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Planning Doc & Highlights

This page contains the Working Groups initial Fall 2020 Planning Document and a summary of important highlights from the recommended plans for the return to campus this fall. 

Planning Document v 6.8.20 

Chatham's planning document represents the work of the various Fall 2020 Working Groups in addressing four elements of planning for the return to in-person operations. This includes how to: 

  • repopulate the campus;
  • monitor health conditions to detect infection;
  • contain and prevent the spread of the disease when detected; and
  • shut down in the event it becomes necessary.

The working groups continue their efforts and the health guidelines continue to be revised by local, state and federal public health and governmental agencies. With this in mind, additional updates and addendums to this document will be posted and available on this website over the coming weeks.  

Download Document


Academic Term Dates

Following the recommendations of the University-wide work groups and public health and safety experts, Chatham University has announced changes to its fall term calendar. These changes will allow in-person classes to conclude on Saturday, November 21 and resume virtually on Monday, November 30 through the end of the term.

Key Dates:
Aug. 19 and 20: New student move-in
Aug. 22: Returning student move-in
Aug. 24: Fall term begins
Sept. 1: Course add/drop period ends
Sept. 7: Labor Day, no classes
Nov. 21: Fall term, on-campus classes end
Dec. 11: Fall term ends

*Check the Academic Calendar for additional Fall terms and relevant dates.

Health & Safety Requirements

All employees and students who are on-campus will be required to comply with a series of health and safety protocols, including: 

  • Stay home if feeling sick.
  • Stay home if in recent close contact with someone being tested for COVID-19. 
  • Receive a temperature check and answer a series of health questions every day before engaging in activity on campus or entering any buildings on campus. 
  • Wear a mask inside campus buildings (may be removed when alone in an office or in a residence hall room or eating in the dining halls). 
  • Masks are recommended outside campus buildings when in groups and if physical distancing cannot be maintained. 
  • Maintain physical distance (~ 6 feet) from others whenever possible. 
  • Wash or sanitize hands prior to entering and when leaving classrooms, residence halls or offices. 
  • Wipe down (with provided disinfecting wipes) office or classroom surfaces prior to use and when leaving. 
  • Follow any other location, department or program-specific protocols and procedures.  

These protocols and requirements may be subject to change based on updated health guidelines and the status of campus operations. 

Classrooms and Educational Activities

  • All teaching and classroom spaces will be set up for reduced occupancy and to maintain social distancing requirements. Some classes may be held in larger locations to meet these requirements. 
  • A number of planning options are being developed to adhere to social distancing requirements while continuing to deliver excellent classroom experiences for students.

Undergraduate Courses:

  • In some cases, large classes may assume a "flipped classroom" approach where lectures are provided in a recorded, asynchronous format with smaller discussion sessions held in-person.
  • Labs for undergraduate students may implement 3-to-4-week rotating cycles of students attending lab to learn the most important lab skills with supplemental virtual, asynchronous instruction during off weeks.
  • Class materials and assessment of student learning will be completed electronically when at all possible.
  • Classes will be prepared to shift to a virtual delivery format for a short or extended period if necessary.

Graduate Courses:

  • In some cases, large classes may assume a "flipped classroom" approach where lectures are provided in a recorded, asynchronous format with smaller discussion sessions held in-person.
  • Class materials and assessment of student learning will be completed electronically when at all possible.
  • Classes will be prepared to shift to a virtual delivery format for a short or extended period if necessary.

Clinics, Practicums, Internships and Externships:

  • We understand that graduate and professional students often engage in experiential educational opportunities, including client representation, for which they earn credit that take place off campus. Students in such cases may wish or need to continue these activities in order to obtain necessary professional training, receive credit to graduate, or meet ethical duties and responsibilities to the profession.
  • Students in such a situation should consult with their respective programs in order to understand whether and to what extent their participation in these activities should be modified or curtailed. These matters will be largely left to the discretion of the individual departments to determine based on curricular, accreditation, and professional training requirements. However, if any student feels that these activities place them at unacceptably high health risk, they should be supported in their efforts to find alternatives. Questions about such alternatives can be referred to their Program Director or Dean.
  • Chatham’s Office of Career Development, in collaboration with Academic Affairs, will work with students whose internships have been cancelled or halted to make alternate arrangements that will meet the experiential learning outcomes of the intended internships. We are also actively working to identify new opportunities – virtual, on-campus, and micro – for our students.

Accommodations and Accessibility Resources

  • Reasonable accommodations will be made for students unable to attend in-person classes due to sickness or quarantine.
  • Students who have questions or concerns about returning to campus should speak with their admission counselor, academic advisor, program director or department chair.
  • For all modifications for fall 2020, whether to our physical spaces or how we work, teach and learn, plans are being made to ensure spaces, materials and platforms are accessible. Contact OAAR with any disability accommodation needs.

Study Abroad and International Students

  • All spring, summer, and fall study abroad programming has been canceled for calendar year 2020.
  • The decision regarding spring term study abroad programming will be communicated on or before August 31, 2020.
  • Any changes to the instructional environment at Chatham will NOT affect international students’ current standing as enrolled students.
  • All immigration-related questions should be directed to the Office of International Affairs.


  • Move-in times for resident students will be assigned and the process will take place over the course of several days.
  • Residence halls will be de-densified by temporarily converting doubles without semi-private restrooms to singles and triples/quads without semi-private restrooms to doubles. 
  • Residency requirement for all First Year and Second Year and new students will be lifted to help voluntarily reduce the numbers on campus.
  • Residents who have fulfilled their residency requirement and live within the Pittsburgh area may be reassigned to Eden Hall. Information will be communicated in late June to those impacted. 
  • All guest privileges for on-campus residents will be suspended until further notice. This includes not allowing residents to have visitors in their rooms or apartment unless the guest also lives in on-campus housing.
  • Community lounge spaces in residence halls will be closed where possible.
  • A housing contract addendum will be created that requires student residents to adhere to Chatham COVID-19 policy updates (social distancing, guest policy, laundry, etc.), rules and protocols, including triggers for self-isolation, and requires students to submit a safety plan in the event of campus closure or need to self-isolate. 


  • Dining hall eating and servery areas will be reconfigured to support line/flow management.
  • Prime dining times will be revised to adequately serve all students while maintaining social distancing.
  • Social distancing will be employed in dining halls.
  • Seating in Anderson Dining Hall and Chatham Eastside will be reduced to 50 percent of capacity.
  • A temperature-controlled tent will be setup on the Shadyside campus for additional seating and dining capacity. 
  • Anderson Dining Hall will employ 30-minute scheduled dining times.
  • All self-service areas in Anderson Dining Hall, Chatham Eastside and the Eden Hall cafeteria in the Esther Barazzone Center will be discontinued in favor of served stations or Pick-3.
  • Traffic flow of Cafe Rachel will be adjusted with the only offering being espresso beverages and pre-ordered meal pick-up.


  • The Presidents' Athletic Conference will issue decisions on dates for the return to practice and the details for fall sports seasons by early July.
  • Locker rooms will be sanitized daily.
  • Individual sanitation equipment will be available in all Athletic Facilities.
  • Agreements with the Softball, Baseball, and Ice Hockey (external) facilities will be arranged for regular sanitation.
  • The weight/cardio room will be closed for an hour each day for sanitation.
  • Plexiglass will be installed at the reception desk of the AFC.
  • Masks and sanitation equipment to be available at all sites for practices and games.
  • Coaches and staff to wear masks for practices and games.
  • Athletic Trainers will have personal protective equipment (PPE) at all athletics sites.
  • Spectators at games will be limited to 50, will need to register prior to the event and must maintain appropriate physical distance.


  • On-campus events with public (non-Chatham community) attendance will not be allowed from June 2020 through March 2021 (this will be revisited in January 2021). 
  • The only exception to this rule will be Admission-related events that will operate under physical distancing requirements and event attendance limits. 
  • Student and academic on-campus events with no outside public attendance are permitted as long as they follow physical distancing requirements and group attendance limits and record attendance.
  • Wherever possible, recorded or real-time virtual attendance options should also be provided for those who cannot attend in person.

Campus Visitors

  • All visitors to campus buildings will be required to wear a mask, practice physical distancing and follow campus and health guidelines. 
  • The public will be able to continue to access the campus to walk/run the paths as long as they follow physical distancing and campus health guidelines. 

Transportation & Shuttles

  • Rider limits on shuttles and vans will be reduced by 50%, which will require additional shuttle times in order to service Eden Hall Campus and Eastside. 
  • Shuttles will be disinfected by the drivers between each shuttle run. 
  • Two mini-vans have been equipped with plexiglass dividers between the driver and passenger areas for additional transportation needs. 
  • Valet service in the JKM Library parking lot may be discontinued or taken over by Chatham staff with appropriate physical distancing and other protocols. 

University Travel

  • With the exception of Athletic and Admission-related travel, Chatham-paid or -related travel for employees will be suspended at least through the Fall 2020 semester, except by permission of the President or departmental Vice President. 

Cleaning & Sanitation

  • Specialized cleaning and disinfecting protocols for all buildings, including disinfecting high touch surfaces daily per CDC recommendations, will be followed.
  • Protocols for cleaning common shower/restroom areas multiple times per day are being developed.
  • Cleaning and sanitation stations are being set up in each classroom, on the floors of the residence halls, and in high impact spaces to encourage self-cleaning. 
  • Dispensing containers for wipes will be placed in each programming space around campus.
  • Disinfectant fogger backpacks will be used along with additional CDC cleaning protocols for cleaning any campus location impacted by a positive COVID case. 
  • A large supply of consumable supplies (wipes, disinfectants, etc.) will be in inventory. 

Facilities Enhancements

  • High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters (used in many medical and healthcare settings) are being installed in all campus air handlers. 
  • Air volumes will be increased throughout all major buildings to maximize the air circulation turnover and efficiency. 
  • Plexiglass barriers are being installed at over 70 high-traffic or priority areas on campus. Additional barriers can be installed in locations by request. 

Contact Tracing & Quarantine

  • Chatham will assist with contact tracing to identify and inform anyone in the Chatham community who may have had close contact with someone on campus who had a positive COVID diagnosis. 
  • If a student who lives on campus tests positive for COVID-19, isolation and quarantine protocols will be implemented. 
  • Any student placed in quarantine will be monitored, receive medical care, have food provided and receive academic accommodations. 
  • Chatham has designated multiple spaces at the Shadyside and Eden Hall campuses for quarantine.

Student Health & Counseling Services

  • Students will have full access to a Nurse Practitioner in Student Health Services.
  • The Health Services office will be open Monday–Friday for clinical support, COVID testing (if available), health screenings, and to coordinate with physicians at UPMC Urgent Care as needed.
  • Telemedicine services through UPMC will be available for students. 
  • TalkCampus teletherapy services will continue to be offered along with in-person, online and telephone support from Counseling Services. 

Employee Health

  • A new telework policy has been developed for employees who are able to perform their work duties remotely and may not be able to return to campus for valid medical or personal health reasons (i.e., someone in their household is high risk) or to assist in de-densifying the number of people in campus offices at one time. 
  • If an employee tests positive for COVID and/or must isolate due to exposure to someone with COVID, they will receive 10 additional sick days to cover their isolation and recovery period. 

Campus Shutdown Scenarios

  • As part of the ongoing planning process, Chatham is considering the circumstances and scenarios that might warrant closing the campus (for a short or longer period) and developing a plan for an orderly shutdown.
  • A partial or full campus shutdown may come from a statewide order or result from a significant outbreak on campus.
  • Chatham will consult with public health experts on the details of these shutdown scenarios. 
  • Faculty and staff will continue to work over the summer to ensure that courses and services will be able to start or quickly move virtual if needed.