 outbreak around the world, The College of Global Studies (TCGS) suspended all on-site programs for the spring 2020 semester. We are in communication with students and partner institutions regarding academic contingency plans and additional support needs.
Is Arcadia still planning to run summer and fall programs?
In response to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, The College of Global Studies has made significant adjustments to our summer 2020 program offerings. The revised list of program options reflects our commitment to the health and well-being of our students and practical matters related to student visa processes, housing, and other on-site services impacted by the coronavirus situation. We are currently planning to offer the following programs in summer and fall 2020:
Our Crisis Response team is actively monitoring the situation in all program locations. We are reviewing and updating emergency and contingency plans as necessary in light of travel information and health policies in countries where we operate. Our teams are in close communication with institutional partners abroad regarding protocols in the event of a local outbreak, and providing regular updates to students, their families, and our U.S. partners.
Our Centers are stocking hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, cleaning supplies, etc. and are distributing informational materials to all members of our community. Arcadia staff are organizing meetings with all students studying under our auspices to provide prevention guidelines, travel advice, and review health protocols.
What if I am currently abroad and feel sick, or my roommates feel sick?
If you have traveled to any of the areas significantly affected by the coronavirus (or have been in close contact with someone who has), closely monitor your health and record your temperature for at least 14 days after your travel.
If you believe you have symptoms, please stay home and notify Arcadia staff immediately so we can help you seek appropriate medical care. Individuals with symptoms are asked not to seek medical care without calling ahead.
If your roommate becomes ill, don’t panic. Remember the symptoms of coronavirus are also symptoms for many common illnesses, and those at highest risk for the disease are individuals who have traveled to significantly impacted areas. Separate yourself as much as possible from your roommate, avoid sharing household items like towels and toiletries, and follow all of the prevention methods outlined above. Ask your roommate to notify the appropriate program staff of their symptoms.
What if there is a quarantine?
Arcadia has protocols to respond in the event that a quarantine is implemented in any cities where TCGS operates. The specific approach will be dictated by the unique circumstances of each case. Arcadia is committed to doing what we can to assist students in whatever challenges they might face as a result of COVID-19. In the event of a change that impacts one of our programs, Arcadia staff will contact affected students to provide specific advice.
What should I be aware of if I have to travel back to the U.S.?
All travelers should expect additional screenings on U.S.-bound flights, especially from the Schengen area in Europe. Travelers are likely to be asked for their travel history and may undergo health screenings. The U.S. Embassy in Rome, for example, has announced that passengers on U.S.-bound flights from Italy will not be permitted to board if their temperature is higher than 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. It is possible that additional screenings will be implemented for travel to the U.S. from other countries as the virus continues to spread.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control is advising travelers entering the U.S. from any destination during the past 14 days to monitor their health and practice social distancing. Travelers that are sick with fever, cough, or have trouble breathing should call ahead before seeking medical care.
We encourage all students who are preparing to return to the U.S. to stay abreast of updates from the CDC, their U.S. state health department, and their home institution.
When do I have to leave my host country / my housing?
We are expecting students to leave their program-arranged housing by the dates communicated to them via email and/or by the on-site staff. If there are extenuating circumstances preventing you from doing so, please contact Assistant Director of Health, Safety, and Security Hannah Leidich at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional advising. Arcadia will work with you so you are supported.
How do I let Arcadia know my flight plans?
All students should share their flight details with Arcadia on the flight form they received via email. Students who cannot locate this link should reach out to Arcadia staff to request it be sent to them again.
Will Arcadia arrange transportation to the airport?
All students are expected to make their own ground transportation arrangements, just as they would have at the scheduled end of their program.
Will I be able to return to my host country if the situation changes?
The on-site program will not resume during the spring 2020 semester.
What if I want to keep other travel plans before returning home?
We strongly encourage any students considering remaining in their host country to seriously consider the risks associated with the outbreak of COVID-19. Because the on-site program is suspended, students are expected to leave program-arranged housing by the dates communicated to them via email and/or by the on-site staff. The Arcadia-provided insurance coverage and travel assistance also ends with your departure or on the program end date. Additional personal travel will not be covered by Arcadia’s insurance and travel assistance. If you have extenuating circumstances, please contact Hannah Leidich, Assistant Director of Health, Safety, and Security at email@example.com.
Arcadia University does not endorse plans for students to remain abroad. Should you choose to pursue personal travel, you assume all risks associated with such travel, and acknowledge that Arcadia will not provide insurance or other travel assistance to you after the program end date. This means you will not have support if you have a medical issue or need help departing the country.
You should also notify your home institution if you intend to proceed with personal travel plans.
Is there financial support for my return flight travel when Arcadia has suspended my program?
Arcadia will reimburse you up to $500 of the total cost of changes from your original itinerary for flights home for students departing from suspended programs.
Requests for reimbursement must be emailed to Jennifer Darvas at firstname.lastname@example.org. In order to process this credit, you will need to submit the following materials:
Confirmation of your original booking (flight confirmation email, including itinerary and airfare);
Proof of payment for your original booking (copy of credit card statement or bank statement);
Confirmation of your updated booking (including itinerary, airfare, and any change fees);
Proof of payment for your updated booking (copy of credit card statement or bank statement);
The address to which you would like a refund check mailed (if applicable).
To avoid delays, ensure that all information submitted is complete. Additionally, please ensure that all materials are submitted together.
Will I be reimbursed for Arcadia’s optional excursions cancelled as a result of program suspension?
Arcadia will refund all cancelled optional excursions using the original form of payment.
Will I get a refund for any program fees on suspended programs?
Arcadia is actively working to identify all recoverable expenses related to housing and excursions. A credit will be applied for expenses that are recovered. If you have been billed directly by Arcadia University, a credit to your student account will be issued. If you have been billed by your home school for your program, you will need to follow up with your Student Accounts/Bursar's Office to determine how the credit will be applied to your student account.
What will happen with my credits now that my Preview course has been canceled?
All first-year and transfer students who complete their Preview coursework will receive the two credits of the course and have an opportunity to study abroad during the 2020-21 academic year. Students who withdraw are not eligible for course credit or the corresponding international experience.
Will I get a refund?
Students who paid the program fee of $595 or $300 and intend to participate in the travel segment of Preview 2021 will have that amount applied to Spring 2021 Preview. Students who are unable to participate in a Preview 2021 travel program and paid the 2020 program fee will have the Preview program fee credited to their student accounts. If this creates a credit balance, students will need to submit a student refund request to obtain a refund.
Students who received a Preview travel support grant will have that sum of money removed from their student account this semester, but will receive the same grant for Preview travel in 2021.
Global Field Studies (GFS)
What's the status of my GFS course?
Arcadia made the difficult decision to cancel the travel portion of the remaining spring 2020 Global Field Study courses to the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Ukraine, and Costa Rica. The University’s Travel Advisory Committee examined information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of State, and our travel assistance provider International SOS. Factors became increasingly apparent as mobility is strained, airlines continue to cancel international flights at short notice, governments require self-quarantine for visitors on arrival, and the planned field study itinerary cannot be guaranteed.
Are GFS students eligible for a refund?
The GFS travel fee will be credited to student accounts. If this creates a credit balance, students will need to submit a student refund request to obtain a refund. Arcadia's International Program Manager Cheryl Lewis can help you with this process.
Will I receive credits for completing my GFS course this semester?
GFS faculty are committed to redesigning their courses so that students can earn their four credits and maintain the Arcadia Undergraduate Curriculum (AUC) requirements; students should contact their GFS faculty about course continuation. Undergraduate students can opt for a pass/fail grade (further details are here). Students are encouraged not to withdraw from the course, but to speak with their GFS faculty and their faculty advisers if they choose to do so. Students need to also understand the effect on a student’s financial aid if dropping below 12 credits (nine credits for graduate students).
Prevention and Self-Care
What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the source of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Cases of COVID-19 have now been reported in multiple countries worldwide, including the U.S.
What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?
The common symptoms of COVID-19—which typically appear 2-14 days after exposure—are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The majority of cases are mild. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 80% of individuals infected with COVID-19 recover without needing any special treatment.
Individuals under 40 have been the least affected by the disease. Older people, especially those with chronic health conditions, are at higher risk of developing serious illnesses. More severe cases can cause pneumonia and even death.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person through close contact and through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may also spread by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it if you touch your own face, nose, or eyes after exposure.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick or coughing.
When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect “high touch” surfaces and objects every day.
Carefully consider the risks associated with personal travel and the potential for spreading the virus.
Do not attempt to travel if you have a fever or are ill. Be prepared to alter plans on short notice. If you choose to proceed with personal travel, submit your plans to Arcadia.
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from COVID-19. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
Are there testing locations near Arcadia?
This past Saturday, these drive-through testing locations became available to the community:
A fever at or above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit AND respiratory symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath; or
A temperature at or above 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit AND 65 years of age or older; or
A first responder (law enforcement, fire, EMS, or dispatcher) AND concern for exposure to a patient with suspected COVID-19 OR respiratory symptoms; or
Health care workers providing direct patient care AND testing not available through employer AND concern for exposure to a patient with suspected COVID-19 OR respiratory symptoms.
The site is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., by appointment only, as testing supplies allow.
Visit www.montcopa.org/COVID-19 for more details, or check official Montgomery County government social media accounts. Individuals without access to the internet or who do not have an email address can call 610-631-3000 to register for a testing appointment.
What do I need in preparation for the stay-at-home order?
To prepare for the stay-at-home order, healthcare professionals note that personal items that should be procured include Kleenex, acetaminophen (Tylenol) in 325 mg tablets, ibuprofen (Advil) in 200 mg tablets, Mucinex, and your preferred cough medicine (Robitussin, DayQuil/NyQuil, etc.). A humidifier is also recommended. If you have a history of asthma and have a prescription inhaler, make sure it has not expired, and refill it or get a new one if necessary.
These resources may be helpful for students and families who are anxious about this situation: