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Fall 2021 Semester Information

Dickinson is fully open for the fall semester, but the Delta variant has required the rethinking of some health and safety protocols. We are continually monitoring the health conditions of the campus and the local community and county. We have a series of thresholds in place with associated actions that would need to be taken so that if the conditions worsen significantly, we have plans in place to shift as needed.

The information below outlines the latest information and protocols and will be updated as needed.

Fall 2021 Recap  
Employee Count 827
Employee cumulative positive 48
Student Count 2215
Student cumulative positive 70

Fall 2021 Recap

The information at left offers a snapshot of positive cases of COVID-19 among the campus community as of the end of the semester.

Students: What do I do if I don’t feel well?
  • Any student showing symptoms of COVID-19 must report them to Wellness Center staff. Please review this guide for details

Click on chart to view full image — Download PDF here

Reference sheet for COVID symptoms

Employees: What do I do if I've been exposed or don't feel well?
  • Employees who have been exposed and/or have symptoms of COVID-19 should complete the Symptoms Tracker via the Gateway and refer to the following chart for additional instruction.

Click on chart to view full image — Download PDF here

Reference sheet for COVID symptoms

What should faculty do if a student is ill – or if they think a student is ill?

If a student reports to faculty that they are ill or appear ill, they can encourage the student to reach out to the Wellness Center at 717-245-1663. Students can also call the Nurseline to receive medical advice and support 24/7, especially when the Wellness Center is closed at 866-491-4462.
If faculty have concerns about a student’s health or well-being, they may submit a Care Team report.

Academic Program/Remote Learning
  • We made the decision to return to a fully in-person environment, so the expectation is that all students will be on campus.
  • If upperclass students are not able to return to campus for reasons beyond their control (such as international students with travel/visa issues), there is a process for students to request permission from academic affairs to study remotely by contacting Deb Bolen at It should be noted that class options for remote learners will be very limited, and students may need to change their fall schedule.
  • First-year students who are not able to travel to campus for similar reasons as above are being advised to defer their enrollment until the spring semester. 
  • Faculty have been asked to be prepared to move to remote learning if needed.
  • For the most-up-to-date information regarding study abroad and to see the messaging that has gone out to all of our students and other stakeholders please visit the Center for Global Study & Engagement (CGSE) website.
  • Currently, field trips are moving forward, but faculty should have alternative plans in case field trips are canceled at any point during the semester.
  • Currently, employees and students are allowed to travel, but it is recommended that they consult the CDC’s travel planner website to assess the safety of traveling to a specific area. The CDC recommends that unvaccinated people not travel.

Face Coverings
  • Cumberland County continues to move between “high” and “substantial” transmission.
  • Proper face coverings are required in indoor spaces, except in individual offices or residences. We anticipate continuing any masking mandate until we remain below “substantial” transmission in the county for at least two weeks or CDC guidelines change.
  • Masks need to be worn in all campus buildings, including the HUB, and may only be removed in designated dining facilities when actively eating. 
  • Masks must also be worn in all areas of the residential facilities, except a person’s individual room, suite, or apartment. However, students should wear their masks when someone who does not live with them is in their room, suite, or apartment. They can remove masks in community bathrooms when washing faces, brushing teeth, showering, etc.  

Vaccinations (students)
  • All students are required to be vaccinated or to seek an exemption (religious or medical). Documentation should be uploaded to the Wellness Center Patient Portal. Additionally, students studying abroad in the spring are required to get a COVID booster.  This documentation should also be uploaded to the Wellness Center Patient Portal. Boosters are not currently required for Carlisle-based students but are highly recommended.
  • If a student does not get the vaccine or request an exemption, they will not be permitted to live on campus or attend classes.
  • If a student has initiated the vaccination process (i.e., has had their first shot, but not their second), but is not fully vaccinated by the start of the semester, they may not come to campus until they have had their second shot. Students will be allowed to return to campus if they have completed their vaccinations but have not yet completed the two-week period to be fully vaccinated.
  • International students who cannot get a vaccine in their home country are able to make arrangements to arrive on campus early to get their vaccine here. 

Vaccinations (employees)
  • Employees are required to be vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption as of September 30, 2021, or within the first 30 days of employment. Proof of vaccination can be submitted electronically. Exemptions can be requested here.
  • Booster shots are now strongly encouraged. According to the CDC, recent studies have shown that the vaccination effectiveness decreases over time. You can receive any booster you wish. The schedule below suggests when to get a booster, after completing your vaccination (series):
    • Pfizer-BioNTech – 6 months
    • Moderna – 6 months
    • Johnson & Johnson’s Janessen – 2 months
  • Proof of booster shots can also be submitted electronically.
  • Approximately 90% of employees have submitted proof of vaccination. 
  • Proper face coverings are required for everyone in indoor spaces, except in individual offices or residences. At such time that this mandate is lifted, unvaccinated employees will need to wear a face covering indoors, physically distance from others (where possible) and participate in weekly testing. Unvaccinated employees should also wear a face covering outdoors when not able to physically distance from others.

Testing (students)
  • Testing for asymptomatic students takes place in Allison Hall Room 1.  Hours for testing are as follows::
    • Mondays 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Tuesdays 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Wednesdays 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Thursdays 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Fridays 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Symptomatic students should contact the Wellness Center to arrange for testing. 
  • Unvaccinated students with exemptions will be tested weekly.
  • Unvaccinated student athletes with exemptions will be tested 3x a week based on NCAA guidelines.
  • Vaccinated students may also participate in weekly testing.
  • No appointment is necessary.
  • There are protocols (i.e., an exposure management plan) in place in the event that a student or employee tests positive with different protocols depending on whether they are unvaccinated or vaccinated. See Exposure, Quarantine & Isolation for more information.

Testing (employees)
  • Testing for asymptomatic employees takes place in Allison Hall Room 1 on Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • No appointment is necessary.
  • Employees who are not vaccinated will be tested weekly. This includes everyone who comes to campus, even if only periodically. Telecommuters who work 100% of the time from another location are excluded.
  • Employees who are vaccinated may also participate in weekly testing. 
  • There are protocols (i.e., an exposure management plan) in place in the event that a student or employee tests positive with different protocols depending on whether they are unvaccinated or vaccinated. See Exposure, Quarantine & Isolation for more information.

Symptoms Tracker
  • Unvaccinated students/employees will be expected to utilize the symptoms tracker daily.
  • Any individual who is feeling ill and/or has been exposed to a COVID positive individual should report this information via the tracker.
  • All community members are encouraged to use the COVID Alert PA app.

Exposure, Quarantine & Isolation
  • Due to all students returning to campus and a large first-year class, there is limited capacity on campus for quarantine & isolation space. We have contracted with hotels in the area to provide space as needed.
  •  Details on quarantine, isolation and contact tracing for both students and employees is contained in the Exposure Management Plan.

Reference Sheet For Students

Click on chart to view full image — Download PDF here

Flowchart for individuals living on campus during the COVID pandemic in Fall 2021

Reference Sheet For Employees

Click on chart to view full image — Download PDF here

Flowchart for individuals working on campus during the COVID pandemic in Fall 2021

Campus Facilities
  • Campus buildings returned to pre-COVID access status (vs. card access only)  when students returned to campus. Some buildings remain accessible with a Dickinson ID card after business hours as they were pre-COVID. 
  • To ensure a safe campus environment, facilities management maintenance staff will closely monitor the performance of building air handling units daily via the automated controls program. Due to the concern surrounding COVID-19, more detailed in-person spot checking will also occur, especially in those buildings without these controls. Where possible, facilities management will be increasing air exchange rates to maximize the amount of fresh air. This will be accomplished by disabling demand-controlled ventilation and opening outdoor air dampers as outdoor conditions permit. 
  • It is possible to open windows in most campus classrooms and facilities will check on their operation prior to the start of school.  If you find they cannot be open, please contact facilities management for assistance.  If you open windows, please pay attention to the outside air temperature and humidity conditions. On very hot and humid days, introducing too much warm air will make it difficult for the mechanical systems to maintain building set-points. This could result in environmental hazards such as mold and mildew. Ideally, acceptable outdoor air temperatures should be between 50 and 60 degrees to open windows. Humidity levels should be less than 6%. Windows should be closed when leaving spaces. 
  • A number of our classroom buildings have CO2 sensors as part of the HVAC controls systems. In classrooms without operable windows, portable HEPA filters/air purifiers may be provided in some classrooms.  Appropriate locations will be determined based upon occupancy levels and type of building HVAC system.
  • We are not planning to return to social distancing. We feel that our anticipated high vaccination rate for our full community does not require returning to social distancing. 
  • The same campus protocols will apply to any outside groups that are utilizing space on campus. They will need to abide by whatever the campus health and safety protocols require.
  • To qualify for a HEPA unit, spaces needed to meet the following criteria:
    • Windows are inoperable, AND
    • The space is served by an HVAC system where it is challenging to increase the amount of fresh air.  In this instance, the system is either of a residential type nature or the current setting cannot be manipulated to easily increase the designed amount of outdoor air.
  • Any building or space where windows can be opened did not meet the requirements identified above and thus were deemed ineligible for the HEPA units. For those buildings where windows may be stuck or difficult or to open, we ask that members of the community please contact Facilities Management by submitting a work order or calling 245-1212 and our staff will work to get that rectified.  It should be noted however, that the facilities team is currently deployed in preparing the campus for the arrival of students and the request to unstick windows will be addressed as soon as it is feasible to do so.
  • It should also be noted that some buildings with inoperable windows do have the capacity to increase their outside air volume through the HVAC system, and thus do not qualify for HEPA units. Buildings in this category include Tome, Kaufman, the Library, Weiss and the HUB.
  • All requests for HEPA units were reviewed carefully and each one was thoroughly vetted against the above criteria.

Travel Guidelines for Students
  • While there are currently no restrictions on student travel, the CDC recommends that unvaccinated students delay travel until fully vaccinated. The CDC shares the following recommendations for unvaccinated people who cannot delay travel.
  • Any student who has traveled internationally should get tested upon return to campus at Allison Hall and must have a negative test before returning to class. Hours for testing are as follows:
    • Mondays 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
    • Wednesdays 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
    • Fridays 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
  • Student groups traveling overnight and/or outside of Carlisle, representing the college or on college business, must register their travel through the TRIPS system under travel in CLIQ.
  • Masks are required for all using mass transportation.
  • Masks are required for travel with others in fleet vehicles.
  • Travelers are encouraged to use the CDC Travel Planner to understand the transmission rates in the areas where they will be traveling. 
  • Any vaccinated student returning from a trip can request to be tested at the Wellness Center. 
  • If an increase in COVID cases on campus is traced back to travel, the current guidelines will be reevaluated and potentially revised. 

Updated: September 2021

Open Sessions

August 11, 2021

First-Year and Sophomore Students and Families Open Session

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August 12, 2021

Junior and Senior Students and Families Open Session

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