Penn Highlands Community College is committed to protecting the health and well-being of the students, employees, and visitors to the College community. Since the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, please regularly check back here for updates and information. When making updates to the College’s health and safety plan, the College refers to the recommendations of the CDC, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is currently mask optional. Masks are optional for all employees, students, and visitors inside all public areas of Penn Highlands’ buildings regardless of vaccination status. Please be respectful to each other and give each other space when it is desired.
We understand that the situation with COVID transmission and guidance can change quickly. While we hope that we do not have to return to requiring masks, we may have to do that if the guidance or transmission levels change. If that does occur, we will send another update. (Last Updated: 3/4/22)
Vaccinations are proven to be a safe, effective way of protecting others from COVID-19. We therefore strongly encourage all employees and students to receive the vaccine to protect the college community.
People are only considered fully vaccinated under the following conditions:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
ADDITIONAL MITIGATION EFFORTS
Effective May 31, 2021, Pennsylvania COVID-19 mitigation measures (e.g., social distancing and reduced room capacities) were lifted. Please remember that there are varying levels of sensitivity and concern within our community related to Covid-19. We ask that you continue to try and have a Zoom option for meetings and give each other space when it is desired.
As a reminder, if you exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19 please stay home, seek medical care, and inform your instructor or supervisor.
What if I test positive for COVID-19?
- If you are exposed or test positive, please follow the CDC guidelines for your unique situation.
- Seek guidance from a health care professional if you have questions about vaccinations or if are unsure about your requirements to isolate or quarantine.
Reducing the Risk of Infection
- Wash your hands frequently! For handwashing guidelines, click here.
- Use an effective (60-95% alcohol) hand sanitizer in-between hand washes.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm or tissue (not your hands).
- Avoid sharing cups, utensils, water bottles, and other personal items.
- Avoid personal contact and those who are sick.
What if I get sick?
- Monitor your symptoms and compare them to the lists provided below.
- Stay home! While we appreciate the dedication of our students, faculty, and region, we want you to get well and we want to prevent the spread of illness.
- Report possible exposure or illness to an instructor or supervisor.
- Seek medical guidance. Remember that you can use telemedicine, available through many health insurance companies, for a virtual visit with a physician.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that patients with a confirmed COVID-19 infection have had a wide range of symptoms reported (ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness). Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- fever or chills
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- muscle or body aches
- new loss of taste or smell
- sore throat
- congestion or runny nose
- nausea or vomiting
Omicron Variant: According to the CDC, the Omicron variant will likely spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. How easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown. CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms. More data is needed to know if Omicron infections, and especially reinfections and breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated, cause more severe illness or death than infection with other variants.
Delta Variant: According to the CDC, the Delta variant causes more infections and spreads faster than early forms of the virus that spreads COVID-19. Some data suggest the Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous variants in unvaccinated people. Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to others; however, vaccinated people appear to spread the virus for a shorter time.
Influenza: The CDC reports that Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- fever or feeling feverish/chills
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
- muscle or body aches
- fatigue (tiredness)
- some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
- FACTSHEET: What you need to know about the coronavirus.
- FACTSHEET: What to do if you are sick with the coronavirus.
- INFOGRAPHIC: Stop the spread of germs (coronavirus COVID-19).
- INFOGRAPHIC: Symptoms of the coronavirus.
- More information on the coronavirus (Pennsylvania Department of Heath).
- More information on the symptoms, treatment, and prevention measures for influenza virus.
- More information on the symptoms, treatment, and prevention measures for coronavirus.
- Pennsylvania’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For questions or concerns, please contact:
- Cregg Dibert
Director of Security & Safety
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College acknowledges that the institution has signed and returned the certification and agreement form and that the institution has used, or intends to use, the applicable amount of funds designated under the CRRSAA and ARP programs to provide emergency financial aid grants to students.
- The total amount of funds Pennsylvania Highlands will receive, or has received, under the HEERF student portion as of 09/30/2022 is $2,737,043.
- A total of $2,738,792 has been distributed/awarded to students as of this reporting date (09/30/2022). The college distributed $2,734,912 in student HEERF funds and $3,880 in institution HEERF funds to students. (May 2020 disbursement totaled $225,429. September 2020 disbursement totaled $214,791. February 2021 disbursement totaled $219,561. April 2021 disbursement totaled (net) $219,947. July 2021 disbursement totaled (net) $205,956. October 2021 disbursement totaled (net) $834,863. January 2022 disbursement $818,245).
- The estimated total number of students at Pennsylvania Highlands eligible to participate (in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965) is 3,917 and are therefore eligible to receive an emergency financial aid grant.
- 3,905 distinct students have received an emergency financial aid grant. (Spring 2020 students who received funds was 923. Fall 2020 students who received funds was 875. First disbursement for Spring 2021 students was 843, and second disbursement for Spring 2021 students was 825. Summer 2021 students was 709. Fall 2021 students was 2,349. Spring 2022 students was 1,052.)
- Pennsylvania Highlands Community College determined which students received emergency financial aid grants and how much they received using the following formula:
- Payment to the student
- All multipliers are added together
- Multiplier X Number of Credits X Per Credit Rate
- Spring 2020 Per Credit Rate = $12.50
- Fall 2020 Per Credit Rate = $12.50
- First Disbursement Spring 2021 Per Credit Rate = $13.50
- Second Disbursement Spring 2021 Per Credit Rate = $13.70
- Summer 2021 Per Credit Rate = $40.00
- Fall 2021 Per Credit Rate = $37.00
- Spring 2022 Per Credit Rate = $49.00
- Any student taking credits = 1 multiplier
- Spring 2020 based on credits enrolled as of 3/13/2020
- Fall 2020 based on credits enrolled as of 9/25/2020
- First Disbursement Spring 2021 based on credits enrolled as of 2/15/2021
- Second Disbursement Spring 2021 based on credits enrolled as of 4/5/2021
- Summer 2021 based on credits enrolled as of 7/12/2021
- Fall 2021 based on credits enrolled as of 10/12/2021
- Spring 2022 based on credits enrolled as of 1/26/2022
- Students receiving Pell = 0.5 multiplier
- Students receiving SEOG = 0.5 multiplier
- Students taking direct loan = 0.5 multiplier
- Low-need students would receive a 1 multiplier.
- High-need students would receive a 2.5 multiplier.
- NOTE: High-need students receive 2.5 times more money than low-need students.
Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by Pennsylvania Highlands to students concerning an emergency financial aid grant was supplied via a letter. Click here to view a sample letter.
- 9-30-2020 CARES HEERF Quarterly Report
- 12-31-2020 CARES HEERF Quarterly Report
- 3-31-2021 CARES HEERF Quarterly Report
- 6-30-2021 CARES HEERF Quarterly Report
- 9-30-2021 CARES HEERF Quarterly Report
- 12-31-2021 CARES HEERF Quarterly Report
- 3-31-2022 CARES HEERF Quarterly Report
- 6-30-2022 CARES HEERF Quarterly Report
- 9-30-2022 CARES HEERF Quarterly Report
The latest CDC and PA Secretary of Health Guidance states that fully vaccinated individuals can resume activities that they did prior to the pandemic without wearing a mask. Effective immediately, Pennsylvania Highlands will adopt this guidance for all locations – vaccinated individuals do not have to wear a mask while on-site.
In general, people are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated or until new guidance is issued by the College.
Please note, that we will not be keeping a record of vaccines for employees or students but ask that you comply with the guidance in order to keep our campuses and communities safe.
With COVID-19 numbers stabilizing and improving in our region, Penn Highlands Community College has made the decision to return to in-person classes for the Spring 2021 semester:
- The spring semester will resume with in-person classes across all sites beginning on Monday, February 22, 2021.
- Classes marked as “Virtual Until Further Notice” will return to in-person instruction the week of February 22. Class sections marked as “Virtual Classroom” or “Completely Online” will continue to be taught remotely.
- Students can expect to receive communication from their instructor through Brightspace, as well as a text message regarding updates to the Spring 2021 class schedule. Students will receive the text message by Thursday, February 11.
- All buildings will continue to remain open, providing full access to technology and WiFi.
- All academic and student support offices, as well as the bookstore, will continue to remain open. For details, please check the building operating hours of your preferred location.
Penn Highlands wants everyone to progress and reach their educational goals. We will do all that we can to help make that happen. The Student Success Center is available for assistance with academic needs such as tutoring, any mental and/or physical health issues you may be dealing with, disability support services, advising and scheduling assistance, and assistance with personal issues that may be impacting your success.
The College will continue to monitor the situation and make any necessary adjustments. If students have questions about their schedules, they may contact their instructor or the Registrar’s Office at 814.262.6439.
In order to adhere to social distancing mandates, class sizes have been reduced to allow for both students and faculty to interact in a safe environment. All readily available areas for students will be monitored and sanitized regularly, while every other computer workstation will be available for use in order to maintain proper social distancing.
Students are required to wear face coverings at all locations. Hand sanitizing stations are available at each entrance; students are encouraged to use them prior to entering any facility.
The CDC recently shortened the quarantine requirements for those who have close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The Pennsylvania Department of Health adopted those same guidelines, and we are now able to do the same. Generally speaking, if you learn that you were in close contact with someone who tests positive, you are now able to stop quarantine on day 10 without testing or on day 7 after receiving a negative test result (test must occur on day 5 or later). After stopping quarantine, you should continue to watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure.
If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact your healthcare provider. As always, continue to wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet from others, wash your hands, avoid crowds, and take other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Not all cases are the same, so we will continue to suggest that you seek guidance from a physician and follow his or her recommendations.
Currently, Pennsylvania does not have travel restrictions in place. Please know that there are increased risks with any travel. If you decide to travel, please do as safely as you can. The CDC provides thorough guidance to help you with decision-making, planning, and safer travel practices.
Our current public health crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen, and it is not expected to stabilize until late winter or early spring. Due to these circumstances and protecting our students, faculty, and staff, Penn Highlands Community College has made the following decisions regarding the Spring 2021 semester:
- The spring semester will begin on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 and end on Monday, May 10, 2021. The complete revised Spring 2021 academic calendar can be viewed here.
- Most scheduled in-person classes will begin the semester virtually. Some clinical and lab sections/classes will continue to meet in-person. (Students can expect to receive a text message regarding their Spring 2021 schedule following the fall semester.)
- All buildings will remain open so that students have full access to technology and WiFi.
- All academic and student support offices, as well as the bookstore, will remain open as needed. For details, please check the building operating hours of your preferred location.
The College will continue to monitor the situation and hope to transition back to in-person instruction as soon as possible, giving students a two-week notice before this transition occurs. If students have questions about their schedules, please contact the Registrar’s Office at 814.262.6439.
There are a number of support services available at Penn Highlands. Students may reach out to our Student Success Center for assistance with academic needs such as tutoring, any mental and/or physical health issues you may be dealing with, disability support services, advising and scheduling assistance, and assistance with personal issues that may be impacting your success. We want to see everyone make progress toward their educational goals and will do all that we can to help make that happen.
Pennsylvania Highlands will be following the same protocols as the new Pennsylvania COVID-19 orders issued on Tuesday, 11/17, for employees and students traveling in and out of the state. If students or employees plan to travel out of state, they will be required to show a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine for 14 days upon their return.
In positions where remote work is possible, employees will be permitted to work from home during the quarantine period. If you hold a position where you cannot effectively perform your job duties remotely, please contact Human Resources. In all cases, please talk to your supervisor before traveling so that he or she is aware of the situation.
This order, which takes effect on Friday, November 20, does not apply to people who commute to and from another state for work or medical treatment.
Beginning Monday, November 9th: For the safety of students, faculty, and staff, and due to the number of rising COVID-19 cases, we have determined that classes currently meeting in an in-person lecture format will move to a fully online format. Certain classes and labs will continue to meet on-site.
The three types of instruction for the remaining part of the semester are as follows:
- Online: Classes that have already been meeting in an online format will continue to do so. Some classes that had been meeting face-to-face or virtually may be moved to an online format.
- Virtual Synchronous: Face-to-face classes may be moved to this format. This means that students will continue to meet on the same days and at the same time as face-to-face classes, it will just be done via a virtual or remote connection.
- In-Person: Some labs and other lecture classes may still be held in-person depending upon the content of the coursework. Faculty will communicate with each student and provide the format that will be used.
Clubs and student-led organizations are to meet virtually unless it is absolutely necessary to meet in-person. Communication regarding meetings will come from student leaders and club advisors.
Our goal is to minimize foot traffic and the risk of exposure in our buildings as much as possible while still meeting the learning outcomes for each course.
College locations will still be open during normal business hours through the end of the fall semester. Students can still come on-site to use technology or other resources as needed. Contact information will be available in our remote learning rooms that directs you to any assistance you need.
These adjustments are in place for the Fall 2020 semester only. We fully intend to provide instruction in the Spring 2021 semester using the delivery methods outlined in the current course schedule.
Update 6/11/20: Five different types of classroom instruction for fall courses have been developed. These new offerings were created to ensure that all students feel comfortable and safe within their preferred learning environments.
Dependent upon individual preference, students may register for the following five different instructional formats: split section, virtual classroom, online, in-person, and hybrid.
- Split Section Instruction (1/2 Face-to-Face and 1/2 ZOOM instruction)
Split section classes are offered two days per week, where part of the class is on-campus one day, while the other day is conducted via ZOOM at the student’s preferred location. Below is an example of a Monday/Wednesday schedule.
- Mondays: Half the class meets in-person, while the other half meets via ZOOM.
- Wednesdays: Half the class meets via ZOOM, while the other half meets in-person.
- Virtual Classroom Instruction
Students will participate in class virtually through ZOOM at a scheduled day and time each week. Students will get to choose their preferred day of the week when registering for classes.
- Online Instruction
Online classes will be taught 100% online and will not be scheduled to meet on specific days or times. Online classes will have weekly assignments, readings, forums, tests, and activities. These classes are reading and writing intensive. It is recommended that students enrolling in these classes have strong time management, reading, and writing skills.
- In-Person Instruction
In-person classes meet physically on-site each week. Classes will meet one, two, or three days per week at scheduled times, with smaller class sizes in order to comply with social distancing guidelines.
- Hybrid Instruction
Hybrid classes are a combination of in-person and online instruction. Students must attend class physically on scheduled days and times. They must also complete online assignments, readings, activities, and projects.
In order to adhere to social distancing mandates, class sizes have been reduced to allow for both students and faculty to interact in a safe environment.
Access to the college’s computer labs and the library will be readily available for students at the Richland Campus. All computer lab and library areas will be monitored and sanitized regularly, while every other computer workstation will be available for use in order to maintain proper social distancing.
Students are required to wear face coverings at all college locations. Hand sanitizing stations will also be available at each entrance; students will be encouraged to use them prior to entering any college facility.
- Placement Testing
- Registering for Classes
- Academic Advising
- Financial Aid Processing
- KEYS Advising
- Bookstore (opening June 15th) to purchase textbooks and supplies
All for-credit classes this summer will continue to be online.
To ensure your safety and the safety of our employees, all visitors are asked to schedule an appointment with the appropriate department or location before coming to a facility. Please call the following to schedule your individual appointments:
- Admissions: 814.262.6446
- Registration: 814.262.6439
- Advising & Placement Testing: 814.262.6451
- IT Help Desk: 814.262.6470
- Bookstore: 814.262.6453 or 814.262.7913
- Blair Center: 814.201.2700
- Somerset Center: 814.443.2500
- Richland Campus: 814.262.6400
- Security & General Questions: 814.525.2597
Beginning Monday, June 15th, the Penn Highlands Community College Bookstore will allow students to come in to purchase textbooks and supplies by appointment only. Students are encouraged to continue purchasing their textbooks and supplies online whenever possible. Please check the Bookstore’s website for appointment hours as these vary daily and are subject to change.
To schedule appointments, please call 814.262.6453 or 814.262.7913. Students visiting the Bookstore may bring one person into the building with them. While on-site, all visitors will need to abide by the same guidelines of both the College and state.
PRIOR TO VISITING
Before coming on-site, visitors should ask themselves these questions:
- Do I have a fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea?
- In the past two weeks, have I been diagnosed or come into contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19?
- In the past two weeks, have I visited a place or lived in a place where COVID-19 is spreading?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, please delay your visit. Stay home and take care of yourself.
While on-site, all visitors will need to abide by the following state guidelines:
- In order to enter a building, each visitor must call the office when on-site; a college employee will then meet you at the door and walk you in.
- Visitors must be escorted by an employee at all times.
- Have a scheduled appointment with an individual office.
- Wear a mask at all times while on location.
- Students that are meeting with the Admissions Office, Registration Office, and/or their advisors may bring one person into the building with them.
- Students coming to any location for testing are not permitted to bring anyone into the building with them.
- Maintain social distancing throughout the visit.
Penn Highlands has gone to extraordinary efforts to provide a safe environment for its employees and to visitors. Preventative measures include:
- All employees will wear a mask when working with visitors or other employees.
- Hand sanitizer is available throughout the building.
- All rooms that are being used or occupied are being robustly cleaned and sanitized.
ADDITIONAL NOTES AND UPDATES DUE TO THE PANDEMIC INCLUDE:
- The 1st Summer Session will continue as scheduled; however, all classes will be modified to an online format or moved to the 2nd Summer Session. Classes for the 1st Summer Session begin May 18th and continue through June 29th. Students should contact their instructors for classroom guidance and/or reach out to our staff by completing the Need Help form.
- The 2nd Summer Session, including lab courses, will be moved to a completely online format. Classes begin July 7th and will end August 17th. Faculty will be in contact with students in medical lab classes that require face-to-face contact for competency verification.
- All non-credit face-to-face classes are canceled through July 6th. Visit Workforce & Community to take advantage of online training.
- Richland, Blair, and Somerset facilities will be open beginning June 9th. Central Park, Ebensburg, and Huntingdon will remain closed for the time being.
- All student and employee travel has been suspended until further notice.
- All College-sponsored events or activities/meetings on-campus have been suspended until further notice.
- Our in-person Commencement has been postponed. A virtual Commencement was held on May 15th. Click here to watch.
- The 25th Anniversary Gala has been postponed. It will likely be rescheduled for the fall.
- All employees will continue to work remotely until further notice.
- Employees should work with their direct supervisors to remain productive and efficient.
- Administration will continue to monitor the situation and modify work and learning environments as necessary.