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Departing Campus Protocol

This page details the Departing Campus Protocol to be followed by students in advance of their departure from campus at the end of the on-campus term on November 20, and once they get home.

Preparation for Leaving Campus

Friday, November 20th marks the end of in-person courses for the term, the beginning of Thanksgiving break and the closure of the Residence Halls for the winter term. All classes will resume virtually on Monday, November 30th and classes and exams will be virtual through the end of term on December 11th.  

As Saturday, November 7th marks 14 days before everyone can depart campus to return home, we are providing recommendations and best practices through this Departing Campus Protocol. By following these recommendations over the next 14 days (and when you return home), you can help minimize your exposure to coronavirus in the weeks leading up to your departure and help protect the health of your family and friends back home. 

The information on this page applies to students who are asymptomatic before heading home. If you are symptomatic, please contact Student Health Services at 412-365-1714 to form a plan for your transition home. 

While many of you are no doubt excited about reuniting with family and friends at the end of the on-campus term, it’s a time to be extra-vigilant with regard to the coronavirus. That’s because there’s an increased risk of spreading the virus when traveling and interacting with people whom you haven’t been in close contact with for some time. 

Since protecting yourself is the best way to protect those you love, the following Departing Campus Protocol has been established for this transitional time.

Before You Leave Campus

Be extra careful about your close contacts
We know it’s challenging, but limiting the number of people you come in close contact with is a highly effective way of controlling your exposure and/or chance of spreading the virus. Public health guidance recommends limiting your close contacts and social circle to three to five people (including roommates) in the two weeks leading up to November 20. 

Mask up
Consider increasing your mask usage to scenarios where you wouldn’t have worn one before.

Avoid parties and gatherings and maintain physical distancing
The end of the on-campus term is a tempting time to have parties, but it’s important to avoid events that can contribute to the spread of COVID-19. The county and our contact tracing has found that even small gatherings of 8-12 can cause spread.

Keep checking with Residence Life 
On-campus resident students should review and adhere to the established Closing & Departure guidelines from Residence Life. More information will be emailed about return-to-campus protocols. We will monitor current trends throughout break to guide this process. Be sure to regularly check your email over break as plans can shift.

Consider getting a COVID-19 test
If you wish to get tested before leaving campus, there is free testing at Allegheny County's McKeesport testing location. Keep in mind that a test is only one part of a safety strategy to integrate with your family and friends. Quarantining is the best approach to protecting your family, friends, and yourself.

Leaving Campus 

Guests, including family, friends, and residents from other buildings, are still prohibited from entering your residence hall or apartment. 
They are not permitted to enter the building to help your pack or remove belongings. If they pick you up, they must remain outside of the building and be required to wear a mask outside the vehicle. They must avoid contact or interaction with anyone except yourself. 
If a guest is picking you up and traveling from outside Pennsylvania, they will be permitted to enter the state to pick you up only.
Once you have relocated your belongings to their vehicle, you should leave campus and drive home immediately. The current Travel Restriction is anyone who visits from another state has to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the commonwealth or quarantine for 14-days upon their arrival. Individuals from out-of-state who are picking you up but immediately returning home and not staying overnight are permitted to do so without having to test or quarantine.
Masks and face coverings must be worn by the student and their guests at all times, whether indoors or outside.
We recommend as you travel home that you continue to wear your mask because you will be interacting with people outside of your pod. 

When You Get Home

Develop a plan with your at-home family and friends
It’s great to be on the same page with regard to COVID-19 preparation. Have a conversation about how you will handle things such as: a modified quarantine at home for a few days, physical distancing, masking, close contacts, and everyday activities such as eating and hanging out.

Continue to use the daily health screen on the ChathamU app
Even when you are off campus, it’s a great way to stay in the habit of being aware of your symptoms and your risk profile.

Stick to on-campus COVID-19 best practices
Fact: masking up and maintaining physical distancing is a great way to reduce your chance of contracting or spreading the virus, no matter who you’re with.

If sick, stay home and consider getting tested
If you develop COVID, cold or flu-like symptoms, be sure to stay home and stay apart from others. Check out testing availability in your county—part of a good plan at home is knowing how you can get tested quickly if needed. If you do get tested, share the results with SHS through the online reporting form.