Penn Highlands Community College is committed to protecting the health and well-being of the College community and our region, while ensuring that students have the information, resources, and classes they need to achieve their future goals. This page includes updates and information vital to our pandemic, including resources for incoming and current students. Since COVID-19 continues to evolve, updates and information will be added regularly.COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan
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 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
Please remember that Pennsylvania does have travel restrictions in place that will be enforced for our employees who travel out of state. These restrictions reflect the shorter quarantine time following travel. Please know that there are increased risks with any travel. However, 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
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.
Pennsylvania Highlands cares about your health, the health of your family, and the health of our region. We are monitoring the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
We are also monitoring the seasonal flu outbreaks and encourage students to be mindful of their health during this season.
We will continue to closely monitor this situation and will be prepared to maintain College operations to the best of our ability should illnesses interrupt normal daily operation.
Reducing the Risk of Infection
- Wash your hands frequently! Handwashing is the most effective preventative measure. 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 a 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, advisor, and/or any College personnel immediately.
- Seek medical guidance. Remember that you can use telemedicine, available through many health insurance companies, for a virtual visit with a physician.
Coronavirus: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that patients with a confirmed 2019-nCoV 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
Should you begin to experience any of these symptoms and have recently traveled to or near affected areas, or been exposed to others who have traveled to or near affected areas, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
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.
Should you begin to experience any of these symptoms and have recently been exposed to others who are ill, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
- 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 funds to provide the mandated amount of at least 50% of the 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 12/31/2020 is $440,143.
- Of these funds, $440,143 has been distributed/awarded to students as of this reporting date (12/31/2020). Additionally, $1,191 of the Institutional CARES funds has been distributed to students for a total of $441,334 (2/31/2020). (May disbursement totaled $225,629. September disbursement totaled $215,705.)
- 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 1,334, and are therefore eligible to receive an emergency financial aid grant.
- 1,334 distinct students have received an emergency financial aid grant. (Spring 2020 students who received CARES funds was 923. Fall 2020 students who received CARES funds was 881.)
- Pennsylvania Highlands Community College determined which students received emergency financial aid grants and how much they received using the following formula:
- Multiplier X Number of Credits X $12.50 = Payment To Student
- All multipliers are added together.
Any student taking credits on March 13th = 1 multiplier
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 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.
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.