COVID Information 2022-01-10T11:17:12-05:00

Williamson College of the Trades – COVID-19 Information


AY 2021/22 Campus Protocol (Updated for 2022 Spring Term)

Overview

Emerging in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact to all elements of our daily lives. The college’s pandemic and preventative protocols are designed towards a singular focus — keeping our students and community safe. The college will continue to work alongside its local, state, and federal partners to safely conduct campus operations. We look forward to continuing our work with all members of the college community in making this upcoming academic year a memorable, safe, and successful one.

We ask the college community to understand that information and guidance outlined within our strategy may change based on the spread of the virus, the advice of public health experts, or by order of the Pennsylvania Department of Health or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The college will continue to evaluate all measures and strategies to safeguard its students and the entire Williamson community. More information can be found in the sections below.

2022 Spring Term Update

Williamson Community,

Best wishes to you and your family as we start the New Year and the upcoming spring term. As throughout this pandemic, the college continues to assess and take action to safeguard our community. These guidelines outline our COVID-19 protocol for the 2022 spring term. Williamson will continually assess its community health status, guidance from federal, state, and local health agencies, and recommendations from our medical consultant team in establishing these policies and protocols. In the interest of safety, Williamson reserves the right to change or modify its policies as the nature of the pandemic evolves.

COVID-19 Vaccination

In April 2021, the college announced its fall vaccination requirements, which mandated the COVID-19 vaccine for the 2021-2022 academic year, beginning this fall. Please reference this link for the college’s vaccination policy

In alignment with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines, individuals 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

Individuals who received an exemption under the college’s immunization policy or have yet to complete the vaccination requirements outlined above will be considered unvaccinated in terms of the college’s policy and safety protocol.

Public Health Measures (Updated 2022 Spring Term Protocol)

Current CDC Level of Community Transmission in Delaware County, Pennsylvania

One of the challenges throughout the pandemic is the need to make policies while new facts and the local community health assessment continue to unfold and evolve. Our principal goal for this fall semester remains to sustain the safety of the entire college community to the best of our ability. Certainly, the college is striving to restore a sense of normalcy to campus life but must take reasonable steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 within our community. The college continues to closely monitor reports and recommendations from the CDC and the PA Department of Health and may modify its protocol accordingly. We understand the difficulty and significant impact that the pandemic has made on our college, nation, and world. As last year, we ask all members of the college community to remain flexible and patient as we successfully begin the upcoming year.

Classes and Academic Calendar

Due to the significant increase of the COVID-19 omicron variant throughout the region and country, the college will delay the start of the spring term to January 31, 2022. A revised Academic Schedule for the spring term is now available in Blackbaud (through the “Calendars and Schedules” icon) and included in this message.

Students will move back into the dormitories on January 30, 2022, in accordance with the designated schedule released by the Vice President of Student Affairs on January 10, 2022. Students must return within their designated time slot to facilitate their baseline COVID-19 testing requirement. Questions regarding the return schedule should be directed to the Student Affairs office.

Capacity

All campus spaces — classrooms, shops, dormitories, dining spaces, administrative offices, etc. will be in operation beginning January 30, 2022.

The college will be adjusting dining and chapel seating capacity for safety and additional social distancing measures.

Vaccination Requirement

The college’s vaccination policy will remain consistent for the spring term.

The emergence of omicron as the dominant COVID-19 variant further emphasizes the importance of vaccination boosters. We strongly encourage everyone receive a booster to their initial COVID-19 vaccination. Individuals can receive a booster six months following their Moderna initial vaccination, five months if vaccinated with Pfizer, and two months if receiving the J&J vaccine.

The college will be assessing the need for booster shots as part of our vaccine requirement for the fall of 2022 in alignment with the recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pennsylvania Department of Health, and our Main Line Health consultants. The CDC provides comprehensive and timely information about booster shots on their website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html).

Mask Wear

Masks will continue to be required indoors at all times regardless of vaccination status. This includes all academic, dormitories, administrative, and student recreational facilities. Masks are also now required in all trade shop floors and Restall gymnasium main floor.

Masks must also be worn in all college-owned or chartered vehicles. This includes transportation to all field trips and sponsored athletic/extracurricular events.

Masks are optional in an outdoor setting for all vaccinated individuals unless designated by college Health Services for contact tracing or isolation requirements. Unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear masks outdoors.

Cloth masks or neck gators are not approved for use given current CDC recommendation with the Omicron variant. KN-95 masks will be provided to staff and students at the start of the term.

Masks must be worn at all times to cover both the mouth and nose.

COVID-19 Testing

Given the high rate of transmission of the COVID-19 variants, the college will continue to conduct both diagnostic and screening testing of both students and employees. Diagnostic testing is intended to identify current infection in individuals and is performed when a person has signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or when someone has been exposed to a known positive COVID-19 individual. Screening testing is intended to identify infected people who are asymptomatic and do not have known, suspected, or reported exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Screening helps to identify unknown cases so that measures can be taken to prevent further transmission.

All employees and students may receive diagnostic testing depending on symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or when exposed to a known positive COVID-19 individual.

Vaccinated employees and students can refrain from routine screening testing. Unvaccinated employees and students will be subject to weekly screening tests conducted within the college Health Services Clinic.

Students and employees will receive a mandatory screening COVID-19 test prior to the start of the spring term. This will assist the college to establish a community baseline as the semester commences.

Students will receive their baseline test during their return to campus on January 30, 2022. A student return schedule will be released shortly with designated campus arrival times.

Employees will receive a mandatory COVID-19 test during In-Service week. A schedule will be released shortly.

Contact Tracing, Isolation and Quarantine

Health Services (HS) will continue to offer a full range of services to students and employees, through both in-person and virtual consultations. Students or employees who believe they have been exposed to, have contracted COVID-19, or are experiencing symptoms associated with the virus should contact Student Health Services immediately or their Dormitory Manager if after hours.

  • Students experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will use the Rowan Hall Student Lounge which will serve as an additional patient waiting area. Students with non-COVID-19 symptoms will use the current SHS waiting area.
  • Students reporting COVID-19 symptoms will be assessed by the SHS staff. Diagnostic testing may be administered if COVID is suspected. The SHS staff, consistent with CDC and PA Department of Health Guidance, may place the student in isolation or quarantine based on the medical assessment. Given the small size of the college, students placed in isolation or quarantine status will likely be sent home if they reside within the local region. The college has set aside limited housing for both the isolation and quarantine of students who are unable to travel home.

HS staff will remain in contact with all students and employees in isolation or quarantine to assist and monitor the developed recovery strategy for a safe return to campus. HS Staff and college administration will notify and work with local and state agencies to conduct contact tracing. The college may require additional students or employees to quarantine awaiting the results of COVID-19 test as a result of contact tracing.

Athletics

All athletic events and practices have been suspended through January 30, 2022. The college will be assessing the remaining winter sports schedule and the start of spring athletics in the next few weeks.

Additional Safety Measures

  • As during the 2020-2021 academic year, given the current pandemic conditions within the region, student off-campus travel during the academic week (Monday-Thursday) will be restricted. Student late returns will also be suspended.
  • Facility heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system filter replacement schedule will remain consistent. MERV 13 filters will be used throughout campus in alignment with CDC, American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHAE), and the National Air Filtration Association (NAFA) recommendations.

Visitors to Campus

Given the current COVID-19 omicron variant high transmission potential and local community positivity rates, the college will remain CLOSED to all visitors unless specifically approved by senior administration. As per college policy, any visitor to campus is required to check-in with the reception office in Rowan Hall before proceeding to any location on campus.

Vaccinated visiting guests must wear a mask while indoor any building or facility on campus.

Masks are recommended for vaccinated guests while outdoors.

Unvaccinated visiting guests must wear a mask while on campus, both indoors and outdoors. Visiting guests not in compliance with Williamson’s safety protocol may be asked to leave campus.

The college reserves the right to change its visitation protocol as local conditions change.


AY 2021/22 Vaccination Policy

End-of-Term Message from President Michael J. Rounds (December 2021)

Dear Williamson Community,

I would like to thank all of you for making this fall term a success. While we all had to navigate a variety of new policies and protocols, we were able to return to a normal schedule that included sports and activities that were not possible last year. This was all due to your continued diligence in keeping each other safe. This would not have been possible without the incredible efforts of students, faculty, and staff, who got vaccinated, followed our indoor mask policy and protocols, and notified our health care team when they were feeling ill. I would also like to especially recognize and thank those working behind the scenes in leading Williamson’s pandemic response, especially the members of our health care team and the many others staff and faculty members who took on added responsibilities to make this past term safe and successful. I am so proud of the way we have dealt with this challenge over the past nearly two years.

The threat of this virus does not seem to be diminishing, and so we are writing today to provide an update on Williamson’s public health strategy for the upcoming spring semester. Unfortunately, we remain in uncharted waters in regard to COVID-19. Please take a moment and review the important information below.

Monitoring Omicron and Booster Shots

We continue to monitor with concern news on the new omicron variant. At this time, scientists around the world simply do not have enough data about the Omicron variant to develop a comprehensive protocol. As knowledge of the new variant continues to grow, our administration will evaluate if changes to our protocols are warranted. We will strive to keep you informed of any new developments as they happen.

In the meantime, the best approach is to get vaccinated, practice safe social distancing, get tested if feeling symptomatic, and continue to wear masks indoors when around others. These simple precautions are especially important during the holiday season as you spend more time indoors.

We also strongly encourage everyone over 18 and at least six months past their primary vaccination date if they received Moderna or Pfizer, or two months past their vaccination date if they received Johnson & Johnson, to get a booster shot as soon as possible. We will be assessing the need for booster shots as part of our vaccine requirement for the fall of 2022 in alignment with the recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pennsylvania Department of Health, and our Main Line Health consultants. The CDC provides comprehensive and timely information about booster shots on their website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html).

Safely Wrapping up 2021 and Preparing for 2022

As classes conclude this week, continue to follow the college’s safety protocols. Wear your masks when indoors and take appropriate action if feeling ill. When you return for the second semester, expect that our protocols will be similar to those that were in place this semester. Over the holiday break, please continue to check your Williamson email for the latest information. We will monitor the progression of the pandemic closely and adjust our plans as conditions warrant. We pledge to continue to place the highest priority on your safety.

I want to thank you again for the way in which you have responded to this pandemic, allowing Williamson to continue moving forward while keeping each other healthy and safe. On behalf of the Trustees and Administration, we hope you finish the semester strong and enjoy a safe and restful holiday break with family and friends. May God continue to bless and protect us in the upcoming new year. Happy Holidays!

Sincerely,

Michael J. Rounds, PE
President


A Message from President Michael J. Rounds (September 2021)

I am enormously grateful to everyone in the Williamson community for the resilience and consideration you have demonstrated as we collectively managed our way through the challenges presented by the pandemic. This has been a huge undertaking. The conscientiousness of students, faculty, and staff in complying with our COVID-19 safety procedures has been inspiring, as have been your creativity and determination in continuing our mission. Few colleges across the nation were able to successfully accomplish what we have done together as a unified team.

Our goal for the upcoming fall 2021 term remains constant, to safely provide the Williamson educational experience to each student. With the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines now well-established, and with the importance of mass vaccination so central to our commitment to having a safe campus environment, the College has decided that a COVID vaccination will be required for all enrolled students this fall. This requirement will operate similarly to our existing requirements for other immunizations.

On-campus resident faculty and staff will be similarly required to be COVID vaccinated prior to the start of the fall 2021 term. The College strongly encourages all remaining off-campus residency faculty and staff to become vaccinated for your safety and for the long-term safety of our community.

Medical and religious exemptions may be granted based on the specific circumstances of each request, but our expectation is that the student population on campus will overwhelmingly consist of vaccinated individuals. Please submit any medical or religious exception requests using the form available through this link.


Michael J. Rounds, PE
President


Helpful Links

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Resources